Gymnastics Live: Suni Lee Wins Gold, Updates and Latest Scores
Current time in Tokyo: July 29, 10:16 p.m.
Sunisa Lee, an American gymnast who spent a lifetime aspiring to finish second to Simone Biles in the all-around because that was the best anyone could do, exceeded those expectations on Thursday night, winning the Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games.
With Biles out of the event after withdrawing from it because of mental health concerns, Lee took advantage of the opening left behind by the gymnast considered to be the best of all time. Lee, who is 18 and from St. Paul, Minn., hit routine after routine, often as if she were at practice, not at the most important competition of her life.
She won the gold in the all-around, which determines the best overall gymnast, just two days after rallying her teammates to win silver in the team final. Biles had pulled out of the team event after competing on the vault, the first of four events. On the next event, the uneven bars, Lee decided to perform her hardest bars routine — which is the most difficult in the world — instead of the easier one she had planned because she knew the team would need every tenth of a point to win a medal. Her 15.4 points on bars was the highest score of the night.
Later, Lee competed on the floor exercise after not practicing her floor routine for two days. She wasn’t initially selected to perform it at team trials because each country chooses only three of its four gymnasts to compete on each apparatus. With Biles out, though, she had no choice.
In the all-around, she brought the same resolve to make it to the podium. And in the end, she made it to the top of it.
Jade Carey hits an amazingly difficult floor routine, featuring a double-twisting double layout, a double-twisting double tuck, a full-twisting double layout and a full-twisting double tuck. She won’t win a medal today, but she still has the vault and floor finals next week.
Rebeca Andrade wins the silver medal — the first medal ever for Brazil in women’s gymnastics — and Angelina Melnikova wins the bronze.
Suni Lee is the fifth American in a row to win the women’s Olympic all-around title, following Carly Patterson in 2004, Nastia Liukin in 2008, Gabby Douglas in 2012 and Simone Biles in 2016. No other country has a streak like that in the women’s all-around. The closest any country has come is the Soviet Union, whose gymnasts won three consecutive all-around gold medals in 1952, 1956 and 1960.
Lee is in a very exclusive group now: Only 16 women have an Olympic all-around title to their name.
SUNISA LEE IS THE OLYMPIC ALL-AROUND CHAMPION.
Andrade needs a 13.802 on floor to win the gold.
Lee moves into first place with a 13.7, meaning she is guaranteed at least a silver medal! Andrade is up now.
Urazova had some leg form issues in her first tumbling pass, a piked full-in, and a couple steps on the landing. The rest of her routine was cleaner, and she finished with a stuck landing on a double twist.
Suni Lee hits her floor routine, starting with an extremely difficult double-twisting double back.
Angelina Melnikova looking absolutely terrified as she waits for her score. It’s a 13.966, moving her into first place with Suni Lee and Rebeca Andrade still to come. She seems happy enough with that score.
It’s worth noting that Urazova’s Russian teammate Viktoria Listunova didn’t move on to the all-around because of the two-per country rule. Listunova certainly would have been in contention for a medal, possibly gold, here.
Urazova is the youngest of the women in contention for the gold. At just 16, she is new to the international scene on the senior level and let’s just say she’s doing a pretty good job of adjusting.
Nina Derwael hits her floor routine, but it’s much less difficult than what we’ll see from the other top contenders. Only two tumbling passes compared with four for many others.
This is going to be really close. If the four leaders each scored exactly the same on floor exercise as they did in the qualifying round, the final rankings would be Andrade, Melnikova, Urazova, with Lee shut out of the medals in fourth. But the gap between first and fourth would be only about four tenths.
just a note to remind you that Olympic gymnasts fall sometimes and YOOOUCH. A handful have done what looks like a belly flop while warming up on the uneven bars and that BOOM is cringeworthy. Then they get up and do it again and again.
Before performing her balance beam routine, you could tell that Sunisa Lee was nervous. She was squatting and staring at the floor. And then pacing. And then took deep breath after deep breath, her hand on her belly to calm herself. Her jitters remained throughout her routine, too.
She wobbled several times and caught herself from falling back after completing her wolf turn, which is done with one leg entirely bent so her body is close to the beam and the other leg is straight. But she didn’t fall, and that was key. Her landing was solid, with no steps. She received a 13.833, enough to put her into the lead. Going into the final apparatus, the floor exercise, the top three gymnasts: Lee, Russia’s Vladislava Urazova (now second) and Andrade (third) are separated by just two-tenths of a point. Any one of them could win gold.
What an exciting competition. The difficulty score, a 6.1, in Sunisa Lee’s beam routine was key. Rebeca Andrade’s routine had a 5.6.
