TOKYO (AP) — Reigning Olympic gymnastics champion Simone Biles is out of the team finals after apparently suffering an injury during the vault.
The 24-year-old U.S. star, considered to be the greatest gymnast of all time, huddled with a trainer after landing her vault. She then exited the competition floor with the team doctor.
Biles returned several minutes later with her right leg wrapped. She took off her bar grips, and hugged teammates Grace McCallum, Sunisa Lee and Jordan Chiles before putting on a jacket and sweatpants.
The Americans will be forced to finish the rest of the competition without her, severely hampering their bid to claim a third straight Olympic title.
Biles arrived in Tokyo as the unquestioned star of the Games but struggled, at least by her high standards, during qualifying.
Simone Biles and the U.S. women’s gymnastics team are off to a rocky start in the team finals.
Biles bailed on her planned Amanar vault, opting for an easier one in mid-air and then struggling with the landing. The rare miscue by the Olympic champion allowed the gymnasts from Russia to open up a one-point lead after the first rotation.
Vault has long been a strong suit for the U.S. and Biles is the defending Olympic and world champion in the event. Yet the Russian athletes have made up considerable ground since the 2019 world championships. They have an opportunity to win their first Olympic gold since the Unified Team topped the podium in Barcelona in 1992.
The women’s gymnastics team final is underway, with the U.S. looking to secure a third straight Olympic title.
The team representing the Russian Olympic Committee stunned the Americans during qualifying, becoming the first team in 11 years to beat the U.S. in any portion of a major international competition.
The U.S. and the ROC will be paired together as they make their way around the Ariake Gymnastics Centre. The rivals will start on vault, followed by uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise.