Olympic Women's Gymnastics 2021: USA's Sunisa Lee Wins Individual All-Around Gold

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 29, 2021

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 29: Sunisa Lee of Team United States reacts after competing on uneven bars during the Women's All-Around Final on day six of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 29, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

With Team USA's Simone Biles out of the competition to focus on her mental health, teammate Sunisa Lee earned the Olympic spotlight by capturing the gold medal in the women's individual all-around gymnastics competition Thursday at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo.

Lee emerged from a highly competitive field in which the top spot on the podium was still up for grabs heading into the final rotation. Biles had announced she wouldn't take part after dropping out of the team event Tuesday.

Brazil's Rebeca Andrade earned the silver medal, while the Russian Olympic Committee's Angelina Melnikova took home bronze.

Here's a look at the top finishers:

1. Sunisa Lee (USA, 57.433)

2. Rebeca Andrade (BRA, 57.298)

3. Angelina Melnikova (ROC, 57.199)

4. Vladislava Urazova (ROC, 56.966)

5. Mai Murakami (JPN, 56.032)

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Suni Lee's family after winning gold in the all-around competition โค๏ธ<br><br>Priceless.<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/Gia_Vang?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Gia_Vang</a>)<a href="https://t.co/eTmrxCKqP4">pic.twitter.com/eTmrxCKqP4</a>

Lee had never won an all-around medal at a major competition, finishing second to Biles at the last two U.S. national championships and in the U.S. Olympic trials.

After Lee's win, her parents John Lee and Yeev Thoj spoke to News Talk 830 WCCO in Minneapolis about their daughter's accomplishment:

"Being the first Asian-American to make it to the Olympics was already unreal, and then to win the gold on the world stage is unbelievable. There's no word that we can express with right now," John Lee said.

โ€œYeah, it's been a long journey for her, 12 years and it was her dream, so I'm so proud of her that she actually reached her dream," Thoj added.

The 18-year-old entered the final routine with a slight advantage over the field, with three competitors within a half-point. Her performance in the floor routine, one of her top events, was enough to clinch the overall title.

FIG @gymnastics

In flight - Sunisa Lee, ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ArtisticGymnastics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ArtisticGymnastics</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tokyo2020?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Tokyo2020</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Olympics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Olympics</a> <a href="https://t.co/gaYZIJrb1Y">pic.twitter.com/gaYZIJrb1Y</a>

Biles qualified for all the individual competitions during the Summer Olympics, so she could still return before the end of the Games. The vault and uneven bars are scheduled for Sunday, followed by the floor exercise Monday and the balance beam Tuesday.

"I just felt like it would be a little bit better to take a back seat, work on my mindfulness," Biles told reporters after the team event. "And I knew that the girls would do an absolutely great job. And I didn't want to risk the team a medal for kind of my screwups, because they've worked way too hard for that."

Simone Biles @Simone_Biles

the outpouring love &amp; support Iโ€™ve received has made me realize Iโ€™m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before. ๐Ÿค

The 24-year-old won four gold medals at the 2016 Rio Games, including a dominant performance in the women's all-around to help her become one of that year's breakout stars.

Along with her Olympic success, Biles has also won 19 gold medals at the World Championships to establish herself as one of the greatest gymnasts in history.

Looking ahead, the gymnastics schedule at the Tokyo Games continues with the women's trampoline final Friday and the men's trampoline final Saturday.