Olympic gymnastics at Tokyo 2020: When does Simone Biles compete and how many medals could she win?
Biles, the reigning world and all-around Olympic champion, has continuously stretched the limits of her sport with her explosiveness, power and creativity.
The 24-year-old American, who has won 30 Olympic and world championship medals, claimed four golds at the Rio 2016 Games in one of the most remarkable performances in Olympic history.
The world’s greatest gymnast, who also won a bronze in Rio, is aiming to become the first women to defend the all-around title since Vera Caslavska in 1968. Biles earned her place despite a series of uncharacteristic errors in the US trials: bank on her being back at her best in the Japanese capital. If all goes well, she could have the chance to win six gold medals.
When is Simone Biles competing?
Sunday, July 25
Women’s team qualification (x5 subdivisions): 10:00-20:20 (02:00-12:20 BST)
Tuesday, July 27
Women’s team final: 19:45-22:10 (11:45-14:10 BST)*
The Ariake Gymnastics Centre is situated right next to the Olympic Village and is one of the most easily accessible and commutable venues. Although a temporary venue, a sporting arena with a 12,000 seating capacity is scheduled for construction on the site after the Games.
Where can I watch it?
Eurosport are the main European rights holders for broadcasting the Olympics this year although the BBC will still be covering the big moments across their channels. For the Opening Ceremony, the action will be live on BBC One, BBC Red Button and online.
With Eurosport you will need a subscription. You can add it to your Sky, BT or Virgin contract or sign up to Eurosport Player for direct access.
Telegraph Sport will also be live blogging several gymnastics finals, so you can bookmark this page and come back to it when the action begins.
Who are Biles’ main rivals?
While a heavy medal favorite across the board, Biles will still be facing stiff competition, while the sport of gymnastics is such, that any mistake can easily be punished in the scores and slip down the leaderboard.
The American women are heavily favoured to win a third straight team gold. They won the last World Championships in 2019, finishing ahead of Russia and Italy, with China, likely to figure highly in Tokyo, in fourth.
Biles isn’t the only American who could come home with multiple medals. Sunisa Lee — the first Hmong-American to make an Olympic team — is a revelation on uneven bars. No female gymnast has a more difficult uneven-bars routine, but you wouldn’t know it from the way she swings through it. She also posted a higher all-around score at the trials than Biles, although the latter suffered a few mistakes.
All four gymnasts will be making their Olympic debuts, with 2019 European beam champion Alice Kinsella joined by the exciting twin-sister duo of Jennifer Gadirova and Jessica Gadirova, and 2021 European uneven bars bronze medallist Amelie Morgan. Jessica Gadirova made major championship debut earlier this year, becoming European floor champion after winning all-around bronze and vault silver in the days before.
As for the men, Max Whitlock leads the team, looking to defend the pommel title he won in Rio, although he will face competition from Ireland’s rising star Rhys McClenaghan.
Whitlock will be joined by current world parallel bars champion Joe Fraser, current British all-around champion James Hall and 2021 European medallist Giarnni Regini-Moran.
There are two trampoline gymnasts in the team, Bryony Page, winner of silver in Rio, and Laura Gallagher who finally makes her long-awaited Olympic bow.
How have Team GB done in the past?
In Rio, they finished with seven medals, two gold, two silver and three bronze, a record for the team. Max Whitlock won Britain’s first ever gold medals in gymnastics, in men’s floor and pommel horse, while the youngest member of the team, 16-year-old Amy Tinkler, took bronze on gloor and Bryony Page won trampoline silver.
It continued an upward trend at recent Games for British gymnasts although they still lag behind others, sitting 24th on the overall medal table, with 15 overall.