Olympics: Simone Biles takes vault title, but spotlight is on two-gold winner Max Whitlock

(Left to right) Russia's Maria Paseka, US gymnast Simone Biles and Switzerland's Giulia Steingruber celebrate on the podium for the women's vault event.
(Left to right) Russia's Maria Paseka, US gymnast Simone Biles and Switzerland's Giulia Steingruber celebrate on the podium for the women's vault event.PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - United States gymnastics dynamo Simone Biles remained on course for a record haul of five women's titles in Rio on Sunday, but Britain's Max Whitlock outshone Japan's Kohei Uchimura with his double gold.

Biles became the first American woman to win the Olympic vault title and the first to win three golds at the same Games after her team and all-around successes.

The 19-year-old Texan can claim two more on the beam and floor, which would see her become the most titled woman in Olympic gymnastics history.

However, she had to share the limelight in the Rio Olympic Arena as Whitlock outshone Uchimura, who had been looking to add to his team and all-around gold, but finished fifth on the floor.

Whitlock's floor gold was a first for Britain in Olympic gymnastics, and he came back an hour later to add a second in the pommel horse.

"It's just an incredible feeling," said the 23-year-old, who had been favourite in the pommel horse as the reigning world champion. "I couldn't really take it in on floor. I had my job to do on pommel horse. I had to get back to the training gym and refocus."

"King Kohei" was clearly off form as he hopped off the mat early in his routine. A dejected Uchimura left his chair to watch as Whitlock stole the show, and was told to return to his place by an official.

Uchimura succeeded in his bid to win the team gold with Japan and also retained his all-around title. He leaves Rio on a low point but with his eyes focused on Tokyo 2020.

There were wild celebrations as Brazilian duo Diego Hypolito and Arthur Mariano won silver and bronze on the floor.

"For me this is a gold," said an emotional Hypolito, 30, a two-time world champion who fell in Beijing 2008 and London 2012. "Winning a medal today was the most important thing in my life."

Whitlock led a British 1-2 on pommel horse ahead of Louis Smith, with Alexander Naddour giving the US men their first Games medal with bronze. It was Whitlock's fifth Olympic medal and third in Rio after also winning bronze in the team event.

Propelled by her lightening fast run, Biles led the way on both her vaults including the difficult "Amanar", despite a slight hop back on the landing. She scored a combined 15.966 - 15.900 and 16.033 - to take gold ahead of world champion Maria Paseka of Russia (15.253).

"It's something I wanted so badly, so I just tried to keep a good mind going into vault," said Biles, who has three world medals but never gold on the apparatus. "It means a lot to me."

The only apparatus final that Biles has failed to qualify for was uneven bars where Russia's Aliya successfully reigning supreme defending her title ahead of American world champion Madison Kocian.

"Now I can say that uneven bars are my best apparatus," said Mustafina, after taking her seventh Olympic medal and second in gold.

It was the first gymnastics gold in Rio for Russia who were only cleared to compete the day before the Olympics got under way, amid the fallout of accusations of state-run doping against their country.