Gymnastics: Biles leads way for sensational Americans

Mon Aug 8, 2016 7:50am EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Simone Biles showed the world why she is an Olympic champion-in-waiting as she and her American team mates blew away the opposition by almost 10 points in women's gymnastics qualifying at the Rio Games on Sunday.

The quintet of Biles, 2012 all around champion Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian produced the kind of command performance that has made the Americans an unbeatable force since 2011 as they racked up a total of 185.238 points.

While rivals China, Russia and Britain fell and stumbled their way through qualifying, the only blips for the Americans was when Douglas stepped out of bounds during the floor exercise and Raisman flapped her arms about to save herself falling off the beam following a big wobble.

They were such a class act with their soaring somersaults and explosive tumbles that Biles, Raisman and Douglas were the top three all around performers on Sunday.

But the quality within her own team meant that Douglas lost her chance to become the first woman since Czech Vera Caslavska in 1968 to win back-to-back Olympic all around titles as competition rules state each country can field only two gymnasts in individual finals.

Her total of 60.131 was just 0.476 of a point adrift of Raisman, who along with Biles made it to the all around final.

"I hate the two per country rule, I think it’s really hard because I think all five of us could make the all around final," said Raisman.

"It is heart-breaking."   Continued...

Simone Biles of the U.S. competes on the floor exercise during the women's qualifications. REUTERS/Mike Blake