Coronation complete as Biles wins all around gold

Fri Aug 12, 2016 6:25am EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - As Simone Biles stood locked in a tight embrace with her team mate Aly Raisman, waiting for her final score to come up on the big screen, the concerned look in her eyes suggested she had no idea who would be crowned Olympic all around champion.

The American, however, was the only one still in the dark in the brightly lit Rio Olympic Arena on Thursday as the hollering cheers and standing ovation that greeted her final tumbling pass on the floor exercise confirmed what everyone knew long before the judges' verdict came up -- Biles was the new champion.

When a stupendous score of 15.933 confirmed she had beaten Raisman by 2.100 points with a total of 62.198, the coronation that had been in the planning stages ever since she won the first of a record three successive world titles in 2013 could finally take place.

Then the woman who had remained stoic throughout the previous two hours as she showcased her jaw-dropping skills across four apparatus, finally let her guard down and burst into tears.

As the realization hit home that she finally owned the biggest individual prize in the sport, the crowd saluted a gymnast who had just become the first woman in 20 years to win the Olympic all-around title as the reigning world champion.

"Every emotion hit me at once so I was just kind of a train wreck," Biles said after scooping a second gold in Rio following her success in the team final on Tuesday.

"Everything was going through my head but mainly it was like I had finally done it and when that hits you, you can't really stop the emotions."

For Raisman, claiming silver with a total of 60.098 meant redemption after she suffered a gut-wrenching disappointment to miss out on the bronze four years ago to Russia's Aliya Mustafina on the tiebreak rule.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Artistic Gymnastics - Final - Women's Individual All-Around Final - Rio Olympic Arena - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 11/08/2016. Simone Biles (USA) of USA competes on the beam during the women's individual all-around final. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj