Simone Biles’ bid for a record six gold medals at the Tokyo Games ended abruptly on Tuesday (July 27) when she dropped out of the women’s team final after one vault and watched as the United States surrendered their title to Russia.
It was a stunning and disappointing start to the Olympics for the U.S. women, who had expected to dominate the final as they had not been beaten in a major team competition since 2011.
But the entire event was turned on its head in an instant when Biles, the world and Olympic all-around champion, completely mistimed her opening vault to earn a low score of 13.766.
It was a setback the U.S. would never recover from as Russia claimed the team title for the first time since the Unified Team at the 1992 Barcelona Games while the U.S. winners in 2012 and 2016 settled for silver and Britain the bronze.
Despite taking a single vault Biles will add a silver medal to the five she won at the Rio 2016 Games, including four golds.
But the 24-year-old American’s bid to become the greatest female Olympian of all-time with 10 golds was over and perhaps her entire Tokyo Olympics.
Russia, competing at the Tokyo Games as representatives of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) because the country was stripped of its flag and anthem for doping offences, have not won the women’s team title since competing as the United Team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
(Production: Stefan Haskins)