Sunisa Lee of the United States won the Olympic all-around title, while defending champion Simone Biles watched from the stands after withdrawing to focus on her mental health.
The 18-year-old Olympic debutant finished with a time of 57.433, helping the American win the team silver on Tuesday. Rebeca Andrade of Brazil took silver, and Angelina Melnikova of Russia took bronze. Jessica Gadirova’s 10th place finish was the best by a British woman in the event’s history.
With a score of 57.298, Andrade became the first Brazilian woman to win a medal in women’s gymnastics at the Olympics, while Melnikova claimed bronze with a score of 57.199. “It’s my first world ranking, so I know where I am and where I stand,” Gadirova, who finished 13th with her twin sister Jennifer, said. “Hopefully, I will continue to improve with time. I have a couple of days to relax my legs before the floor final [on Monday].”
- More about the American gymnast Sunisa Lee
Lee, an 18-year-old Hmong-American from Minnesota, battled nerves on the balance beam. She was on the verge of falling off while performing a wolf turn — essentially a seated spin — and had to suction cup her toes to the 4-inch piece of wood to keep afloat. With a score of 13.833, she went ahead of Andrade going into the floor exercise.
Lee needed a 13.802 to win, but instead received a 13.666, extending the American domination in one of the most important Olympic sports. Since Carly Patterson’s victory in the 2004 Athens Games, the Americans have won every Olympic final.
Lee chose a routine with three tumbling passes instead of four, anticipating that improved execution would compensate for any potential tenths she sacrificed by skipping the fourth pass. Her 13.700 was consistent, but it opened the door for Andrade. Before opting out, Biles was strongly favored to continue her winning streak. Lee came in to fill the vacuum left by an ankle injury that left her limping at times during the US championships last month. At the end of June, she beat Biles on the second night of the Olympic Trials. Jade Carey, who took Biles’ spot in the finals for the US team, came in ninth.
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