Rebeca Andrade hit her beam routine with only a step backward on her double pike dismount, but a score of 13.566 moves her from first place into third. Going into the final rotation, Suni Lee is in first with 43.733, Vladislava Urazova is in second with 43.566, and Andrade is in third with 43.532.
Suni Lee scored 13.833, a little under four tenths lower than in the qualifying round. Part of that was the wobble on the wolf turn, but I think she also had a slightly lower difficulty score than planned — she usually does a double wolf turn immediately after the triple wolf turn, and she didn’t today.
Suni Lee has an incredible save on beam. She was off balance, leaning backward, on her triple wolf turn but managed to stay on, pressing her foot against the side of the beam. The core strength it takes to do that…
Over on the sidelines, one of the gymnasts currently on vault is doing handstands, lifting one hand at a time and rotating on the other arm as her coach holds her up. A glimpse of warmups for uneven bars!
Melnikova, who also fell off beam in the team final, wobbles on her switch leap mount but hits the rest of her routine, finishing with a nearly stuck double pike dismount.
Urazova scores 14.2 on beam, two-tenths higher than in qualifications. Angelina Melnikova is up now.
Vladislava Urazova, who fell off beam in the team final, hits her routine today, ending with a 2.5-twisting dismount.
Ed Sheeran update: Not only do we have to hear “Shape of You” between every rotation, but now the Chinese gymnast Lu Yufei is performing to the song — well, the elevator music version — during her floor exercise. Send help.
Here in the stands, I’m seeing Sunisa Lee watch the other gymnasts perform on the balance beam, and it’s making me nervous. She’s squatting down with her head down, staring at the floor. Then pacing. Then going through her beam moves. I’m so close that I can see her take deep breath after deep breath while she’s holding one hand on her belly. The next two routines are the biggest ones of her life.
Nina Derwael wobbled on her back handspring beam mount, and it looks like she may have also missed an intended connection between two skills. She scores 13.366, four-tenths lower than in the qualifying round.
Carey is likely now out of the hunt for a medal here, but can still medal next week in the vault and floor exercise finals.
Mai Murakami of Japan does a great double-twisting Yurchenko on vault. She was only the 18th-ranked qualifier to the all-around finals after some uncharacteristic mistakes in the qualifying round, but could very well do better today.
Sunisa Lee’s uneven bars routine is the hardest in the world, with her flying over and between the bars so gracefully that it looks like she’s dancing in midair. She has been dreaming of winning the Olympic medal in this event during apparatus finals next week, and she is certainly one of the favorites to do it.
Her bars routine just now was the best of her group, even better than Nina Derwael’s. Derwael is Lee’s biggest competition on bars and it showed in their scores. Lee had 15.3 points, while Derwael had 15.266. That strong score launched Lee into second place overall, just 0.66 points behind Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade. With two more events to go, we’re halfway done, and the rest of the night is going to be a nail-biter.
We took a look at Lee’s moves going into the Olympics.
That Andrade is not just in contention for but a favorite for a medal in the all-around is remarkable. She has spent most of the quad — the gymnastics term for the four-year cycle between Olympics — hampered by injuries, and she qualified for these Games at the last possible moment.
Jade Carey falls on her back handspring, layout stepout, layout stepout on beam.
In the gymnastics world, the biggest fans have a joke when they have questions about the scores they’re seeing: Is Carol judging? Carol is the Karen of gymnastics scoring, making decisions that onlookers don’t necessary agree with. It’s a popular term among those who follow N.C.A.A. gymnastics, where routines with obvious errors score very high, even perfect 10s. To be fair, the scores here haven’t been particularly Carol-ish.
Halfway through the competition, Rebeca Andrade remains in first place with a total of 29.966, and Suni Lee has jumped up to second place with 29.9. Angelina Melnikova is in third with 29.533.
Suni Lee just put in an impressive performance on bars — not because it was perfect, but because she managed to power through some slight errors that could very easily have derailed the routine.
Melnikova got a bit of a gift from the judges, in my opinion. She’s beautiful on bars, but I believe she has scored lower for better outings.
Angelina Melnikova of Russia does the same routine as her teammate Urazova and scores a few hundredths higher, 14.9.
Vladislava Urazova scores 14.866 on uneven bars, exactly the same as she did in qualifications. It’s a very good score.
Between the action here, the in-house DJ keeps playing Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.” Again and again and again. During team finals, Jordan Chiles was dancing to it and even coaxed Simone Biles to dance for about two seconds. But let me tell you, this song has gotten old pretty darn fast.
I much preferred the Madeon songs during the introductions of the gymnasts.
Nina Derwael hits one of the most difficult bars routines in the world, including a release move that’s named jointly after her and Georgia-Mae Fenton of Britain. She scores 15.266, one-tenth lower than she did in qualifications but still one of the highest scores anyone is capable of.
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