Gymnast Simone Biles has been leaving the world in awe with her standout gymnastic routines at the Rio Olympics, and after her performance Thursday night, it became official that Biles is the number one gymnast in the entire world!
Simone Biles, already considered the world’s greatest female gymnast before even competing in the Olympics, emphatically confirmed her standing on Thursday by winning the women’s individual all-around gold medal at the Rio Games.
Wearing a stars-and-stripes leotard, Biles, 19, joined Mary Lou Retton, Carly Patterson, Nastia Liukin and Gabby Douglas as American all-around winners.
The American Aly Raisman, 22, won the silver, and Aliya Mustafina, 21, of Russia won bronze.
Victory in this event brings lucrative endorsements and widespread adoration, a popularity bonanza fueled by a prime-time showcase of athletic artistry. At 4 feet 9 inches, with size 5 feet, Biles is someone that young viewers can relate to. Then she performs, and her abilities are unimaginable.
Her ascent has been sudden to those who follow gymnastics only every four years. At the last Summer Games, in London in 2012, Douglas was the show-stopper. Biles arrived here from Texas and gave the Rio Games a performance for the ages. Whether you know an Amanar from an aardvark, you watch her not because the result is in doubt but rather to witness something without equal.
The first rotation on Thursday for the top gymnasts was the vault, and both Biles and Raisman broke out their Amanars. In that challenging vault, the gymnast performs a round-off onto the board and then a back handspring onto the table. She then completes two-and-a-half twists before a blind landing.
Biles, as usual, flew higher and farther than anyone else, though she took a big step on her landing. It was enough for the top score of the day. Raisman also pulled off her Amanar, and the two Americans were one-two after one rotation.
But after the uneven bars, Biles was in an unfamiliar place: second place. A strong performance by Mustafina, the 2012 champion in the bars, and a pedestrian one by Biles put the Russian ahead by a small margin. Raisman slipped to fourth.
The score for Biles was lower than she has been used to getting. The bars is her weakest event, but the disappointment would shake some competitors and cause them to lose focus. But Biles isn’t just any competitor. She’s a three-time world champion.
Biles looked a little nervous on the balance beam, wobbling at one point. But she made a great landing. After Mustafina over-rotated her full turn, had a few balance checks and left out a front aerial. Biles was back in front, and Raisman moved into third.
The competition culminated with the floor exercise. Biles’s first pass is a full-twisting double layout, and she followed that with her “Biles,” a double layout with a half twist, then a stag leap. Her third and fourth passes were just as phenomenal. Her coach Aimee Boorman cried as Biles came off the floor. Her score: 15.933, the highest of the day on any apparatus.
Raisman nailed her own difficult tumbling passes to grab the silver.