‘Final Five’ member Simone Biles’s quest to become the first female gymnast to win five gold medals at a single Olympics ended Monday on the balance team. One day after crushing the field in the vault, Biles settled for bronze on the sport’s most difficult apparatus. American teammate Laurie Hernandez won silver.
Biles wobbled and touched the beam on her routine, which is considered a fall, but still managed a score of 14.733. That put her in first place momentarily, but five gymnasts, including the 16-year-old Hernandez, had yet to compete.
Sanna Wevers of the Netherlands scored a 15.466 on the next routine to move into the lead and eventually won gold. Hernandez scored a 15.333, good enough for second, as Biles cheered her on.
A two-time world champion on beam, Biles was looking to join Shannon Miller (1996) and Shawn Johnson (2008) as the only Americans to win Olympic gold in the event. Biles, who captured gold in the team final and individual all-around before dominating the vault on Sunday, can still become the fifth female gymnast to win four gold medals at a single Olympics by winning Tuesday’s floor exercise. Not surprisingly, she’s the favorite.