Gold Again: Biles Leads US to Gymnastics Victory in Rio

The U.S. women took their second consecutive Olympic team title

Fittingly, Simone Biles had to outshine two teammates to put the exclamation point on an astonishing, flawless gold-medal performance by the U.S. women's gymnastics team.

She turned in the highest score of any competitor on the floor exercise, right after Aly Raisman toppped Laurie Hernandez, who had done the same thing. 

The American women were only competing against themselves. A few moments later, when the result was official, Biles, Raisman, Hernandez, Gabby Douglas and Madison Kocian huddled together, stacked their hands and broke with a shout: "We are the Final Five!" 

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The self-administered moniker is a nod to 2012's "Fierce Five," which included Raisman and Douglas, and to 2020's team, which will be only four athletes due to a rules change.

Douglas said after the victory that winning her second all-around gold felt the same as it did four years ago.

"Being back out here on the highest stage is something so special and so unique," she told Bob Costas.

The fiercest competition in the gym was for second place behind the Americans, who won by more than eight points over Russia. China edged out Japan for the bronze.

A day after the US men's team flopped to fifth, the women put on a show from start to finish, going 12 for 12 on their routines. The incredible depth of the USA program was on display as Douglas, the 2012 all-around individual champion only competed on bars, nailing a 15.766 that was still topped by Madison Kocian’s sizzling 15.933.

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The U.S. women went 12 for 12 — no falls, no major miscues in any rotation.

"I knew going into floor that if i had a good routine that we would stay at the top. It's just very exciting knowing that," Biles said.

That said, it wasn’t quite the cakewalk the final margin of 8.2 points made it seem. Biles, who is in the running for five medals at these Olympics, had a 14.8 on bars, the only time she wasn't the high scorer. Her beam, though a respectable 15.3, featured one good-sized wobble and a few other unsteady moments.

The USA was only .70 points ahead of Russia after starting on vault, but they were up by more than four after bars and nearly five after the beam. Not that anyone expected to catch them. 

Such is the depth of US gymnastics that they easily could have called any of alternates Ashton Locklear, MyKayla Skinner or Regan Smith into the team and still romped. If national team coordinator Martha Karolyi retires as planned, she’ll leave the sport in excellent shape.

"I'm sure if she sees one sign of a crack in the team, she might be back," Biles quipped to Costas.

Until then, there are more medals to chase.

The individual all-around, where Biles will be joined by Raisman is Thursday. Vault (Biles) and bars (Douglas and Kocian) on Sunday, followed by beam on Monday (Biles and Hernandez) and floor (Biles and Raisman) on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

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