American gymnast Sunisa Lee stepped up and shone in a clutch performance Thursday.
At the start of Olympic gymnastics competition in Tokyo, it would have been foolish to bet on anyone else but Simone Biles to take home gold in the women’s all-around.
But when Biles withdrew from the team finals and all-around competition to focus on her mental health, Lee stepped into the spotlight.
Her gold medal continues the legacy of American dominance in women’s gymnastics and cements her place in the sport’s history.
Silver medalist Rebeca Andrade also made history, winning the first medal of any color for Brazil in women’s gymnastics.
Jade Carey, who stepped in for Biles, finished in eighth, thanks to excellent performances on vault and floor.
Here’s how the competition unfolded at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre:
Suni Lee Golden in Women’s Gymnastics All-Around
Lee delivered a dominant floor routine, scoring 13.700 and winning gold in the women’s all-around.
For the fifth straight Olympic Games, an American woman is crowned queen of the all-around.
Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade came in second after stepping out of bounds twice in her floor routine. ROC’s Melnikova rounds out the podium in third.
Lee’s family erupted when Andrade’s floor score was announced, locking Lee in gold medal position. Here’s their heartwarming reaction:
Andrade Gets Beam Score Changed, Sits in Second
Andrade’s beam score was changed from 13.655 to 13.666, enough to move her into second place ahead of Urazova heading into the final rotation.
If Andrade can hold on for a medal, it will be Brazil’s first-ever medal in women’s gymnastics.
Lee Takes Lead, Carey Falters on Beam Rotation
The Americans moved to beam, where other rotations have struggled so far. Carey joined them, hopping off the beam during a combination. She earned a 11.533 and put herself out of medal contention.
Lee took over first place after the rotation with a 13.833 on beam, 43.733 overall. Urazova is in second place with 43.566 and Andrade in third with 43.532.
Lee Tops Derwael on Uneven Bars Rotation
Lee anchored the rotation on uneven bars and delivered the highest score on the bars so far with a 15.300. Lee sits now 0.066 points behind Andrade in second place overall.
Belgium’s Nina Derwael earned a 15.266 on her impressive uneven bar routine. ROC athletes Melnikova and Vladislava Urazova also delivered big performances, scoring 14.866 and 14.900 respectively, and pushing them into third and fourth place behind Andrade and Lee.
Carey is in sixth behind Derwael and earned a 13.500 on her bar routine.
Andrade Leads After First Rotation
After the first rotation, Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade is in the lead with a 15.3 she earned on vault. Carey sits in second, just a tenth of a point behind Andrade with 15.2 on vault.
Lee delivered a solid 14.6 on the vault and is in fourth, 0.033 points behind ROC athlete Angelina Melnikova.
Up next, the Americans move to the uneven bars.
Members of Team USA Cheering On Lee, Carey
All-Around Competition Underway at Ariake Centre
The much-anticipated women’s gymnastics all-around will begin Thursday morning. With defending Olympic champion Simone Biles withdrawing from competition to take care of her mental health, the field is wide open.
American Suni Lee is a heavy medal favorite after finishing qualifying with the third best score. She and teammate Jade Carey, who subbed in for Biles, will begin the all-around on vault.
The U.S. is looking to win its fifth-straight gold medal in Olympic all-around competition. Before Biles’ win in 2016, Gabby Douglas, Nastia Liukin and Carly Patterson delivered all-around victory at the Olympics.
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