USA’s Simone Biles (2ndL) reacts with teammates after finishing second of the artistic gymnastics women’s team final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)
Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles’ participation in the rest of the Tokyo Olympics was plunged into doubt by an unspecified medical issue on Tuesday while Japanese star Naomi Osaka crashed out of the tennis competition.
Biles exited the women’s team final after a lacklustre opening vault and briefly left the competition floor, before returning to join her teammates.
But the US team replaced her in the three remaining routines on the uneven bars, beam, and floor and Biles was reduced to cheering on her team.
“Simone has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue,” a statement from USA Gymnastics said. “She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”
Biles, 24, is seeking a fifth Olympic gold of her career in the team final as she chases Soviet great Larisa Latynina’s record of nine gymnastics titles.
Silver medalists USA’s Sunisa Lee, USA’s Grace Mc Callum USA’s Simone Biles and USA’s Jordan Chiles wave on the podium of the artistic gymnastics women’s team final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP)
Osaka, one of the faces of the Games after she lit the Olympic cauldron in the opening ceremony, lost 6-1, 6-4 to Marketa Vondrousova after an error-strewn performance, ending her cherished dream of winning on home soil.
The 23-year-old had not played since May when she walked out of the French Open saying media commitments were harming her mental health.
The second seed was bitterly disappointed at missing out on a chance of Olympic gold, especially after the early exits of world number one Ashleigh Barty and third seed Aryna Sabalenka.
“How disappointed am I? I mean, I’m disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others,” said the four-time Grand Slam-winner.
Asked what went wrong, she replied: “Everything — if you watch the match then you would probably see. I feel like there’s a lot of things that I counted on that I couldn’t rely on today.”
– Surfing a golden wave –
Brazil’s Italo Ferreira and America’s Carissa Moore claimed the first-ever Olympic gold medals in surfing.
In the men’s competition Ferreira, who learned his trade standing on the foam box from which his father sold fish, snapped his board on the first wave and had to wait in the sea for a replacement.
But he recovered to score 15.14 to Japanese opponent Kanoa Igarashi’s 6.60 at Tsurigasaki Beach.
“It’s one of the best days of my life for sure,” said the Brazilian. “I was so nervous at the beginning but I just tried to surf and have fun because two months ago I was busy with training and thinking and dreaming and now I’ve got the gold medal.”
Moore, from Hawaii, beat South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag in the women’s final.
– Bermuda glory –
Triathlete Flora Duffy won the first gold of the day in the women’s event, making Bermuda the smallest territory or nation in terms of population to win a gold medal at a Summer Games.
For Duffy it was a welcome reward after persistent injuries and a diagnosis of anaemia in 2013.
“I have achieved my dream of winning a gold medal, but also winning Bermuda’s first gold medal,” she said.
“It’s bigger than me and that’s a really cool moment. That was the longest kilometre of my life (the final one of the run).”
Elsewhere, swimming powerhouses Australia and the United States won one gold medal each in the morning pool session and are on three golds apiece.
Australian world-record holder Kaylee McKeown upstaged American arch-rival Regan Smith to claim the women’s 100m Olympic backstroke crown as Russia and Britain also won golds.
McKeown flew through the water at the Tokyo Aquatic Center to touch in 57.47 seconds, a new Olympic record and only fractionally outside her own world best while Smith had to settle for bronze.
McKeown, who lost her father last year to brain cancer, said: “It’s not necessarily what I’ve been through. Everyone has a journey of their own and it just so happens that mine’s been a really tough one.”
On a day of upsets, American women’s 100m breaststroke world-record holder and defending champion Lilly King was beaten by 17-year-old compatriot Lydia Jacoby and teammate and defending 100m backstroke champion Ryan Murphy also tasted defeat.
Russian swimmer Evgeny Rylov took gold in the final, with Murphy pushed into third place.
Britain’s Tom Dean came back from two bouts of coronavirus to edge out team-mate Duncan Scott and win the 200m freestyle.