Saturday 10/16/21
TOKYO 2020

Russia get first team gold in 29 years as Biles is a shock withdrawal

The 24-year-old left the arena, returning with a heavily strapped foot and reserve Jordan Chiles taking her place on the uneven bars
27 July 2021, Japan, Tokyo: (L-R) Gold medallist members of the Russian Olympic Committee team (ROC), Lilia Akhaimova, Viktoria Listunova, Angelina Melnikova and Vladislava Urazova celebrate on the podium during the medal ceremony of the Women's Team Artistic Gymnastics Final at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa
Gold medallist members of the Russian Olympic Committee team (ROC). Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa.

Russian gymnasts claimed a first women's Olympic all-around team gold in 29 years on Tuesday at the Tokyo Games while superstar Simone Biles from rivals United States made a shock withdrawal early in the final.

Vladislava Urazova, Viktoriia Listunova, Angelina Melnikova and alternate Liliia Akhaimova took a surprise gold with 169.258 points points after four rotations at Ariake Gymnastics centre.

The Americans, winners in 2012 and 2016, trailed by more than three points on 166.096, and Britain took bronze on 194.096.

The main topic was the 24-time world and Olympic champion Biles who withdrew after an erratic performance in the first rotation on the vault.

The 24-year-old left the arena, returning with a heavily strapped foot and reserve Jordan Chiles taking her place on the uneven bars.

"Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions," the US gymnastics federation later tweeted, giving no further details.

Biles is one of the biggest stars in Tokyo but has not looked as dominant as in the past, and even International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach was seen talking to her after the competition.

Tuesday's withdrawal ended her bid for six golds but she led qualifying for the individual event set for Thursday and is also in all four apparatus finals which take place next week.

27 July 2021, Japan, Tokyo: USA's Simone Biles (L) speaks to her teammates after withdrawing from the Women's Team Artistic Gymnastics Final at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpaSimone Biles (L) speaks to her teammates after withdrawing. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa.

Pressure

On Monday, Biles had suggested pressure in a social media post after Sunday's qualifying round.

"It wasn’t an easy day or my best but I got through it. I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times," she said.

"I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard. hahaha! The olympics is no joke! BUT I’m happy my family was able to be with me virtually, they mean the world to me!"

Biles enthusiastically supported her team-mates Chiles, Grace Callum and Sunisa Lee after her withdrawal in the gold medal battle.

The heavily favoured Americans all but made up a 2.5-point deficit when two Russians fell off the beam in the third rotation.

But two big mistakes from Chiles in the concluding floor exercise settled the duel in favour of the Russians who had also finished ahead of the Americans in qualifying.

Comments