After a few uncharacteristic mistakes by the Team USA women in the preliminaries, the 2021 Olympics women’s gymnastics team final has a bit more suspense than expected. The U.S. women were favored for gold but finished the preliminaries in second place to Russia. It was by only one point (171.629 to 170.562) but it still showed that Team USA is vulnerable and Russia is capable of winning gold.
The U.S. women’s team is comprised of Simone Biles, Jordan Chiles, Sunisa Lee, and Grace McCallum. In the preliminaries, Biles stepped out of bounds on both the vault and the floor exercise, then took three big steps backward on her balance beam routine, which is part of what accounts for Team USA’s lower-than-expected score.
Chiles also did not have a great preliminary competition, with a big mistake on the uneven parallel bars and two falls on the balance beam. And Lee and McCallum both had issues on a couple of events as well.
Luckily, the preliminary scores do not carry over, so it is a clean slate when the final starts on Tuesday, July 27. The team final begins at 6:45 a.m. Eastern/3:45 a.m. Pacific streaming on Peacock. We will be posting live results below, so be warned of spoilers. Full coverage of the team final airs on TV in primetime on NBC. A full schedule of all the gymnastics events can be seen here.
DON’T KEEP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE OUTCOME OF THE WOMEN’S GYMNASTICS TEAM COMPETITION
The Vault, Rotation 1
The U.S. women started the team competition on the vault. On her first vault, Biles was supposed to do a 2 1/2 twist and only performed a 1 1/2. She landed the vault in a deep knee-bend and afterward, spoke to one of the medical staff members and left the arena. She later returned but is not going to perform on the uneven parallel bars. Chiles will instead take her place on that rotation.
Biles’ vault score was more than a full point lower than what she would normally score on one of her vaults — she scored a 13.766. McCallum earned a 14.300 and Chiles earned a 14.666. Lee did not compete on vault. Three scores from each apparatus go toward the team score as a whole, which is Biles does not have to compete on the parallel bars and Chiles can take her place. In fact, it sounds like BIles is withdrawing from the team competition, so she won’t compete on the floor exercise or balance beam either.
After the first rotation, the U.S. was in second place in the team standings with a score of 42.732. Russia was in first with a score of 43.799.
The Uneven Parallel Bars, Rotation 2
On the uneven parallel bars, Lee, who scored a very good 15.2 in the prelims, earned an even bigger score — a 15.400, the highest score she has ever received on bars. Her routine was practically flawless.
A lot of credit must be given to Chiles, who put up a 14.166 after getting about 10 minutes’ notice that she would be competing on this rotation. McCallum earned a 13.700, both good enough to keep the U.S. in second place. After two rotations, the U.S. was in second place with a score of 85.998 behind Russia in first with a score of 88.498. However, being 2.5 points behind at the midway point is a big deficit to overcome if the U.S. is going to take the gold. They would need Russia to make some mistakes on the final two rotations.
Balance Beam, Rotation 3
McCallum had a couple of small wobbles but overall put up a solid beam routine to earn a 13.666, .6 higher than her prelims score. Lee put up another good routine to earn a 14.133, which is slightly lower than her prelims score. She did have one balance check mid-routine.
Russia had some uncharacteristic mistakes on the beam. Angelina Melnikova, who earned a 13.733 on beam in the prelims, fell during her routine and only earned a 12.566. Vladislava Urazova was also down from her prelims, from a 14.00 to a 12.633, after a fall off the beam. That might be enough to open the door for the U.S. to overtake Russia in the team score.
After three rotations, Russia was still leading, 128.030 to 127.230, so they closed the gap considerably. But it will still be a battle to slide into first place. On the floor exercise, the U.S. would need to be practically perfect and Russia would need to make a few more mistakes.
Floor Exercise, Rotation 4
McCallum was up first in the rotation, but a step out of bounds on her second tumbling pass may have sealed the silver for the U.S. She ended up with a score of 13.500, which is still higher than her prelim score.
Chiles was second for the U.S. It looked like she too went out of bounds on her first tumbling pass and fell on another tumbling pass. She ended up with a score of 11.700 and that put the U.S. firmly in line for the silver medal.
Lee ended the competition with another practically flawless routine. Her floor exercise earned a 13.666, slightly higher than her 13.433 from the prelims. If Biles is out of the rest of the Olympics, Lee has a real shot at individual all-around gold.
The final team standings were Russia in first place with a score of 169.528, the U.S. in second with 166.096, and Great Britain in third with 164.096. Italy and Japan just missed the podium with 163.638 and 163.280, respectively.
The 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics take place from Friday, July 23 until the Closing Ceremony on Sunday, August 8.
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