The U.S. women’s gymnastics team was heavily favored to win the gold medal coming into the 2021 Olympics , but they suffered a stunning upset in the event.
For the first time since 2008, Team USA didn’t emerge with a gold medal in the women’s gymnastics team final. Instead, it will settle for silver. In truth though, it took a Herculean effort to do so.
Simone Biles, the best gymnast on the team and in the world, left the Olympic final with a “medical issue” after just one event. She performed an uncharacteristically poor vault that saw her bail out and receive a 13.766 mark for her efforts before leaving the floor with a trainer. She returned to the floor but was declared out almost immediately.
Biles explained after the event that she decided to withdraw due to the pressure of the situation. Her departure was not related to a physical injury, she added.
“I felt like it would be better to take a back seat,” Biles said. “I didn’t want to risk the team a medal because they worked way too hard for my screwups.”
After falling behind on the vault and the bars, Team USA made a strong comeback push on the balance beam thanks to great efforts from its three remaining gymnasts — Grace McCallum, Jordan Chiles and Suni Lee. They managed to sneak past the Russian Olympic Committee to briefly hold a 0.1-point lead in the third rotation, but ultimately, they were beaten in their final event, the floor, to suffer the 3.5-point loss.
As such, the ROC — headlined by Angelina Melnikova, Viktoriia Listunova and Vladislava Urazova — earned its first gold medal since 1988, when the country participated in the Summer Games as the Soviet Union.
Sporting News tracked live updates and highlights from the team competition at the Olympics. Here is a recap and highlights from the event. ( All times Eastern. )
Olympics gymnastics live results, highlights from women’s team finals
8:54 a.m. — Melnikova posts a 13.966. That will clinch gold for the ROC. The United States will finish in second place, 3.5 points off the pace, and will earn silver despite losing Simone Biles after just one event. Great Britain managed to rally and earn the bronze medal.
|1||Russian Olympic Committee||169.528|
8:50 a.m. — Suni Lee finishes Team USA’s day with a 13.666 on the floor. Now, Angelina Melnikova will have a chance to clinch the gold for the ROC.
8:46 a.m. — Viktoriia Listunova posts a 14.166. That should clinch the gold for the ROC.
8:38 a.m. — Chiles stepped out of bounds early in her routine and proceeded to fall in the corner later in her routine. She scores an 11.700 on the floor. With a clean run, ROC can all but clinch the Olympic gold.
8:35 a.m. — Vladislava Urazova put together a nice, clean performance on the floor for the ROC. However, she scored just a 13.366 compared to McCallum’s 13.500. ROC’s advantage shrinks to about 0.6 points.
8:29 a.m. — McCallum was strong on the floor, but she did step one foot out of bounds. That leaves almost no room for error for Chiles and Lee in the final event. They may need some help from the ROC.
8:22 a.m. — It will all come down to the floor exercises. Team USA trails the ROC by 0.8 points after Jordan Chiles performs well on the beam to keep pace with the ROC. Buckle up.
|1||Russian Olympic Committee||128.03|
8:14 a.m. — Suni Lee put forth a 14.133 on the balance beam. That gives Team USA a 0.1-point lead on the ROC. Game on.
8:09 a.m. — Another ROC competitor, Angelina Melnikova, fell off the beam as well. That will give Team USA another chance to eat into that lead. Suni Lee is up next.
8:08 a.m. — And another update on Biles. USA Gymnastics is reporting that she is, in fact, dealing with a medical injury.
Official statement: “Simone Biles has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions.”
Thinking of you, Simone! pic.twitter.com/QA1GYHwWTv
— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) July 27, 2021
8:01 a.m. — McCallum’s beam routine is in the books. She has posted a 13.666 after the ROC’s first competitor logged a 12.633. Team USA is now within 1.5 points of the ROC.
7:57 a.m. — Up first is the beam. The ROC’s Vladislava Urazova just had a fall on the balance beam, so that could give Team USA a chance to make up some points if they can stay clean on the event.
7:51 a.m. — After the second rotation, the ROC still leads with Team USA in second place. ROC’s 2.5-point lead is looking pretty solid with Simone Biles out for the rest of the competition.
|1||Russian Olympic Committee||88.498|
7:49 a.m. — Another update on Simone Biles: Her decision to withdraw from competition wasn’t injury related. It’s related to a mental issue.
“We’ve just been told that, with regards to Simone withdrawing, it is not injury-related. It is a mental issue that Simone is having.” — John Roethlisberger
— Uncle Tim (@uncletimmensgym) July 27, 2021
7:40 a.m. — Suni Lee just provided Team USA with a big boost. She put up a 15.400 mark on the uneven bars. That the highest score on that apparatus at the Olympics so far.
7:29 a.m. — Simone Biles is OUT for the remainder of the team finals. Wow. Team USA will have to use Grace McCallum, Suni Lee and Jordan Chiles on all remaining events.
7:27 a.m. — Grace McCallum landed a 13.700 solid routine on the bars to start for Team USA. That was much-needed after the team’s start on the vault.
7:25 a.m. — Jordan Chiles is warming up on the uneven bars. Originally, she wasn’t expected to participate in that event. According to the NBC broadcast, she will be replacing Biles on the event.
7:21 a.m. — Simone Biles left the floor with a trainer after that first rotation. She may just be getting taped up before the uneven bars, but this certainly will be something to watch moving forward. If she’s dealing with any type of injury, that would significantly hurt Team USA’s gold medal chances.
