American Sunisa Lee, 18, took gold in the women’s individual all-around gymnasts competition following the dramatic departure of teammate Simone Biles at the Tokyo Olympics.
Lee was apparently up for the challenge, edging out Brazilian gymnast Rebeca Andrade to become the fifth-straight American woman to take home the gold in the all-around competition.
Hugs for a champion ❤️#Tokyo2020 #Olympics #StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/8kTWU5ji0J
— FIG (@gymnastics) July 29, 2021
Carly Patterson, Nastia Liukin, Gabby Douglas, Biles, and Lee have been the successive all-around gold medalists for the United States since 2004.
For the fifth straight Olympics, an American has won gold in the gymnastics all-around. pic.twitter.com/cgexoEveWU
— ESPN (@espn) July 29, 2021
“With the news that Simone Biles was out of the women’s all-around competition, all eyes were on Sunisa Lee as the American gymnast who was most likely to become Olympic champion by the end of the day,” ESPN reported Thursday. “Lee was up for the challenge. The 18-year-old put together a string of masterful performances to edge Brazilian Rebeca Andrade (57.298) for the gold medal with a total score of 57.433. Lee becomes the sixth American gymnast to accomplish the feat. Andrade’s silver is the first ever Olympic medal for Brazil in women’s gymnastics history.”
“When she was a kid, Suni’s parents couldn’t afford to get her a balance beam for her to practice, so her dad built her one. From a homemade balance beam to an Olympic gold medalist,” National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis Marr commented. “Amazing.”
When she was a kid, Suni’s parents couldn’t afford to get her a balance beam for her to practice, so her dad built her one. From a homemade balance beam to an Olympic gold medalist. Amazing
— Alexandra DeSanctis Marr (@xan_desanctis) July 29, 2021
ESPN reported on the final standings for the competition:
1. Sunisa Lee, USA – 57.433
2. Rebeca Andrade, Brazil – 57.298
3. Angelina Melnikova, Russian Olympic Committee – 57.199
4. Vladislava Urazova, Russian Olympic Committee – 56.966
5. Mai Murakami, Japan – 56.032
6. Nina Derwael, Belgium – 55.965
7. Xijing Tang, China – 54.498
8. Jade Carey, USA – 54.199
Earlier this week, Biles notably pulled out the women’s team finals citing her mental health.
“Whenever you get in a high-stress situation, you kind of freak out. I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and well-being,” the gymnast told reporters.
“We have to protect our body and our mind. It just sucks when you’re fighting with your own head.”
“I feel like I’m also not having as much fun — and this Olympic Games I wanted it to be for myself and it felt like I was still doing for other people — and that hurts my heart that doing what I love has been taken away from me.”
“There’s more to life than just gymnastics,” Biles added.
The 24-year-old later made the decision to skip the individual all-around competition, too.
“After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition, in order to focus on her mental health,” a statement from USA Gymnastics said. “Simone will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether or not to participate in next week’s individual event finals. Jade Carey, who had the ninth highest score in the qualifications, will participate in her place in the all-around.”
“We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.”