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Through the years: U.S. Olympian gymnasts who’ve won the women’s all-around, in photos

Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin of the United States pose together with their medals from the Women's All-Around Gymnastics event at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. (Kristian Dowling, Getty Images)

For anyone who’s waiting until the Games air in primetime Thursday night: Caution ahead! This article contains spoilers.

But if you’re following the Tokyo Summer Olympics on our app, ESPN or most other social media sources, you likely already realize that we have a new women’s all-around champ -- and her photo is at the bottom of this article.

With the news earlier this week that Simone Biles had pulled herself from the gymnastics competition over mental health concerns, that left a new vacancy atop the U.S. women’s squad: Could the Americans defend their crown? A U.S. gymnast has won the all-around competition every Olympics since 2004.

So, who are those women?

We thought we’d take a look. Here are the American gold medalists of years past:


1984, Los Angeles: Mary Lou Retton

American Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton holds up her gold medal at a press conference during the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. (Getty Images)

2004, Athens: Carly Patterson

Carly Patterson of the United States wins gold in the Women's Individual All-Around in the Olympic Indoor Hall at the Athens Olympic Games in Greece, Aug. 19, 2004. (Getty Images)

2008, Beijing: Nastia Liukin

Nastia Liukin of the United States poses with her gold medal after winning the Women's All-Around Gymnastics event in the NBC Today Show Studio at the Beijing Olympic Games on Aug. 15, 2008 in China. (Getty Images)

2012, London: Gabby Douglas

Gabrielle Douglas of the United States competes in the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in England. (Getty Images)

2016, Rio de Janeiro: Simone Biles

Gold medalist Simone Biles of the United States poses for photographs after the medal ceremony for the Women's Individual All-Around at the 2016 Rio Olympics at Rio Olympic Arena on Aug. 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Getty Images)

2020ne, Tokyo: Sunisa Lee

Sunisa Lee of Team United States reacts after competing on uneven bars during the Women's All-Around Final on day six of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 29, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Getty Images)

Incredible job by Suni!

Lee became the fifth straight American woman to claim the Olympic title on Thursday, edging Rebeca Andrade of Brazil in an entertaining and hotly contested final while defending champion Biles watched from the stands.

Lee’s total of 57.433 points was just enough to top Andrade, who earned the first gymnastics all-around medal by a Latin American athlete but missed out on gold when she stepped out of bounds twice during her floor routine. Russian gymnast Angelina Melnikova earned bronze two days after leading ROC to gold in the team final.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


About the Author:

Michelle is the Managing Editor of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which writes for all of the company's news websites.