America’s Olympic golden girl finished the gymnastics competition as she should, winning another Olympic gold medal.
She became the first woman gymnast since 1968 to win four (out of six possible) gold medals at one Olympics, adding floor exercise, all around and vault. She also won bronze in balance beam.
Fellow American Aly Raisman took home the silver with a score of 15.5. The two U.S. gymnasts had overwhelmed the contest this week with power tumbling and a new level of athleticism just as the sports judges have evolved into rewarding such skills more than the traditional artistic strategy.
Bronze medal was won by Amy Tinkler of Great Britain.
For Biles, it was a return to form from Monday while completing a front flip on the beam, costing her a chance when she lost balance. There were no blunders on Tuesday, her sky high leaps and contest best 8.933 (Raisman’s, for example, was 8.675), leaving the Brazil crowd switching between gasps of disbelief and roars of gratitude.
The 19-year old from just outside Houston had attempted to take each day as it came whether it was training or competition. It allowed her to prevent overwhelming pressure and distractions.
Now that it’s done, Biles is expected to leave Rio as a breakout star and a major gymnastic endorser. Only two other girls have won four gymnastics golds in a single Games: Vera Caslavska of then Czechoslovakia (1968) and Agnes Keleti of Hungary (1956).
More than the history associated with the achievement, nevertheless, was the way it was done. Biles is the finest tumbler the sport has ever seen, making her magnificence both simple to spot and impossible to ignore.
“Her height [on jumps] is really exceptional to anyone I have ever seen in my life,” said 73-year-old Bela Karolyi, who has coached gymnastics for over four decades including all time greats such as Mary Lou Retton and Nadia Comaneci.
For Raisman it was the continuance of a dream Games. At 22, she worked to return to the Olympics after the 2012 London Games.
The U.S. took gold in five of the six events here. Only gold from Sanne Wevers of the Netherlands on beam prevented the sweep.
Karolyi has called Raisman one of her all-time favourite gymnasts to train. And Biles is unquestionably among the biggest ever.
“She actually ranks on the top,” Marta said. “For me, Nadia Comaneci is our first Olympic victor and then Simone as my last Olympic champion, those are the two.”
Karolyi won’t be back for the U.S. at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Biles might, which means a sport that never thought it could go this high, could go higher.