7:18 a.m. — Through one rotation, ROC leads the field. Team USA is in second place and has some ground to make up in the final three events.
|1||Russian Olympic Committee||43.799|
7:13 a.m. — As the FIG explains, Biles’ vault ended up performing what would normally be called an Amanar. She just came out of the final twist early.
Simone Biles 🇺🇸 earns 13.766 on Vault for a Yurchenko 3/2 twist that normally would have been an Amanar. Biles opened up early out of the twist and took a large hop forward on landing. #Tokyo2020 #ArtisticGymnastics
— FIG (@gymnastics) July 27, 2021
7:06 a.m. — After the vault, ROC is ahead of Team USA by about a point after the vault. Vault is viewed as one of Team USA’s strongest events, so this is a surprise to start.
7:03 a.m. — Simone Biles put forth an uncharacteristically tough vault with the broadcast noting that she got “lost in the air” and bailed out trying to land it. Biles took a little hop after landing with bent knees on the event. She scored a 13.766 on the vault, the lowest score of the three U.S. competitors on the day.
7:01 a.m. — Jordan Chiles has posted a 14.666 on the vault. That was the best score of the vault on the day before ROC’s Liliia Akhaimova bested her.
6:55 a.m. — McCallum’s vault is in the books. She landed a foot out of bounds on the landing, which will be an automatic 0.1-point penalty. She posts a 14.300 to kickstart USA’s competition.
6:48 a.m. — McCallum, Chiles and Biles will compete for Team USA on the vault. Biles finished first on the vault during Sunday’s qualifying, posting a mark of 15.183 despite a 0.3-point penalty.
6:45 a.m. — All right, let’s get this show on the road. Team USA will begin its quest for its third consecutive gold medal shortly as introductions are underway.
6:37 a.m. — It looks like Team USA will start on the vault alongside the ROC. Then, it’ll be the bars, beam and finally, the floor. Grace McCallum will be first to perform for the U.S. on each event.
6:28 a.m. — Team USA has won the last two Olympic gold medals in the women’s team competition. In 2012, the U.S. won handily, beating second-place Russia by 5.066 points. In 2016, Team USA won by an even wider margin over Russia. The “Final Five” held an 8.209-point lead at the end of competition.
6:24 a.m. — Just how close can the scoring get in gymnastics? The Russian Olympic Committee beat Team USA by 1.067 points in Sunday’s qualifying. That came despite an unusually rocky qualifying for Team USA, so regardless of what happens, this competition will be close.
6:21 a.m. — Scoring reminder: Each team will have three gymnasts compete on the four events — floor exercise, vault, uneven bars and balance beam. Those three scores will count towards the team total for the competition. That leaves little room for error for the gymnasts, and any penalties racked up on the day could have a big impact on the final outcome of this meet.
6:15 a.m. — Just 30 minutes until the start of the women’s team final. The starting lineup for the U.S. women is expected to feature Simone Biles on all three events along with Grace McCallum, who will surprisingly get a four-event nod over Jordan Chiles after Chiles’ disappointing qualifying. Chiles and Suni Lee will each compete in two events.
|Floor||Simone Biles, Grace McCallum, Jordan Chiles|
|Vault||Simone Biles, Grace McCallum, Jordan Chiles|
|Uneven bars||Simone Biles, Grace McCallum, Suni Lee|
|Beam||Simone Biles, Grace McCallum, Suni Lee|
How to watch Olympic gymnastics in USA
- Time: 6 a.m. ET
- TV channels: NBC (U.S.) | CBC (Canada)
- Live stream: Peacock, NBCOlympics.com, NBC Sports App, fuboTV
The women’s team final will begin at 6 a.m. ET and will primarily be broadcast on NBC’s free streaming app, Peacock. The app will also allow users to rewatch events after they happen. Those who aren’t able to watch the early-morning coverage can watch a tape-delayed telecast on NBC in prime time.
Olympic gymnastics schedule 2021
The Olympic gymnasts’ focus will turn to the all-around final after the team final Tuesday. Team USA’s Simone Biles and Suni Lee will compete in the all-around Thursday morning. Event finals will take place Aug. 1-3 and will be flanked by trampoline competitions and rhythmic qualifying and finals, both group and individual.
Most of the events will be broadcast on Peacock, CNBC and USA, but those hoping to catch some of the action in prime time are in luck. NBC will re-air gymnastics events most nights with a focus on the women’s squad.
|Tue, July 27||Women’s Team Final||6-11 a.m.||Peacock|
|Wed, July 28||Men’s All Around||6-11 a.m.||Peacock|
|Thu, July 29||Women’s All Around||6-11 a.m.||Peacock|
|Thu, July 29||Women’s Trampoline Final||8 p.m.-2 a.m.||CNBC|
|Fri, July 30||Women’s Trampoline Final||2-4 a.m.||CNBC|
|Fri, July 30||Men’s Trampoline Final||8 p.m.-2 a.m.||CNBC|
|Sat, July 31||Men’s Trampoline Final||2-4 a.m.||CNBC|
|Sun, Aug. 1||Event Finals||4-11 a.m.||Peacock|
|Mon, Aug. 2||Event Finals||4-11 a.m.||Peacock|
|Tue, Aug. 3||Event Finals||4-11 a.m.||Peacock|
|Thu, Aug. 5||Rhythmic Individual Qualifying||8 p.m.-12:15 a.m.||CNBC|
|Fri, Aug. 6||Rhythmic Group Qualifying||9 p.m.-12:30 a.m.||USA|
|Sat, Aug. 7||Rhythmic Group Final||6-11:30 p.m.||USA|