Sunisa Lee’s improbable and incredible showing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics continued on Thursday when she continued the United States’ dominance in the individual portion of gymnastics alive and well by winning gold in the women’s all-around competition.
Lee narrowly defeated Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade for the top spot in the competition — her combined score of 57.433 just a few tenths higher than her challenger’s mark of 57.298.
It’s her second medal at these delayed 2020 Games after she stepped in valiantly for Simone Biles — who took a step back from competing to focus on her mental health — and competed in the floor exercise during the team competition. The United States took silver behind the Russian Olympic Committee earlier this week, making it the first time since the 2010 world championships that they failed to win a gold medal at a major competition.
But Lee’s heroics helped keep the United States afloat, and she further showed her repertoire on the individual stage by showing off the kind of consistency that makes champions. Granted, it was rather fitting that it was the floor routine that clinched her gold in the fourth and final rotation, posting a 13.700 that turned out to be just 0.034 points higher than Andrade to clinch gold.
There were plenty of nervy moments that came with it. Lee’s score left the door open for Andrade to swipe gold at the end, but the Brazilian stepped out twice during her routine to secure another American gold.
The 18-year-old Minnesota native posted the top score of the 24 participants in only one of the four categories of the all-around competition — a dazzling 15.300 showing on the uneven bars during the competition’s second rotation. But her floor routine was her lowest mark of the day, as she began the all-around with a solid 14.600 showing on the vault that had her sitting in fourth.
She quickly made up the difference with her performance on the uneven bars, as her routine was given a 6.800 difficulty score — her hardest category of the day — with an execution score of 8.500 from the judges to catapult her near the top, trailing Andrade by just 0.066.
A 13.833 scoring on the balance beam put Lee ahead of Andrade after the third rotation after the Brazilian posted a 13.666 before the clinching floor routine, which featured Biles in the front row cheering her American teammate on.
Lee’s victory makes it five-straight Olympic Games that the United States has taken gold in the women’s all-around competition dating back to the 2004 Games in Athens, Greece. That streak was called into question after Biles took her leave considering she had won every major all-around competition since 2013.
Fellow American Jade Carey finished in eighth.