U.S. women win gymnastics gold

July 31, 2012 at 2:14 PM
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LONDON, July 31 (UPI) -- Gabrielle Douglas led a consistent effort from the entire squad Tuesday, helping the U.S. women win the Olympic gold medal in team gymnastics.

The Americans had last won the team gold at the 1996 Atlanta Games and was a championship threat in the three Olympics that followed.

This time the U.S. gymnasts became more than a threat, leading the qualifying and then, unlike their American male counterparts, coming through in a dominating way when it mattered most.

The U.S. men, after winning their qualifying on the first day of Olympic competition, stumbled to a fifth-place finish in their team event on Monday.

Each gymnast does four routines involving floor exercise, vault, beam and uneven bars. The three best scores on each apparatus from each team make up the final total and the Americans were in control from the start.

All four routines performed by Douglas were good enough to count for the Americans and all of them were in the top six among all the 40 gymnasts competing in the finals.

American gymnast Gabrielle Douglas competes in the floor exercise. UPI/Mike Theiler
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The United States had the best overall score in three of the four routines and third best in the other (uneven bars).

McKayla Maroney had only one score that was used by the Americans, but it was a staggering 16.233 on the vault that was the best anybody could do in the finals. The Americans also had three of the seven best performances on the beam.

Alexandra Raisman, Kyla Ross, Jordyn Wieber all had at least two routines count among the grand total produced by the United States, demonstrating the consistency produced by the U.S. team.

The Americans finished with 183.596 points to beat silver-medal winning Russia by five, which in the world of gymnastics is a huge margin. Romania finished third, followed by China, Canada, Britain, Italy and Japan.

Gold medalists Team USA, silver medalists Russia (L) and bronze medalists Romania. UPI/Pat Benic
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