Sanne Wevers performed a challenging, yet unique routine to take gold in the individual balance beam competition. The 24-year-old gymnast of the Netherlands beat U.S. gymnasts Simone Biles and Laurie Hernandez with a score of 15.466. Watch Wevers’ elegant routine here.
Biles was a favorite heading into the event, who has been nearly flawless in Rio– picking up team, all-around and vault gold.
However, her hopes of winning a fourth gold on Monday were dimmed after she lost her balance when landing a front flip. Biles, who under rotated her flip, had to grab hold of the beam upon landing which resulted in major deductions. However, due to a smooth finish and the routine’s high degree of difficulty, she was able to earn a score of 14.733 and ultimately a bronze medal.
The four-inch-wide balance beam can be unforgiving, however Biles’ coach Aimee Boorman told reporters how impressed she was that Biles was able to recover.
“She is human, but I don’t know how she made that save because both of her feet went off the beam. So I was pretty impressed with that, that seemed superhuman,” Boorman said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “I see it as a triumph, and she won a bronze medal on beam at the Olympics. She can be proud of that.”
Rather than high-powered tumbling, Wevers routine consisted of an artful mixture of challenging spins and leaps.
“The final was just nerve-wrecking,” Wevers said according to the Olympics website. “After seeing Simone’s score, I knew I had to change my strategy. I went all-out, but also with the thought that I would go for execution rather than just difficulty.
“The combination of both is crucial. Mentally it is really difficult to deliver a routine like this. It is the performance of my life and a personal record. I was just so happy that it all worked out. Balance beam is the most difficult apparatus I would say. It was just so nerve-wrecking.”
She ended the routine with an impressive dismount.
Wevers, who is a four-time Dutch national champion on the beam, finished second to Biles on the beam at the World Championship in 2015.
Laurie Hernandez of the U.S. finished second in Monday’s competition. The 16-year-old completed a beautiful, clean routine to earn 15.333. Watch Hernandez’s routine here.
The final rankings were:
1. Sanne Wevers: 15.466
2. Laurie Hernandez: 15.333
3. Simone Biles: 14.733
Biles has another chance at a fourth gold medal during the last individual event, the floor exercise, which takes place Tuesday.