Alexandra Raisman and the United States women stormed to the Olympic women’s gymnastics team gold on Tuesday. Jordyn Wieber sparkled and Gabby Douglas dazzled as the United States won by a massive 5-point margin.
Two days after an inconsolable Wieber fled the North Greenwich Arena in tears having missed out on a spot in the all-around final, her smile was back as she and her team mates gave the U.S. their first Olympic team title since 1996.
So strong were they on all four apparatus, that they won the title by a huge margin of 5.066 with a total of 183.596 points.
Russia’s quintet had been snapping at the Americans’ heels throughout the competition but were left sobbing after they imploded on their final apparatus, the floor.
Ksenia Afanaseva completed her floor routine on her head and knees, summing up their miserable finish as they ended with 178.530.
Romania, champions in 2004, rallied from a poor start to claim bronze but 2008 gold medallists China were empty-handed in fourth after a succession of errors.
Wieber had come to London as the favourite to win the Olympic all-around gold to go with the world title she took last October.
Though she finished fourth in all-around qualifying, she was behind compatriots Aly Raisman and Douglas and the rules dictate that no country can have more than two gymnasts in Thursday’s individual final.
The 17-year-old Wieber came back fighting on Tuesday, opening the day’s proceedings with a confident vault. The apparatus, which traditionally produces high scores, gave the Americans a head start on their rivals.
Vault specialist and world champion McKayla Maroney danced off the podium with delight into the waiting arms of her coach, knowing she had landed a superb jump and the team went into the second rotation 1.733 points ahead of China and never relinquished the lead.