American women keep Olympic gold firmly in hand
RIO DE JANEIRO (BRA), AGU Office Aug 9, 2016: The American women captured their second consecutive Olympic team title in grand fashion Tuesday night at the Rio Olympic Arena. The reigning Olympic champions topped Russia by more than 8 points, nearly twice the gap that separated second from last place in the eight team final.
Just as they did in Sunday’s qualification round, Gabrielle Douglas, Alexandra Raisman, Simone Biles, Lauren Hernandez and Madison Kocian slayed the competition, hitting each of their routines with disarming assurance.
This is the third Olympic gold for Douglas and Raisman, both members of the “Fierce Five” team that won in 2012. Both added a second gold in London, Douglas in the All-around, Raisman on Floor.
First Olympic final, first Olympic gold for Biles
The three-time World champion joined the Olympic gold medallist club by clinching the title with her teammates Tuesday. But the smiling, energetic Simone Biles is capable of achieving even more: she posted the highest scores in the All-around as well as on Vault, Balance Beam and Floor Exercise in the qualification round, meaning that she could earn as many as four more gold medals before the competition concludes.
U.S. domination by the numbers
At the 2012 Olympics, the USA won gold by 5.066 points ahead of Russia
At the 2014 World Championships, the USA won gold by 6.194 points ahead of China
At the 2015 World Championships, the USA won gold by 5.174 pts ahead of China
At the 2016 Olympics, the USA won gold by 8.209 points ahead of Russia
Russia pockets a second silver
With the Americans so far ahead the rest of the field, the suspense of the final was played out in the fight for silver and bronze, which came down to the last event. With their strong finish on Vault, the Russians literally jumped to the second rung of the podium. Aliya Mustafina and Maria Paseka, both members of the team who took silver in London four years ago, earned their fifth and third Olympic medals, respectively. But for the Russian team, which also includes Angelina Melnikova, Seda Tutkhalian and Daria Spiridonova, this silver medal means a lot, just as it did for their male teammates, who also took silver in Monday’s Men’s Team final.
China in bronze
If winning bronze was bitter for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion Chinese men Monday, it tasted better to the Chinese women. Mao Yi, Tan Jiaxin, Wang Yan, Shang Chunsong and Fan Yilin were set to touch silver before a rough Floor rotation ended their hopes of beating Russia. But for a team that finished an unlucky fourth in London, any medal is a good medal.
Japan, in bronze medal position going into the final rotation, ultimately placed fourth, ahead of Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Brazil.