What Happened in Simone Biles’s Vault

Without Biles, Sunisa Lee Nails Uneven Bars

TOKYO — Simone Biles lost her way midair while vaulting in the women’s team final on Tuesday, then suddenly exited the competition, saying she wasn’t mentally prepared to compete. Biles’s absence created a bigger opening for the Russians, who won the gold. Biles had planned to do an Amanar, a difficult vault with two-and-a-half twists.





But, she said, she lost her bearings in the air. She completed only one-and-a-half twists, then stumbled out of her landing. Minutes later, U.S.A. Gymnastics confirmed that Biles had withdrawn from the competition, leaving the United States without its highest-scoring gymnast.






“I just felt like it would be a little bit better to take a back seat, work on my mindfulness,” Biles said after the competition, in which the United States took silver. “I didn’t want to risk the team a medal for, kind of, my screw ups, because they’ve worked way too hard ithout Biles, Sunisa Lee Nails Uneven Bars
How each team scored on the uneven bars


Under intense pressure, Sunisa Lee responded, connecting some of the hardest maneuvers done on the uneven bars. Lee scored a 15.4, which would tie Nina Derwael of Belgium for the highest bars score of the Olympics so far.
Above, Lee is shown doing a front flip, called a piked Jaeger, above the high bar, then immediately going into another flip, a Pak salto, down to the lower bar.

At just the right moment, she puts her toes on the bar as her momentum propels her body back to the high bar, completing a half twist midair. Viktoria Listunova’s Russian teammates were depending on her after two of them fell. She performed difficult acrobatics and beautiful leaps, ending her routine with a roundoff into two flips in a tucked position, shown below.


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