Posted on: July 28, 2021, 12:07h.
Last updated on: July 28, 2021, 12:07h.
The 2020 Olympics gymnastics individual competition has been thrown into a state of chaos following the shocking withdrawal of American Simone Biles.
Biles abandoned the team competition yesterday following an uncharacteristically poor vault. The 24-year-old cited mental health reasons for her exit.
Regarded as perhaps the best female gymnast in sport history, Biles won four gold medals at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics. She arrived in Tokyo as the face of the games, at least for the US, and was heavily favored to lead Team USA to the all-round title. Her departure yesterday resulted in the US squad finishing second behind Russia.
Biles was also the betting favorite for four final individual events, including the women’s individual all-around. But she won’t compete in any of those events, either.
We’ve had some conversations, and she seems like she’s doing what’s best for her,” teammate Sam Mikulak told reporters. “It’s awesome to see that she’s gotten to go against the pressure of society and do what’s best for herself.”
With Biles out, oddsmakers are scrambling to readjust their Olympics gymnastics odds.
Simone Biles was the betting favorite for each of the four individual event finals she qualified — vault, balance beam, floor exercise, and all-around.
Biles easily won the all-around in 2016. Her total score of 62.366 was nearly two full points better than the silver medalist, Biles’ teammate Aly Raisman.
Sportsbooks now have Russian twins Dina and Arina Averina atop the odds. DraftKings has Dina is at -450, and Arina longer at +200. The odds imply a respective chance of winning gold at 81.8 percent and 33.3 percent.
Before her withdrawal, Biles was the favorite for the individual all-around at -350. To win $100 on those odds, a bettor would have needed to risk $350.
Team USA’s best hope for the female all-around gold is now 21-year-old Laura Zeng. Appearing in her second Summer Olympics, DraftKings has Zeng at +4000 to win gold. However, the odds of her winning her first Olympic gymnastics medal of any metal are shorter at +1000.
With two strong chances at gold, the Russian team is favored to win the all-around individual gold at -1200. USA is a distant +6000. Each country can have two gymnasts compete in the individual all-around.
Ratings Spike, Dip
NBC’s broadcast ratings for the 2020 Summer Olympics have been poor so far. The first night of competition attracted 15.9 million American viewers, down 32 percent from the first night of the Games in 2016. The audience increased to 20 million viewers on Sunday, but that is still down 36 percent from five years ago.
Biles has been both praised and scolded on social media, as is the norm for outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. But her shocking exit likely lured in viewers Tuesday night for the replay of the events, which occurred live much earlier in the day in Tokyo.
A Biles-less gymnastics individual all-around final could further hurt television ratings. A poll conducted in March by Morning Consult found that gymnastics was the sport most Americans were looking forward to during this Summer Olympics.
Seventy percent of respondents said they were “somewhat interested” or “very interested” in watching the gymnastics events play out.