Simone Biles gets gymnastics gold; golf returns to Olympics
Published 8:53 pm Thursday, August 11, 2016
RIO DE JANEIRO — Sauntering to the sounds of Latin music befitting the beaches and boulevards of Rio de Janeiro, Simone Biles soared to the women’s all-around gymnastics title Thursday night.
Putting the gulf between herself and the rest of the world on full display , the 19-year-old Biles became the fourth straight American woman to win the Olympic all-around title and fifth overall while cementing her reputation as the best of her generation and perhaps ever.
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Biles has spent the last three years dominating her sport, winning 15 world championships.
Her powerful performance came on a day the Rio Games turned aside the disconcerting lime-like waters at the aquatics center and toward the emerald green fairways as golf returned to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years.
Adilson da Silva of Brazil hit the first Olympic golf shot since 1904 with the opening tee shot. Justin Rose made what is believed to be the first hole-in-one.
The Fiji rugby sevens squad secured the country’s first Olympic medal, a gold one at that, routing Britain 43-7.
Rugby is back in the Olympics for the first time since 1924.
Golf is back after an even longer absence.
Da Silva smiled and removed his cap to wave to the sparse crowd that included more golf officials than fans after his tee shot. Growing up in golf-starved Brazil with little equipment, Da Silva used to make golf clubs out of tree branches as a child.
On a day of firsts for Olympic golf, Marcus Fraser of Australia had the one that mattered — the first-round lead. Fraser shot an 8-under 63 that stood for a three-shot lead over Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Graham DeLaet of Canada.
The only one of four Americans in the 60-man field to break par was Matt Kuchar (69). Rickie Fowler started with a double bogey and shot 75, beating only two players. Patrick Reed shot 72 and Bubba Watson had a 73.
The world’s top four players — Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy — skipped the Rio Game s because of Zika fears and safety concerns.
Pervasive violence is an everyday part of Rio, and a police officer was hospitalized after getting shot in the head when he and two others got lost near a slum. The Justice Ministry said the officer was recovering after four hours of surgery.
The incident was the bloodiest of several at the start of South America’s first Olympic Games. Muggings have been reported among Olympic athletes, officials and journalists.
A total of 21 gold medals were up for grabs in 11 sports Thursday.
Other highlights from Day 6 of the Rio Games:
The course where Olympic golf made its return features all the normal pratfalls like bunkers and sloping greens. There are also native animals such as capybaras, caimans and corujas. The capybara is the world’s largest rodent, albeit an herbivore. The caiman, a small crocodile, and the corjuas are burrowing owls, some of whom have taken up residence in the course’s bunkers.
Venus Williams’ Rio Olympics is still going — just barely. Upset in the first round in singles and doubles while battling a virus, the four-time gold medalist was a late entrant into mixed doubles. She and teammate Rajeev Ram faced two match points Thursday and saved both in rallying from a set down for a 6-7 (4), 7-6 (3), 10-8 tiebreak win over Kiki Bertens and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands.