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Biles, Verniaiev, Hambuechen capture final Artistic Gymnastics crowns in Rio

Publication date : 16/08/2016

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Simone Biles’s Olympic finals ended as they began, with the American champion atop the podium, a gold medal around her neck. After golds with the U.S. team, in the All-around and on Vault and bronze on Beam, the 19-year-old took her fourth Olympic title for her samba flavored Floor routine Tuesday, finishing comfortably ahead of her teammate, 2012 Floor champion Alexandra Raisman.

The U.S. sensation hereby joins an exclusive club of women to have won four golds in Gymnastics at a single Games: Agnes Keleti (HUN, 1956, including gold for Team portable apparatus, an event contested for the last time that year), Larisa Latynina (URS, 1956), Vera Caslavska (TCH, 1968) and Ekaterina Szabo (ROU, 1984).

Raisman, 22, was all smiles as she accepted her sixth Olympic medal, her third of these Games. Tumbling to bronze, Amy Tinkler, the youngest British athlete in Rio, earned her nation’s second Olympic medal in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics, four years after Elizabeth Tweddle made history with the same colour.

Simone Biles (USA)

Gold at last for Verniaiev...

After coming within a toepoint of defeating Japan’s Kohei Uchimura for the All-around title, Oleg Verniaiev finally got to stand on the top step of the podium on his best apparatus, Parallel Bars. The 2014 World champion on the event locked down his first Olympic gold – only his second major international title – after reigning World champion You Hao took himself out of contention by falling on his dismount.

The United States’s Danell Leyva, who has medalled at every Olympics and World Championships he’s attended for the past five years, continued his streak Tuesday with silver. The medal was much to the delight of his coach and stepfather Yin Alvarez, who danced for joy from the sidelines. The 2011 World Parallel Bars champion was originally an alternate to the U.S. team, but was called in to replace injured teammate John Orozco just before the Games.

Often a finalist but rarely a medallist in major international competition, Russia’s David Belyavskiy finally climbed onto an individual podium with bronze, one week after his silver with the Russian team.

Oleg Verniaiev (UKR)

...and for High Bar king Hambuechen

After four Olympic Games and a decade as the leader of the German team, Fabian Hambuchen finally has his long-awaited gold at 28. The 2007 World champion on High Bar won bronze in 2008 and silver in 2012 but considered himself over the hill before the Rio Games, which he says will be his last. He nevertheless qualified first to the final.

The expected duel between Hambuechen and London gold medallist Epke Zonderland never materialized. "The Flying Dutchman" fell to his stomach a risky release combination and finished seventh. The challenge came instead from Leyva, whose silver medal performance gave him his second Olympic silver of the afternoon and third overall medal.

Britain’s Nile Wilson, just 20 and in his first Olympics, took full advantage of his only individual event final, nailing his routine for bronze.

Fabian Hambuechen (GER)

USA dethrones China to top medal table

China has been the dominant nation at the past two Olympic Games, but in Rio the USA, led by Biles, was number one with 12 overall medals. Their haul includes four golds, along with six silvers and two bronzes. Following up on their stunning success in London in 2012, Great Britain surpassed itself with its best-ever results, ending with six medals, including two historic golds, their first in Artistic Gymnastics. Until the very last moment the Russians weren’t certain to take part in the Games, but they proudly collected eight medals, though just one title. With only two bronze medals, China dropped to the 11th on the medal table, behind host Brazil.