The slate is wiped clean. The scores have reset. And Simone Biles and her U.S. teammates will do their best to forget their shaky performance in Sunday's qualification meet. All eyes forward. Tuesday's women's gymnastics team final at the Tokyo Olympics is a new opportunity.
The gymnasts looked nervous and performed tight in the competition, which probably has a lot to do with the meet-within-the-meet during qualification. While finishing in the top eight was the ultimate goal (and a total gimme), the women were also in a brutal fight against their teammates for a chance to compete for individual medals. That added stress showed, and errors were made.
"I feel we did a pretty good job. Obviously, there are little things we need to work on, so we'll go back and practice and work on that so we can do our best performance at team finals," Biles said after the meet. "Because that's what matters."
They performed well enough to qualify in second place behind the Russian Olympic Committee and take one of the eight spots in the team final. Yes, they finished more than a point behind the ROC, but if they clean up their mistakes -- steps out of bounds, form breaks on bars, falls and wobbles on beam -- they have the routines to make up that point and more.
Not to put this all on Biles, but she can erase that point deficit all by herself. At the 2019 world championships, she scored a 59.432 in qualifications and a 58.999 in finals. In Sunday's qualifiers, she scored a 57.731. And it's not just Biles -- teammates Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum are also three of the best all-around gymnasts in the world, with top-notch difficulty and competitive success to back it up.
There is no denying that the ROC and China are making the United States work for a win. Both countries looked even better than they did two years ago when they finished second and fourth, respectively, behind the United States at worlds. But the U.S. team at its best -- or even its near-best -- is still the gold-medal favorite.
If anything, ROC has elevated the expectations for a thrilling team final. There's a lot to be excited for on Tuesday. Here are four more storylines you'll want to see.
China's beam routines are not to be missed
Simply put, the Chinese women are the class of the competition in this event. Every other team seems really good -- until you watch China. Soaring split leaps. Incredible flexibility. Eye-popping difficulty on their acrobatic series. Every toe pointed at every moment.
The Chinese women perform with the unending flair of a team that seems born to compete on the event. It's impossible to pick a favorite gymnast from the team, so just watch them all.
Team ROC is amazing on uneven bars
There is reason to watch Team ROC beyond its chance at a historic upset over Team USA: its uneven bars performances. ROC had four of the top six scores in qualifiers. Uneven bars is to the ROC what beam is to China. (Though, in fairness, both teams can be superb on both events.)
Viktoria Listunova, 16, has perhaps the most mesmerizing combination, and it comes right at the beginning of her routine: an inside stalder to Shaposhnikova release into a Ricna release. (Translation: Watch the first two moves of her routine and know that "inside" makes what she is doing infinitely cooler.)
Listunova would have been too young for the Olympics had they been held in 2020. She will miss out on the all-around final because of the two-per-country rule (she finished sixth), but she earned a spot in the floor final with a captivating routine. Which brings us to ...
Great Britain's Gadirova sisters have two of the most entertaining floor routines you'll see in Tokyo
Twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova, 16, each have their own style and are equally fun to watch. They have the often-elusive combination of impressive tumbling and expressive choreography. In qualifications, Jessica edged her sister and qualified into the floor final.
Great Britain finished sixth in qualifying and is a long shot for a medal, but the Gadirovas, team leaders despite their age, will be two highlights of the competition.
On Sunday, Jennifer displayed a mental toughness few could match. She struggled on vault in touch warm-ups immediately before the competition, stopping on the runway twice and never completing a vault. But when it came time to compete, she managed a powerful Yurchenko double full. That successful vault helped secure her place, alongside her sister, in the all-around final.
And one more floor set, just because
Italian Vanessa Ferrari was the 2006(!) world all-around champion and is the top qualifier into floor finals. She bested even Biles, though -- full disclosure -- Biles made errors and is still the heavy favorite to win gold.
Italy won't challenge for the podium, but Ferrari's tumbling, especially her whip to immediate full-in second pass, is must-see. The fact that she's doing these skills at age 30 makes her awe-inspiring.