LONDON -- The United States women’s gymnastics team built a big early lead on the vault and held it emphatically through three rousing performances on the floor exercise to win its first gymnastics women’s team gold medal since 1996.
Alexandra Raisman was well into happy tears even before she finished the final exercise of the night, a bouncy routine set to “Hava Nagila” that was awarded a 15.300.
The Americans beat the silver medalists from Russia by over five points. Romania was third and the defending gold medalists from China were fourth.
The U.S. had a total of 183.596; Russia had 178.530 and Romania 176.414.
The Russians took a lot of pressure off the U.S. by going up first on the final rotation, also their floor exercise.
The second Russian up, Anastasia Grishina, nearly fell out of her first tumbling pass, landed another one on her shoulder and couldn’t build on the momentum Aliya Mustafina had given her team with a solid score of 15.100 to begin the floor exercise. She scored only a 12.466.
Grishina’s mistake meant she earned deductions for not connecting moves, and the Russian team, almost in unison, dropped their heads before Grishina walked off the floor.
To make it even easier for the U.S., Ksenia Afanasyeva, the final Russian competitor, landed her final tumbling pass almost on her face. Afanasyeva, the defending world floor exercise champion, was given a score of 14.333. The Russians had posted a final score of 178.530.
Gabrielle Douglas kicked-started the U.S. with a sassy and solid opening routine and Jordyn Wieber finished hers without major mistakes and with a huge smile before Raisman rocked the crowd.