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Simone Biles, Aly Raisman go 1-2 in gymnastics all-around

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Forget the pressure. Forget the hype. Simone Biles is immune to all of it.

Dynamic on vault. Effortless on beam. Jaw-dropping on floor. Brilliant all over. And now, finally, an Olympic champion.

The 19-year-old American soared to the all-around title on Thursday by putting the gap between herself and the rest of the world on full display under the Olympic spotlight. Her total of 62.198 was well clear of the scores of silver medalist and "Final Five'' teammate Aly Raisman and Russian bronze medalist Aliya Mustafina.

Biles became the fourth straight American woman and fifth overall to win the all-around title while cementing her reputation as the best of her generation and perhaps ever. She burst into tears when her final total was posted and her long journey to this moment ended.

The 2.1-point margin of victory is larger than the combined margin by which she won her three world all-around titles (2.075).

"I'm very excited and relieved. I've finally done it," Biles said. "You never know the feeling until it hits you. I kept reminding myself to do the routines I had practiced, which I did. When Aly started crying, I had to tell her to stop because I knew I'd start crying. I had to focus. It means the world to me.

"I was thinking, 'I've finally done it,' and when that hits you, you can't stop the emotions. I was very proud."

Biles has spent the past three years dominating her sport. She has won 15 world championship medals, including 10 gold, with routines so astonishing in their mix of ambition and precision that 1984 Olympic champion Mary Lou Retton called Biles "the greatest gymnast I've ever seen.''

"I'm not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I'm the first Simone Biles. To me, I'm just the same Simone. I just have two Olympic gold medals now. I feel like I did my job tonight."

Simone Biles

One last test awaited in Brazil, a contest not so much between Biles and the rest of the field as between Biles and the burden of oversized expectations. Heading back to her family's home in Spring, Texas, with anything less than a fistful of golds would have been a disappointment.

Biles earned her first gold Tuesday while serving as the exclamation point to retiring national team coordinator Martha Karolyi's going away party. Although Biles insisted she has never looked ahead during her long run at the top, that's not exactly true. A portion of her floor exercise routine -- the one that includes her signature tumbling pass -- is set to Latin music that would fit right in on the street outside the Rio Olympic Arena. It's not a coincidence.

Biles was adopted by her grandparents as a toddler, and she was discovered by coach Aimee Boorman's mother during a field trip to the gym where Boorman was coaching. Biles hasn't lost an all-around competition since the summer of 2013, and the win streak should go on as long as Biles wants.

Although Mustafina took a small lead through two rotations, it was a mirage. Balance beam and floor exercise -- where Biles is the defending world champion -- lay in wait. Biles went back in front with a 15.433 on beam and capped it with a 15.933 on floor.

"I'm not a celebrity. I'm just Simone Biles, but it's amazing to be recognized for all of this success for myself and for Team USA," she said. "I'm not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I'm the first Simone Biles. To me, I'm just the same Simone. I just have two Olympic gold medals now. I feel like I did my job tonight."

Raisman hugged Biles gently as they awaited the final score -- a mere formality -- and tears appeared around Biles' glittery red, white and blue eyeliner when the vision she once wrote in a scrapbook became a reality.

Raisman's performance was a bit of revenge from four years ago, when she tied for third but lost the bronze to Mustafina on a tiebreaker. This time, the 22-year-old team captain, whom the American gymnasts call "grandma,'' was well ahead.

She blew kisses to the crowd after her floor exercise, overcome by a comeback that at times seemed in doubt.

"It made me not think about things too much and made me more confident,'' Raisman said. "I knew going into tonight I was going to get the silver medal because I was going to hit four events.''

Biles and Raisman are just the second pair of American gymnasts to sweep the top two spots in the all-around. Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson did it in 2008.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.