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China Soars To Dominance in Diving, Biles Takes Home Fourth Gold

  • RFE/RL

American gymnast Simone Biles took home a fourth gold medal from the Rio Olympics with a win in the women's floor competition.

American gymnast Simone Biles took home a fourth gold medal from the Rio Olympics with a win in the women's floor competition.

China extended its dominance in diving and American gymnastics star Simone Biles racked up another gold medal on the 11th day of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Ending her spectacular appearance at the games, Biles took a fourth gold after her trademark display of acrobatics in a floor routine that scored a near-perfect 15.966 points.

Biles' team-mate Ali Raisman took the silver with a 15.5 score, and Britain's Amy Tinkler won bronze with a 14.933 routine.

"I just wanted to end on a good note," said Biles, who many were betting would rack up a record five gymnastics gold medals, but a stumble in her balance beam routine on August 15 forced her to into a third place showing there.

"I'm walking away from my first Olympics with five medals and four in gold, how can I be disappointed?" she said.

For China, the games proved once again that it's the nation to beat in any form of diving. China took its fifth diving gold medal when Cao Yuan won the men's 3-meter springboard event with a 547.60 score.

China has dominated the table tennis games as well as diving, Beijing's women's team won a 26th gold medal for China by crushing Germany 3-0 in the final game.

But while China has excelled at certain sports, it put in a dismal showing in gymnastics at the Rio games, despite having taken top titles in that sport as well in previous Olympics.

China left Rio without any gymnastics gold medals in its worst showing since it returned to the Olympic games in 1984. It uncharacteristically secured only two gymnastics medals -- bronze for both its men's and women's teams.

China has also faltered at badminton, leaving it ranked alternately in second and third place among all countries in total medals -- an unfamiliar place to Beijing when it is lagging behind both Britain and the United States.

China's gold-medal count at the halfway mark in Rio stood at 13, far less than the 25 golds obtained by the same point in the 2012 London Olympics. By August 16, the team had accumulated 51 medals in all.

"Since China's gold opportunities are concentrated in the first half, it will be hard for China to win more than 25 golds at this year's Olympics, the lowest of the last five Olympics," the China News Service said.

The race for second place with Britain is a close one, however, which by the end of August 16 was lagging China once again by one medal. Far outdistancing both nations is the United States, which had racked up 84 medals by late August 16, including 28 gold.

Helping the United States, China, and Britain was the absence of more than 100 potential Olympic medalists from Russia who were barred from attending the games because of doping bans.

Russia may still win a medal in track and field, however, despite a blanket ban imposed on all but one Russian team member.

Russia's Darya Klishina advanced into the Olympic long jump final on August 16, keeping alive her country's slim hopes of a medal.

The 11th day of the games, unlike the 10th, was not marred greatly by controversy, weather or other problems.

One major fracas broke out, however, when a dispute between the Iranian and Georgian finalists in a men's weightlifting competition forced Olympic organizers to call in security forces.

Iranian super heavyweight and favorite Behdad Salimikordasiabi, who crashed out of the competition and lost his gold medal hopes, accused the judges of a "conspiracy" to back the Georgian gold medal winner, Lasha Talakhadze.

The Iran team faces possible sanctions for their behavior.

"It was getting ugly and we asked the competition manager to call security because of the behavior by the Iranian officials," said Sam Coffa, chairman of the International Weightlifting Federation's technical committee. "It was an unfortunate end to the Games."

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa