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.
The International Gymnastics Federation said Biles would play no further part in the team event, but confirmed she would still receive a medal if the heavily favoured U.S. ended up on the podium.
USA Gymnastics said the 24-year-old’s continued participation in the Games was uncertain.
“Simone has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue,” said USA Gymnastics. “She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”
Biles had been leading the United States’ defence of their women’s gymnastics team title, and was looking to add to her haul of four gold medals won at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
(Production: Andy Ragg)