The Americans were denied a gold medal Monday for the first time since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and it took two big stumbles to keep the “Star Spangled Banner” on pause. One of the slips cost U.S. gymnastics star Simone Biles gold on the balance beam. The other secured Shaunae Miller’s win in the women’s 400 meters over Allyson Felix, the U.S. star who missed out on her fifth Olympic gold medal.
Miller, of the Bahamas, crossed .07 seconds ahead of Felix thanks to a head-first dive that came after a downpour forced a delay in the evening events and sent spectators scurrying for shelter at Olympic Stadium.
Biles lost her status as Rio de Janeiro’s juggernaut after a blunder on the balance beam prevented her from a record-tying fourth gold in gymnastics at these games.
The American’s shutout came on a day the Rio Games were dogged by rain, wind and fire.
In the morning, there was too little wind, then too much, at the sailing regatta on Guanabara Bay, where men’s and women’s medal races were postponed until Tuesday. In the afternoon, smoke and ash from a wind-whipped wildfire billowed over the field hockey stadium in Deodoro.
Boxing may have to weather another storm of its own after a surprising decision in the men’s heavyweight gold medal fight, where boos cascaded down from the crowd when Evgeny Tischenko, of Russia, was announced as the unanimous winner over Vassiliy Levit, of Kazakhstan, who looked like the winner.
Biles’ blunder allowed Sanne Wevers of the Netherlands to take the gold medal and Laurie Hernandez of the U.S. to slip past Biles for the silver. It also ended Biles’ bid to become the first female gymnast to win five golds in a single Olympics.
Already a three-time gold medalist (all-around, team and vault) when she walked onto the floor on Monday, Biles was a favorite on beam as the reigning world champion.
She topped qualifying last week and had just completed the most difficult part of her routine a tumbling pass that stretches the length of the 4-inch wide slab of wood when she missed the landing following her punch front flip.
A fresh round of troubles tormented South America’s first Olympics on Monday:
The German Olympic team said canoe slalom coach Stefan Henze died from injuries sustained in a car crash last week.
The Egyptian judo athlete who refused to shake his Israeli opponent’s hand after losing a first-round heavyweight fight was sent home.
The Olympic Broadcasting Service said seven bystanders sustained minor injuries when a television camera it operates plummeted about 30 feet in the Olympic park.
South Korean cyclist Park Sang-hoon was taken from the velodrome on a stretcher with his neck immobilized after a crash multi-discipline omnium competition .
And Usain Bolt, the co-star of these games along with Michael Phelps, said that a tight schedule slowed down the sprinters in the 100 meters Sunday. Bolt blamed the hour turnaround from the semifinals to the finals for his lumbering start before he recovered to win his third consecutive gold medal and retain the title as the world’s fastest man.
“I don’t know who decided that,” Bolt said. “It was really stupid. So, that’s why the race was slow.”
Other highlights from Day 10:
LONE RUSSIAN : The lone Russian track and field athlete at the Olympics has won her appeal to compete in Rio. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled early Monday that Darya Klishina is eligible to take part in Tuesday’s long jump qualifying because she has been based outside of Russia for the last three years and has been subjected to regular drug testing.
GRECO-GREATS : Cuban heavyweight Mijain Lopez again bested Turkish rival Riza Kayaalp, putting him in the company of wrestling great Alexander Karelin. Lopez beat Kayaalp 6-0 to capture his third Greco-Roman gold medal. Lopez joins Karelin and Carl Westergren of Sweden as the only wrestlers with three Olympic titles in the classic discipline.
GOLF AGAIN : Brazilian native Miriam Nagl has been chosen to hit the opening tee shot Wednesday for women’s golf, at the Olympics for the first time since 1900 in France. On Sunday, Justin Rose won the first golfing gold medal since 1904 in St. Louis when he beat Henrik Stenson by two strokes on the Olympic course.