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1ST LEAD Gymnastics star Biles cruises to second Rio gold in one-two US finish By Alexandra Mayer-Hohdahl, dpa

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Gymnastics sensation Simone Biles clinched her second gold medal of the Rio Olympics on Thursday, delivering a one-two finish for the United States in the all-around competition ahead ofAlexandra Raisman.

The win makes the US the first country ever to claim four consecutive golds in the women‘s event, after also winning in 2004, 2008 and 2012. The Soviet Union still holds the record for most titles in the event with six gold medals.

Biles finished with a total of 62.198 points, followed by Raisman with 60.098 points. Russia‘s Aliya Mustafina took bronze with 58.665 points.

"I think that the USA team is currently very strong and practically we cannot reach up to this level," Mustafina said. "I like it because it is very important when there is a team in gymnastics that you have to follow, that you can learn from."

It is only the second time in Olympic history that a country manages a one-two finish in the women‘s individual all-around. Raisman said she remembers watching as a child when the US achieved it the first time, at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

"Now to be able to do it with Simone, it‘s very special," she added.

Biles, 19, is competing in her first Games, but has won a record 10 gold medals at world championships and is already being touted as the greatest female gymnast ever and a top star in Rio.

She dominated Thursday‘s competition from the start, by scoring 15.866 points on the vault with a so-called amanar - one of the most difficult routines.

She yielded the lead only briefly to Mustafina in the second round of the competition, after scoring 14.966 points on the uneven bars, considered her weak point. She took the highest score in all of the other events.

Usually stoic, Biles got teary-eyed at the end of the competition.

"I‘ve been dreaming of it for a couple of years now and it‘s unreal how it happened, so I was just so excited," she said afterwards.

"I knew Simone was going to win and I was just hoping that I would be able to get second," Raisman added. "It never gets old watching her, she‘s incredible."

Biles is still in the running for three more individual medals in Rio, in the vault, balance beam and floor exercise.

"She‘s incredible. She is just unbelievable, an extraordinary athlete and person. She‘s going to continue to do well at these Olympics," Canadian gymnast Elsabeth Black predicted.

Biles and Raisman received a standing ovation from spectators at the Rio Olympic Arena on Thursday evening, even though many had not come to support the US team.

Home favourite Jade Barbosa of Brazil had to bow out of the competition after hurting her foot during her floor routine. Compatriot Rebecca Andrade was cheered on by the roaring crowd, but only came in eleventh.

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