Simone Biles’ quest for a first gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics may be more complicated than expected. Biles, the most decorated gymnast in history, and her Team USA teammates looked uncharacteristically shaky on Sunday, finishing second in qualifying for the women’s team final on Tuesday.
Team USA’s score of 170.526 was over a point lower than the 171.629 mark set by the Russian Olympic Committee team and marked the first time since 2010 that the Americans hadn’t finished day one of the competition in the world championships or the Olympics in the lead—scoring is reset ahead of the final.
Biles bounced off the carpet on the floor exercise, landed out of bounds on her first vault and had a far from perfect landing as she dismounted from the balance beam.
Jordan Chiles fell off the balance beam and her transition from the high bar to low wasn’t perfect, while Suni Lee’s floor routine wasn’t as polished as usual and she landed her vault low. Grace McCallum, meanwhile, bounced out of bounds on her first routine on the floor.
Despite the somewhat ordinary performance by her incredible standards, Biles leads the individual all-around standings with a score of 57.731 points, ahead of teammate Lee’s score of 57.166 points. She has also qualified for the final in the vault, beam, floor and uneven bars.
Should Biles win the gold medal in all the five events she will be competing in—four individual events plus the team competition—she will bring her Olympic gold medal tally to nine, one more than the all-time record for a U.S. female athlete, currently held by former swimmer Jenny Thompson.
With nine Olympic golds, Biles would also equal the all-time record for gold medals by a female Olympian, which is currently held by former Soviet Union great Larisa Latynina.
Here’s all you need to know ahead of Tuesday’s final.
When Is the Gymnastic Women’s Team Final?
The Women’s Team Final begins at 7:45 p.m. local time (6:45 a.m. ET, 3:45 a.m. PT) on Tuesday, July 27, at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo. The event will run for approximately three hours, meaning that by mid-morning on Tuesday we will know whether Simone Biles has added to her tally of gold medals.
How to Watch on TV and Online
The final will be broadcast live on NBC, with a live stream available via the NBC Sports app and NBCOlympics.com. The event will also be available via streaming services such as fuboTV, Hulu Plus Live TV and YouTube TV, which all carry the NBC family of networks.
How Does the Women’s Team Final Work?
Eight teams will contest the final, all competing in the same session and all represented by four athletes each. Only three athletes from each nation, however, can compete on a given event of the four apparatus that make up a women’s team final—floor exercise, vault, uneven bars and balance beam.
As has been the case since the 2004 Olympics in Athens, all three scores count toward the team final, meaning the final team score will be the total of all 12 routines—it’s 18 routines for men, as they have two more apparatuses than the women.
Each team goes from event to event in Olympic order, with the vault first, followed by the bars and beam and the floor exercise up last. However, to ensure the competition is spread evenly across the four different apparatuses, the teams that ranked first and second in qualifying—the Russian Olympic Committee team and Team USA in this case—will begin on the vault, with the teams that qualified third and fourth starting on the uneven bars, while the fifth and sixth-ranked teams will begin on the balance beam.
The teams that qualified seventh and eighth will start with the floor exercise.
Each of the three athletes performing on a particular apparatus is only allowed one routine.
Which Nations are in the Women’s Team Final?
The Russian Olympic Committee and Team USA will be joined by another six teams in Tuesday’s final. China, bronze medallist five years ago at the Rio Olympics, qualified with the third-highest score of 166.863 points, just over two points ahead of France. Belgium and Great Britain finished fifth and sixth in qualifying with 163.895 and 163.396 points,
respectively, followed by Italy and Japan with 163.330 and 162.662 points.