U.S. gymnastics reign continues as Biles lauds gold medallist Lee

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Gymnastics - Artistic - Women's Individual All-Around - Medal Ceremony - Ariake Gymnastics Centre, Tokyo, Japan - July 29, 2021. Gold medallist Sunisa Lee of the United States kisses her medal in front of the olympic rings REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

Without Simone Biles, America’s dominance of women’s gymnastics continued on Thursday with a gold in the individual all-around competition for the fifth Olympics in a row.

Sunisa Lee, the youngest member of the team, clinched the U.S. spot in the history books in the final rotation of the floor exercise with a total score of 57.433.

“It’s crazy,” the 18-year-old Lee told reporters after her win. “It doesn’t feel like real life at all.”

Lee “absolutely killed it!!! OLYMPIC CHAMPION RIGHT HERE !!! So so so beyond proud of you!!!!” Biles said on Instagram.

Brazilian Rebeca Andrade, 22, won a surprise silver, her country’s first-ever Olympic gymnastics medal, while the Russian Olympic Committee’s Angelina Melnikova took the bronze medal.

Biles, who stunned the Tokyo Games two nights ago by withdrawing from the all-around team event after a single vault, watched from the front row. It is still not clear whether she will compete in any of the individual events in the coming days.

Earlier on Thursday, Biles tweeted her appreciation for all the support that had flooded in after her candid statements about the pressure she was feeling shone a light on athletes’ mental health.

“…the outpouring love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before,” she said in a tweet.

As the Americans celebrated at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, their world champion pole vaulter Sam Kendricks was isolating in a hotel room after he tested positive for COVID-19 and was ruled out of the Games. read more

Argentine pole vaulter German Chiaraviglio also tested positive and was isolating, sparking concerns through the track and field camp.

“We are all pretty spooked out right now,” said Swedish world-record holder Armand Duplantis, whose bar battle with Kendricks was expected to be one of the highlights of the athletics programme.

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