Recently crowned all-around champion Simone Biles scooped her third gold medal of Rio 2016 when she soared to victory in the women’s vault final, and Russia's Aliya Mustafina captured the women’s asymmetric bars title.
The American teenager beat world champion Maria Paseka of Russia with a score of 15.966 from her two vaults. Paseka claimed silver and Switzerland's Giulia Steingruber pipped India's Dipa Karmakar to the bronze by 0.15 of a point.
Grinning ear-to-ear and high-fiving her coach Aimee Boorman, the remarkable 19-year-old knew that her bid for a record five golds remains squarely on track. Paseka, the silver medallist, acknowledged that even if she had improved on her own performance, Biles current form makes her near unstoppable: “I could have done the second vault better. I want to be first of course, but I look at Simone and I understand at the moment she's untouchable.”
Unflappable Mustafina retains assymetric bars title
For the second consecutive Olympic Games, Russia's Aliya Mustafina captured the women’s asymmetric bars gold with a routine full of grace and power. Silver went to the USA’s Madison Kocian, while Germany's Sophie Scheder burst into tears after claiming a surprise bronze.
Until the point that Mustafina mounted the bars to start her routine, the USA were eyeing up a clean sweep of the women’s gymnastics golds, thanks to the irrepressible Biles.
This apparatus was the only one in which the 19-year-old was not competing, but her team-mate and reigning world champion Madison Kocian had every reason to think she could continue the gold rush after posting the highest score in qualifying, but in the end Mustafina's score of 15.900 was way too good, and the American had to settle for silver.
“I'm very happy to get the gold; now I can say that uneven bars are my best apparatus,” beamed Mustafina, adding that she was impervious to the pressure in the file. “I don't feel it that much, I try not to pay attention, I just go and do my routine.”
For Kocian meanwhile, adding a first individual medal to the team gold won during week one, was a special moment. “I'm proud that all the hard work I've put in has finally paid off,” she said. “I got the gold with the team the other day and that was very special.”