American 18-year-old Sunisa Lee won the Olympic gymnastics all-around gold medal in the absence of her teammate Simone Biles.
Lee placed third in qualifying and delivered on her high-tariff routines in the final to clinch the title on a night of drama in Tokyo’s Ariake Arena, with several contenders falling from their apparatus.
Biles watched on from the stands and applauded as the gold was confirmed.
Americans have now won gold in the women’s gymnastics all-around for the last five Olympic Games, starting with Carly Patterson in 2004, Nastia Liukin in 2008, Gabby Douglas in 2012 and Simone Biles in 2016.
Each nation is only allowed up to two athletes to compete in the individual gymnastics event. After the qualifying event this past weekend, Biles, who came in first, and Lee were set to be the Americans in the final. Biles’ withdrawal opened up a spot for Jade Carey.
Carey came in ninth in the qualifier overall — rankings that included Biles and a third Russian Olympic Committee gymnast ahead of her.
After the individual all-around, Lee has qualified to compete in the uneven bars and balance beams event finals, and Carey has qualified for the vault and floor event finals. Carey qualified for the Olympics as an individual, not part of the team competition.
Biles had a misstep on vault at the start of the team competition and withdrew from the rest of the competition. USA Gymnastics announced her withdrawal from the all-around event on Wednesday (Jul. 28, 2021).
“After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, in order to focus on her mental health,” USAG said in a statement.
The organization added that Biles “will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week’s individual event finals.”