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19-year-old US prodigy Simone Biles suffers first defeat in final since 2013

The gymnast’s dream of five-in-a-row ended at the Rio OIympics today.

Netherlands' Sanne Wevers, centre, gold, United States' Lauren Hernandez, left, silver, and United States' Simone Biles, right, stand after receiving their medals for balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women's apparatus final.
Netherlands' Sanne Wevers, centre, gold, United States' Lauren Hernandez, left, silver, and United States' Simone Biles, right, stand after receiving their medals for balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women's apparatus final.
Image: Julio Cortez

SIMONE BILES’S BID for a record five women’s gymnastics gold medals in Rio ended Monday when the US star was beaten into third place on the beam by Sanne Wevers of the Netherlands.

Biles — a gold medallist in the team, all-around and vault — fought to stay on the apparatus during her routine, scoring just 14.733 points.

It was the first time the 19-year-old has been beaten in a final since 2013.

Wevers, 24, surged to gold with 15.466 points ahead of American Lauren Hernandez, who won silver with 15.333.

Despite getting off to a strong start the 1.45m (4ft 9ins) Biles put her hands down on the beam after landing a front somersault.

Everyone would love to have a bronze at an Olympics. I’m just disappointed with my routine. I don’t really know what happened,” said the Texan.

In Rio, Biles had become the first American woman to win three gold at the same Games, and admitted that the reaction to her successes back home had been overwhelming.

“It’s scary and exciting and a little bit overwhelming,” she said.

Wevers took to the beam immediately after Biles and knew what she had to do after finishing runner-up to the American at the worlds last year.

I knew that I needed to go all out, to do my highest difficulty. But after I saw her I said ‘maybe play it safe’.

“To do the performance of my life and to do it at an the Olympics is unbelievable.”

Biles still has a chance for a record-equalling fourth gold in Tuesday’s floor final.

Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina (1956), Czech Vera Caslavska (1968) and Romanian Ecaterina Szabo (1984), have all also won four gold medals at the same Olympics.

I still have the floor to come. I’m a little tired. The floor always pumps me up,” said the ten-time world champion.

Earlier North Korea’s Ri Se-Gwang won Olympic gold on the men’s vault with Greece’s Eleftherios Petrounias taking the rings title.

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The 21-year-old Ri, who had been poker-faced during the execution of his two vaults, had tears in his eyes as he stood to attention on top of the podium giving a military-style salute as the national anthem played.

Russia’s Denis Abliazin won silver for his second consecutive Games medal on vault after London 2012.

It was his third medal in Rio after silver in the team with Russia and rings bronze.

Japan’s Kenzo Shirai snatched bronze ahead of Romanian veteran Marian Dragulescu. Both scored 15.499 points on vault with Shirai achieving a higher execution score.

‘Lord of the rings’ Petrounias added Olympic gold to his world title.

The 25-year-old gave a powerful display of control and strength to earn an unbeatable 16.000 points.

Reigning Olympic champion Arthur Zanetti of Brazil had to settle for silver with 15.766.


Source: Hotline Rings: Rio 2016/SoundCloud

© AFP, 2016

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