TOKYO, Japan — The sport's brightest star won't be partaking, but the women's gymnastics individual all-around final will commence on Thursday morning with the Americans still well-positioned to make a big impact.
Simone Biles has become the inspiring story of the Tokyo Olympics for her decision to withdraw from the team final, and now the all-around individual final, centering her mental health and bringing the subject to the forefront.
It remains to be seen if she will still decide to compete in the apparatus finals next week, but at least for Thursday she's expected to be on hand to lend her support to teammates Sunisa Lee and Jade Carey, the gymnast replacing her in the all-around final.
Lee, 18, will head into the event Thursday morning as a medal favorite after she recorded the third-highest all-around score in the qualifying rounds last weekend - second-highest without accounting for Biles.
UPDATE: Suni Lee's total score of 57.433 is good enough for gold after top contender Rebeca Andrade of Brazil finished her floor routine.
Lee's score was boosted by a phenomenal showing on the uneven bars and strong performances on the balance beam and vault - if she can nail her floor routine, she could be right there in the running for a gold medal with Brazilian star Rebeca Andrade, who was second behind Biles in the overall scores for qualifying.
Carey, meanwhile, had the ninth-highest all-around score, producing one of the top scores in the vault.