WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Team USA did not top the qualifying rounds of the Tokyo Olympic Gymnastics.
- They came in second place, trailing behind Team Russia.
- Team USA’s Simone Biles and Sunisa Lee qualified for the all-around competition.
For the first time since 2010, America’s gymnastics team did not top the qualifying round in a world championship.
Angelina Melnikova and her Russian teammates got the top score in Sunday’s Olympics qualifying round, recording a score of 171.629. Team USA posted a score of 170.562.
The scores will not be carried over, but Melnikova’s team should be confident that they can create history by beating Team USA. “We hope that,” said Melnikova on Sunday with a translator. “We’re also going to struggle and fight. We have to. That’s the expectation for us.”
In every world championship since 2010, Team USA got the top scores in qualifying, including their performances in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and in London in 2012.
The Americans are still capable of winning gold and remain the crowd favorite, but their Sunday performance was not particularly impressive. Even reigning Olympic champion Simone Biles’s performance was not perfect. The same goes for her teammates Grace McCallum and Sunisa Lee. Jordan Chiles also struggled throughout and stumbled on her beam dismount. She finished at 40th place overall with a score of 53.698.
Biles, who got the highest score at 57.731, and Lee who placed third with a score of 57.166, will compete in the all-around on Thursday. Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade was in second place.
Biles will also compete in the finals for floor, vault, bars, and beam. Lee qualified in bars and beam.
The Russian team bagged the 4th, 5th, and 6th place. Melnikova scored 57.132, Vladislava Urazova got 57.099, and Viktoria Listunova posted a score of 56.93.
Team USA’s Grace McCallum recorded a 55.165, while her teammates Jade Carey and Mykayla Skinner finished higher than McCallum and Chiles at 56.265 and 55.398, respectively. However, Carey and Skinner will only compete in individual events.
Carey will compete in the finals in both vault and floor. She also would have qualified for the all-around if not for a rule that limits countries to only two gymnasts during the finals.
The qualifying teams will compete in Tuesday’s finals.