Swimmers go for more gold on Friday

Ross Houston
August 14, 2016

Rick Raisman and Lynn Faber, parents of Olympic medalist Aly Raisman, became viral superstars thanks to their nervous reactions to their daughter's gymnastics routines.

Manuel said that her victory was extra special in the context of ongoing race issues in the U.S.

While Biles became the first woman in 20 years to win back-to-back world and Olympic all around titles, Comaneci also felt the gap between the American and the rest of the world needs to narrow as otherwise boredom could drive her away from the sport. Despite the odds - going head to head with the best gymnasts on the world - she exceeded them all. So, I just stay out of it. Those really stand out for me. "I'll just pray normally to myself, but I have it there in case", the 19-year-old told the magazine in a July 8 interview.

This was not a cliff-hanger, Biles having established her dominance long ago. Gymnastics teams are collections of individuals rather than cohesive units as in other sports, but there's no denying the influence Raisman has had.

But any thoughts of the Russian recording a shock victory were quickly extinguished as Biles produced a fine beam effort to take her clear of her opponents. It was a performance that exceeded expectations when expectation might have never been higher for a gymnast. Which she nearly never does and rarely is. Her total of 62.198 was well clear of Raisman, who finished her remarkable comeback with a silver medal, and Russia's Aliya Mustafina.

Biles was an incredibly gracious victor, telling ESPN: 'I think I was more proud of Aly [Raisman] getting silver than me gold. "That's just her personality". She is the three-time world all-around champion, 2013-15; three-time world floor champion, 2013-15; two-time world balance beam champion, 2014, 2015; and four-time USA national all-around champion (2013-16). She's trained putting another twist on that one too. "It is for some of the African-Americans who have come before me", she added, referencing former Olympians Maritza Correia and Cullen Jones.

Downie started in sixth place at the vault but fell back after a weaker score on the uneven bars. "I'm super glad with the fact that I can be an inspiration to others and hopefully diversify the sport", she said. "Floor is the event where she undeniably marks her superiority".

In just over a week Biles and Manuel will be headed home, both hailed as trailblazers and more famous than they could ever have imagined. But she enjoyed it so much, she immersed herself fully into her passion by age 9. I'm sure most people don't go into it thinking they can beat Usain Bolt, so it's kind of the same thing.

It has not quite sunk in yet, Biles said.

But if Rio is indeed her one Olympic shot, she is squeezing every last iota of spectacular out of it. "It doesn't even feel real". She arrived in Brazil with 14 world championship medals - 10 of them gold - with routines astonishing in their mix of ambition and precision.

With more likely to come. To be considered the greatest, you have to have the greatest title. There's a good chance Biles can keep getting better. Not now, not ever.

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