Lee won the Olympic all-around title Thursday night, the fifth consecutive American woman (and sixth overall) to claim gymnastics’ biggest prize, joining Carly Patterson, Nastia Liukin, Gabby Douglas and Biles as Olympic gold medalists, Lee’s victory provided a bright spot in what has been a tough week for the U.S. women.
Biles was heavily favored to become the first woman in more than a half-century – Czechoslovakia’s Vera Caslavska in 1968, for you trivia buffs – to repeat as Olympic champion, having not lost an all-around competition since 2013.
But she withdrew from Tuesday night’s team competition after one event, citing mental health concerns.
a person posing for the camera: Sunisa Lee reacts in the women’s individual all-around final on Thursday.© Danielle Parhizkaran, USA TODAY Sports Sunisa Lee reacts in the women’s individual all-around final on Thursday.
The Americans still won the silver medal, but it was the first time since 2010 that they had failed to claim gold at the world championships or Olympics.
Lee kept the streak of all-around titles alive, however. When she saw that she had won, Lee’s eyes filled with tears and she exchanged a big hug with her coach, Jess Graba.
Biles and the rest of the U.S. team, sitting in the stands on the opposite side of the arena, serenaded her with applause. Lee finished with a score of 57.433, 0.135 ahead of Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade.—AP