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Team USA gymnast Sunisa Lee wins gold in women's all-around

The 18-year-old gymnast rose to the occasion to keep the Olympic all-around gold medal with Team USA after defending champ Simone Biles did not participate.
/ Source: TODAY

Sunisa Lee took full advantage of her time to shine.

The 18-year-old U.S. gymnast turned in a goosebump-inducing performance to take home the gold in Tokyo in the women's all-around competition on Thursday, making sure the gold would stay with Team USA after defending champion Simone Biles opted not to participate.

Lee finished with a final score of 57.433 to top Brazil's Rebeca Andrade (57.298), with the Russian Olympic Committee's Angelina Melnikova taking third.

Gymnastics - Artistic - Olympics: Day 6
Lee reacts after winning the gold medal in the women's all around final, hugging coach Jeff Graba. Jamie Squire / Getty Images

"I always knew she had the potential," Olympic gold medalist Dominique Moceanu said on TODAY after Lee's victory. "Suni Lee is amazing. She has come to the Olympics and done her job. I'm so, so excited that everyone got to see what she's made of and she's capable of."

Lee entered the final event, the floor exercise, with a slight lead over Andrade, 43.733 to 43.632, with Urazova in third at 43.566. Lee rose to the occasion with a 13.700 in her floor routine, once again exceeding her qualifying score with the gold medal on the line.

Andrade needed a 13.802 to overtake Lee in the floor exercise and finished with a 13.666. Lee was left fighting back tears when she realized she had stamped herself as the best all-around gymnast in the world.

Lee's teammate Jade Carey, 21, finished in eighth place. Carey subbed in for Biles after the 24-year-old star announced her withdrawal from the event earlier this week.

The U.S. gymnastics team has now produced the last five Olympic all-around champions — Lee, Biles (2016), Gabby Douglas (2012), Nastia Liukin (2008), and Carly Patterson (2004).

The teen from Minnesota built momentum right from the start by scoring a 14.600 on the vault to begin the all-around competition, which was three-tenths higher than her score on the vault during the qualifying round.

She followed that with a 15.300 on the uneven bars, high-fiving her teammates after again scoring higher than her score during qualifications.

Lee then had some struggles on the balance beam but fought through it for a score of 13.833 to take the lead going into the final rotation of the floor exercise.

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