Rio de Janeiro: The Americans were denied a gold medal for the first time since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and it took two big stumbles to keep the “Star Spangled Banner” on pause. One of the slips cost US gymnastics star Simone Biles gold on the balance beam.
The other secured Shaunae Miller’s win in the women’s 400 meters over Allyson Felix, the US star who missed out on her fifth Olympic gold medal. Miller, of the Bahamas, crossed .07 seconds ahead of Felix thanks to a head-first dive that came after a downpour forced a delay in the evening events and sent spectators scurrying for shelter at Olympic Stadium. Biles lost her status as Rio de Janeiro’s juggernaut after a blunder on the balance beam prevented her from a record-tying fourth gold in gymnastics at these games.
The American’s shutout came on a day the Rio Games were dogged by rain, wind and fire. In the morning, there was too little wind, then too much, at the sailing regatta on Guanabara Bay, where men’s and women’s medal races were postponed until Tuesday. In the afternoon, smoke and ash from a wind-whipped wildfire billowed over the field hockey stadium in Deodoro.
Boxing may have to weather another storm of its own after a surprising decision in the men’s heavyweight gold medal fight, where boos cascaded down from the crowd when Evgeny Tischenko, of Russia, was announced as the unanimous winner over Vassiliy Levit, of Kazakhstan, who looked like the winner. Biles’ blunder allowed Sanne Wevers of the Netherlands to take the gold medal and Laurie Hernandez of the US to slip past Biles for the silver.
It also ended Biles’ bid to become the first female gymnast to win five golds in a single Olympics. Already a three-time gold medallist (all-around, team and vault) when she walked onto the floor on Monday, Biles was a favorite on beam as the reigning world champion. She topped qualifying last week and had just completed the most difficult part of her routine — a tumbling pass that stretches the length of the 4-inch wide slab of wood — when she missed the landing following her punch front flip.
A fresh round of troubles tormented South America’s first Olympics on Monday: The German Olympic team said canoe slalom coach Stefan Henze died from injuries sustained in a car crash last week. MORE (AP)
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