Sun | Mar 18, 2018

Biles blunder tops trying day

Published:Tuesday | August 16, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Simone Biles is no longer Rio de Janeiro's juggernaut. A mistake on the balance beam prevented the American gymnastics star from a record-tying fourth gold at the Olympics, which were dogged yesterday by rain, wind and fire.

Downpours delayed the track and field programme in the evening.

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 today. 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 gold in a single Olympics.

Already a three-time gold medallist (all-around, team and vault) when she walked on to the floor yesterday, Biles was a favourite 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 four-inch wide slab of wood - when she missed the landing following her punch front flip.