Israel's Linoy Ashram upsets Dina Averina for gold in rhythmic gymnastics

Israeli rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram upset the favorites in a dramatic all-around final.
Israeli rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram upset the favorites in a dramatic all-around final.

Israel's Linoy Ashram pulled off a stunning upset in a dramatic individual all-around rhythmic gymnastics final, winning her nation's second gymnastics gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics and first ever in rhythmic gymnastics.

Ashram scored 107.800 overall, besting three-time world all-around champion and heavy gold medal favorite Dina Averina (ROC), as well as her identical twin sister Arina, a two-time individual world champion. Dina scored 107.650 and Arina 103.100, finishing fourth. 

The 22-year-old Ashram, the 2018 world all-around silver medalist, scored a 27.550 with the hoop, 28.300 with the ball, 28.650 with the clubs and 23.300 with the ribbon — despite dropping the apparatus.

Dina Averina scored a 27.200 with the hoop, 28.300 with the ball, 28.150 with the clubs and 24.00 with the ribbon. 

Bronze medalist Alina Harnasko, who represents Belarus, scored 26.500, 27.500, 27.600 and 21.100. 

During her ribbon routine, Arina Averina needed a big score, but had to swap out her original ribbon with a replacement after the first appeared to be knotted, and made multiple other errors. The deductions stacked up and she earned a 19.550, the lowest score of any performance in the final, eventually putting her out of medal contention. Her first three scores were 26.850, 27.900 and 27.800. 

Dina Averina has 13 world titles in all, as well as 12 European Championships titles. Arina Averina was the all-around silver medalist at Worlds in 2017 and 2019. The twins, 22, were making their Olympic debuts. 

Notably, at the 2016 Olympics, the reigning three-time world champion Yana Kudryavtseva was also upset, but by her own teammate Margarita Mamun. Russian athletes had won the individual and group all-around titles at the last five straight Olympics before today. 

Earlier in the Tokyo Games, artistic gymnast Artur Dolgoypat won Israel's first-ever gymnastics medal — a gold — in the men's floor exercise event final. Israel's Nicol Zelikman also advanced to the rhythmic final, finishing seventh.

Americans Evita Griskenas and Laura Zeng did not advance to the final, finishing 12 and 13th, respectively, in qualifications.