The United States came to Tokyo expecting to win gold in the women’s gymnastics team final for the third straight time, but their run came to a sudden end when the Russian Olympic Committee team easily out-pointed the Americans to take gold on Tuesday.
The ROC team compiled 169.528 points to win the gold medals, while the United States scored just 166.096 to take silver.
Biles exits after uncertain vault
Great Britain won the bronze medals with a total score of 164.096.
The loss came as Simone Biles took herself out of the team competition after starting the final on the vault. Biles came up a full twist short in the air compared to the vault she was attempting to accomplish. After that exercise, Biles talked to the team doctor, then left for the locker room. When she returned, she took off her bar grips, hugged her teammates, and bowed out of the competition.
The United States was still able to complete the team event. In women’s gymnastics, three members of the four-person team must compete on each exercise. Biles’ vault still counted – albeit as the lowest score of the three Americans – but the other three members had to handle all of the work on the remaining exercises.
Team USA stayed close to the Russians throughout much of the competition. They made up nearly all of the ground they had lost on the balance beam, scoring 1.7 points more than the ROC team, which finished only fourth in that discipline.
But the Americans couldn’t hang on in the floor exercise. Jordan Chiles scored just 11.7 points after stumbling to the mat, ending any hope of a comeback.
US entered women’s gymnastics team event as heavy favorite
Team USA didn’t talk to reporters after the event, though Biles later told the media that she had pulled out to focus on her mental health, saying she had lost confidence in her abilities.
“I never felt like this going into a competition before,” Biles told reporters. “At the end of the day it’s like, we want to walk out of here, not be dragged out here on a stretcher. I just don’t trust myself as much as a I used to. And I don’t know if it’s age – I’m a little bit more nervous when I do gymnastics. I feel like I’m also not having as much fun, and I know that.”
The United States came into the Olympics as the heavy favorite to win gold in the women’s gymnastics team competition. Even after a shaky qualifying round, Team USA remained a -400 favorite over ROC (+300), according to PointsBet.
It’s unclear whether Biles will compete in her individual events later this week. The women’s gymnastics individual all-around competition takes place on Thursday, with the specialist exercise competitions scheduled later in the Olympic program.
“You know there’s more to life than just gymnastics,” Biles said, saying she hoped to compete in at least some of her remaining events.