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The Russians beat the Bills and the United States in the preliminary stage

The Russians beat the Bills and the United States in the preliminary stage

Tokyo (AFP) – The problems started early. A step from the line to the ground here, an extra leap on the colt there.

And for two hours on Sunday, they kept piling up, undermining the aura that American gymnastics has shaped over the past decade. Even the greatest of all was not immune to the realities of an imperfect sport.

For 11 years, American women have been courting her, competitively at least, traveling the world and returning home with suitcases full of gold.

This can also happen in Tokyo. But for the first time in a long time, it seemed like it wouldn’t happen without me having to fight for it.

To general astonishment, Russia completed an excellent initial stage and got the best score, 171.629, more than one point out of 170,562 for the Americans.

Although reigning Olympic champion Simone Biles led the competition and partner Sunisa Lee came in second, for the first time since the 2010 World Cup, the United States saw another name higher than its own in the team standings.

“This wasn’t the final. This is to get to the final. So it could be a big warning for us and we’re going to take advantage of it,” said Tom Forster, USA high performance coordinator.

Faced with a nearly empty Ariake gymnastics center, not even Biles was immune to mistakes.

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The 24-year-old gymnast had the highest score with a score of 57,731 and advanced to the final on different equipment, but it wasn’t easy. He got off the mat after a somersault in his floor, then did the same on the rack. He responded with a solid workout on the uneven bars, but finished off a great routine by taking three big steps back after going down, something Forster hadn’t done before.

Biles, who came to Japan as an Olympic standard for the United States, walked out before the judging panel and left with a smile that created a mixture of relief, sarcasm, and frustration.