Simone Biles was involved in a tumultuous day for Team USA gymnastics.
Even the greatest gymnast of all time – the G-GOAT, as some refer to him – is not without flaws.
Simone Biles, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, registered a couple of stumbles and penalties during her initial performance Monday at Tokyo's Ariake Gymnastics Center, allowing the Russian Olympic Committee's team to take a one-point lead in the women's team competition heading into Tuesday's finals.
Biles, 24, is the reigning all-around champion and continues to lead the overall standings. However, she made uncharacteristic errors during the vault and floor exercise qualifying rotations, as the heavily favored United States squad failed to qualify with the highest cumulative score for the first time since 2010 at either the World Championships or the Summer Games.
“I believe we did a reasonably good job. Obviously, there are some minor details we need to work on, and we will return to practice and work on them in order to perform at our best in the team finals, because that is what matters,” Biles told reporters.
The ROC gymnasts, led by Angelina Melnikova, 21, accumulated a one-point advantage over the US gymnasts — 171.629 to 170.562 – with China ranking third at 166.863.
Biles landed outside the floor boundaries during one of her tumbling passes and also stepped outside the lines on her first vault. She remains first in the all-around standings, followed by fellow American Sunisa Lee and Melnikova.
Jordan Chiles, another member of the American team, made an error on the uneven bars and fell off the balance beam. Grace McCallum stepped out of bounds during her floor routine, and Lee's team competition score was reduced by two points (vault/floor).
“This was not the championship. This was about qualifying for the finals,” Tom Forster, the United States' high-performance director, told reporters. “So this may be a great awakening for us, and we will seize it.”
Following a doping scandal, Russian athletes are officially not representing their country at the Summer Games, with the use of the country's name, flag, and anthem prohibited.