Artistic Gymnastics

Simone Biles: "I just don't want anybody to go hungry."

The four-time Olympic champion uses her star power to help those in need, Nina Derwael is diagnosed with COVID, plus Team Bulgaria at Barcelona 1992 in our weekly gymnastics wrap.

By Scott Bregman ·

Four-time Olympic gymnastics gold medallist Simone Biles is taking on another challenge this holiday season: food insecurity.

The 23-year-old Texan is giving back to her community, using her star power and the gym – owned by her parents Ron and Nellie – where she trains to offer those in need a meal.

Long lines at Houston-area food banks have made national headlines in the United States, and it’s something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Biles.

“I feel like since I’m in the Houston community and they’ve given so much to me and supported me so much, I feel like I have to do the same,” Biles said in an interview on NBC’s Today Show. “At the gym, we do two food drives. We did a Thanksgiving one and a Christmas one. We’re just trying to help and give back.

“It means everything to us,” she added. “I just don’t want anybody to go hungry over the holidays.”

Biles later added on Twitter, “or EVER."

World uneven bars champion Nina Derwael tests positive for COVID

Nina Derwael, the 2018 and 2019 world champion on uneven bars, tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, according to the Belgian gymnastics federation.

It is believed that Derwael contracted the virus through her boyfriend, footballer Siemen Voet, who plays for KV Mechelen which is currently experiencing its own outbreak.

This is the third time Derwael has found herself quarantined during the COVID-19 outbreak due to contacts with infected individuals, but the first time the history-maker has tested positive herself.

As of Wednesday (16 December), the Belgian federation said Derwael was not showing any symptoms of the virus.

Romania, Barbosu win junior European titles

Romania took the junior team gold medal on Friday at the Women's European Championships in Mersin, Turkey.

Ukraine were second followed by Hungary.

In the junior women’s all-around competition, Ana Barbosu won from Romanian team-mate Maria Ceplinschi.

Ukraine's Daniela Batrona finished fourth, behind Iulia Trestianu, but collected bronze due to only two athletes per country counting in the overall standings.

On the first day of competition on Thursday, the score sheet was somewhat nostalgic with former powerhouse nations Romania and Ukraine going 1-2 in the team final qualification standings.

Romania last won the European team title back in 2014 while Ukraine has never taken gold as a team at the Europeans, failing to make the podium at all at the event since 2010.

Both will be favourites for medals Saturday, 19 December, when the team final gets underway at 3:30 pm local time.

Though there is no individual all-around title in the senior division, Romania's Larisa Iordache, who has twice claimed all-around medals at the Worlds, posted the highest score in qualifying in the all-around.

She also topped the standings on the balance beam and in the floor exercise.

It was her first international competition since suffering a torn Achilles tendon during warm-ups at the 2017 World Championships in Montreal.

From the vault…

This week, we take a look back at Bulgaria’s innovative floor rotation from Barcelona 1992, including Sylvia Mitova’s iconic routine set to ‘Blues for Klook.’

As a team, Bulgaria finished 12th at the Games. Mitova went on to finish 11th in the all-around and eighth in the floor exercise final.

Sylvia Mitova and Bulgaria on floor in team event at Barcelona 1992

WATCH: Team Bulgaria's innovative rotation on the floor exercise during the...