Dong clinches record 4th medal, Biles pulls out of two more events - GulfToday

Dong clinches record 4th medal, Biles pulls out of two more events


China’s Dong Dong competes in the trampoline gymnastics final at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre on Saturday. Agence France-Presse

Chinese trampoline gymnast Dong Dong narrowly missed out on gold at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday but became the first athlete in the sport to win four medals at four Games.

The 32-year-old, who won gold at London 2012, posted a score of 61.235 in the men’s final to take silver behind Belarus’s Ivan Litvinovich, who scored 61.715. New Zealand’s Dylan Schmidt won bronze.

Dong Dong, trampolining’s most decorated athlete, also took bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games and silver in Rio, along with a staggering 12 world titles.

“This medal means a lot to me,” he said. “I have competed in four Olympics and this medal is a dream come true. I didn’t get the gold, but this result is very satisfying to me.”

An emotional Litvinovich said he had faced a long journey to Olympic glory.

“Every training, every small step was a contribution to this victory,” he said. “I really didn’t expect this (winning gold), but I was going for it.”

Meanwhile, Simone Biles has pulled out of two more Olympic finals at the Tokyo Games, USA Gymnastics said in a statement on Saturday, with her entire campaign now in serious doubt.

The 24-year-old gymnastics great came to Tokyo seeking five gold medals to equal the Olympic all-time career record of nine, but withdrew during the women’s team competition and also skipped her all-around title defence, citing mental health issues.

That left Biles, who won four gold medals at the 2016 Rio Games, with a potential four more medal events in Tokyo, but she pulled out of two of those on Saturday.

“After further consultation with medical staff, Simone Biles has decided to withdraw from the event finals for vault and the uneven bars,” the USAG statement said.

“She will continue to be evaluated daily to determine whether to compete in the finals for floor exercise and balance beam.”

Biles said on Friday she was struggling with the “twisties”, the mental block that has sidelined her in Tokyo.

The US federation said MyKayla Skinner would compete in the vault finals alongside Jade Carey.

“We remain in awe of Simone, who continues to handle this situation with courage and grace, and all of the athletes who have stepped up during these unexpected circumstances,” the statement said.

Biles posted video on Instagram on Friday of her landing on her back in training, on cushioned pads, and wrote that she was having problems “literally on every event, which sucks”.

She said previous bouts of ‘twisties’ had taken two or more weeks to pass, but there was “honestly no telling (the) time frame”.

Biles, who was bombarded with messages of support after her earlier pull-outs, also hit back at critics, saying: “For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit. My mind and body are simply not in sync as you can see here.”

Biles won a silver medal in the women’s team event because she started the final.

On Friday. IOC chief Thomas Bach said Biles had shown ‘Olympic spirit at its best’ on Friday by cheering on her fellow gymnasts despite being sidelined with mental problems in Tokyo.

Bach said Biles had shown great courage by admitting she was not mentally fit to compete, before turning up in the stands as teammate Sunisa Lee succeeded her as all-around champion.

“I can only say we are with her and we wish her well,” Bach told news agency journalists in Tokyo, adding that he spoke to Biles after she withdrew during the team competition on Tuesday. She later pulled out of the individual all-around.

“I’m really admiring how she’s handling the situation,” added the International Olympic Committee president.

“On the one hand she admits to have this problem. This is already courageous. Who one year ago would have admitted to say I have mental health problems?

“And at the same time, then cheering on their teammates and then being there and supporting when her successor is crowned in the all-around final.

“This is great human quality and this is Olympic spirit at its best.”

Agence France-Presse

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