DOHA, Qatar — There can only be one Simone Biles.
Dominant as the greatest gymnast of her and every other generation is, her scores can only be counted once in the unforgiving three-up, three-count team format for Tuesday’s team finals. If the Americans are going to maintain their stranglehold on the top of the podium, someone besides Biles is going to have to put up some big numbers.
Fortunately for the United States, and unfortunately for the rest of the world, the Americans have no shortage of women who are up to the task.
“They are athletes. They're competitive,” national team coordinator Tom Forster said after qualifying. “Even though the whole thing is 'work together as a team,' when they do well together, individually they're also doing well, and they all know that.”
The Americans finished qualifying with 174.429 points, which was almost nine points ahead of Russia. That’s not just a cushion, that’s a rout, with the Russians closer to 12th-place Italy than they were to the Americans.
Now granted, Biles posted a 60.965 that included the top score of the meet on vault, floor exercise and balance beam. But even if you take her out of the equation, the Americans still would have been comfortably in front.
In qualifying, four gymnasts compete on each event and the lowest score is dropped. If you replace Biles’ score on every event with the mark the Americans dropped, they would have finished with 168.397 points. That still would have put them 2.9 points ahead of Russia.
Not to overstate the obvious, but in a sport where the difference between gold and silver is often tenths or even hundredths of a point, that’s still not close.
“We all have different qualities that we can bring to the team,” Riley McCusker said. “We can all shine in different places.”
Source: Read Full Article