Sunday, August 14, 2016

Rio 2016 Day 6 Summary: A tale of two Simones, Phelps continues to flourish in his farewell party

* Simone Biles. Simone Biles. Simone Biles. It may have been the most predictable gold medal of the Games so far but that did not make it any less enchanting to watch. The 19-year-old American gymnast took individual all-around gold on Thursday to grab a second of a possible five gold medals in Rio.

Biles has won the last three consecutive all-around World titles but this is her first Olympics and she did not disappoint.

Standing just 1.45m the bubbly Texan scored highest on three of four rotations - beam, vault and floor - leading a USA 1-2, with Aly Raisman taking silver.

Five golds would see Biles overtake Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina (1956), Czech Vera Caslavska (1968) and Romanian Ecaterina Szabo (1984), who have all won four at the same Games.

Feast your eyes on Biles' floor routine from Thursday (she can elevate to a height that is 2 feet higher than anybody else can, and had she fallen TWICE, she still would have taken gold):

Biles has an incredible backstory. Born in Columbus, Ohio, Biles moved to Texas at the age of three to be brought up along with her younger sister by her maternal grandparents Ron and Nellie Biles. The couple adopted the children after their mother was struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. Two other siblings were adopted by Ron's sister.

Raisman's silver is also an enormous achievement and was brilliant to see. She had missed out on the all-around podium in London 2012 after a tiebreak for third spot with Aliya Mustafina. She found redemption in Rio.

*Another Simone from the United States stole the show in Rio - Simone Manuel, who became the first African-American female swimmer to win Olympic gold when she triumphed in the 100m freestyle on Thursday.
Manuel shared her gold with Canada's Penny Oleksiak who remarkably touched the wall in the same time - an Olympic record of 52.70 seconds.

"I'm super glad with the fact that I can be an inspiration to others and hopefully diversify the sport. But at the same time I would like there to be a day where there are more of us and it's not Simone 'the black swimmer,'" Manuel said after her victory. "Because the title 'black swimmer' makes it seem like I'm not supposed to be able to win a gold medal, I'm not supposed to break records, and that's not true because I work just as hard as anyone else and I love the sport and I want to win just like everybody else."

* Michael Phelps continued to sink more records in his final Olympics before retirement. He became the first swimmer to win the same individual title four Games in a row by triumphing in the 200m IM. It was the 22nd Olympic gold medal of his career, and 26th overall. Only two other Olympians have managed to win the same gold four times in a row: Carl Lewis in the long jump and Al Oerter in the discus.

"To be able to come back and win my fourth 200 IM in a row, I don’t even know how to put that into words," said Phelps.

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