Simone Biles: Who will win Olympic all-around gold in the gymnast’s absence?

Sunisa Lee of the United States competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Simone Biles may not be competing in the Olympic all-around competition tomorrow, but a plethora of world-class gymnasts will be.

Defending Olympic champion Biles has pulled out of the artistic gymnastics all-around competition at Tokyo 2020 to “focus on her mental health”. It is hoped the 24-year-old will return for the remaining individual events this week, but in the meantime, GiveMeSport Women looks at who is favourite to take her all-around crown.

Sunisa Lee – United States

The all-around Olympic gold medal could very well remain with the United States. Sunisa Lee has been looking in excellent form at Tokyo 2020, finishing third in the all-around qualification event with 57.166 points. 

At 19-years-old, Lee has been steadily progressing up the ranks of American gymnastics, making her senior debut in 2019. Her impressive performances earned Lee a place on the gold-medal winning team at the 2019 World Championships, where she also claimed a silver medal on the floor exercise and bronze on the uneven bars.

Lee must have been learning constantly from Biles over the past few years, but it may now be time for the young talent to step into her role model’s shoes.

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Rebeca Andrade – Brazil

If Lee wishes to top the podium in tomorrow’s all-around contest, she will have to outperform Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade.

The 22-year-old is the reigning Pan American all-around champion. She also has Olympic experience, competing at Rio 2016 and finishing 11th in the all-around final. Andrade will be looking to improve significantly on that result.

So far, so good. Andrade placed second in the all-around qualification event earlier this week after scoring 57.399 points. Only Biles performed better than Andrade, suggesting the Brazilian could be the gymnast to step on top of the podium tomorrow.

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Angelina Melnikova – Russia

Angelina Melnikova will go into the individual all-around with a gold medal already in the bag. She was part of the Russian Olympic Committee quartet which placed first in the team event yesterday, pipping the US and Britain to gold.

Both this and her extensive experience on the international stage will give Melnikova confidence during tomorrow’s competition. The 21-year-old is the reigning European champion on uneven bars, the 2019 European Games all-around and uneven bars champion, and the 2019 World all-around and floor exercise bronze medallist.

Melnikova was slightly off the mark in qualifying, finishing behind Biles, Andrade and Lee with 57.132 points. But everything can change during a final, and Melnikova is sure to be among the medal contenders.

Angelina Melnikova competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games News Now - Sport News