Sunisa Lee wins gold for US in gymnastics all-around

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Sunisa Lee of the United States competes in the floor exercise competition of the artistic gymnastics women's all-around final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, July 29, 2021. (Xinhua/Wang Lili)

U.S. gymnast Sunisa Lee rallied to take the women's all-around title at Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.

The 18-year-old won gold in 57.433 points, trailed by Brazil's Rebeca Andrade in 57.298 points. The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC)'s Angelina Melnikova settled for bronze in 57.199 points.

China's Tang Xijing and Lu Yufei finished seventh and 18th respectively.

Thanks to an excellent performance on the uneven bars, Lee was able to narrow her gap with Andrade and placed second in rotation two by a close margin of 0.066 points to the Brazilian gymnast.

Though she was unstable on the balance beam, Lee led the competition after rotation three, trailing by Andrade at 0.101 points. Her score of 13.700 in the floor exercise held off a strong challenge from Andrade, as the latter scored 13.666 points but needed 13.802 for a gold.

"It feels crazy, it is so surreal. It's a dream come true. I don't even know what to say. It hasn't even sunk in," Lee said after the final. "The past two years with COVID have been crazy. There was one point I wanted to quit. To be here and to be an Olympic gold medallist is just crazy."

Andrade took the lead after the vault, but lost her edge in the uneven bars and the balance beam.

In the last rotation, she stepped out of bounds in the floor exercise twice, leading to a 0.4 penalty which denied her the chance for a gold.

"I don't have any words to describe how I am feeling, nor the feeling of having the Olympic silver medal around my neck. I gave 110 percent, I gave all of me," said Andrade. "It's been a tough road (since Rio 2016) with many bumps along the way. But I kept on focusing on my goal."

Melnikova was 0.099 points behind Andrade and took the bronze.

"I am extremely happy. It has been a hard road to get here. All my dreams came true. I want to dedicate it (my medal) to all the hard work I have done," said Melnikova.

U.S. star gymnast Simone Biles announced her withdrawal from the all-round final on Wednesday.

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