LONDON — The United States has won the women’s team gymnastics gold medal at the London Olympics.
In a sport often decided by a fraction of a point, the U.S. women clearly were dominant in this Olympic final, scoring 183.596 points and winning by a little more than five points over silver medalist Russia (178.530).
Romania took the bronze medal, more than two points behind Russia (176.414). China, which won the gold medal in Beijing four years ago, placed fourth (174.430).
The only other time the American women have won this gold medal was at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Here in London, they placed first on the vault, balance beam and floor exercise, and took third on the uneven bars to score the convincing victory.
Martha Karolyi, national coordinator of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, says she hopes winning the gold will pave the way for future success.
“Everybody needs to know that this is the result of very hard work through many, many years. And if we want to stay competitive, we have to continue with the same level [of hard work]. Don’t assume now that because we’re Olympic champions, we can relax," she said.
In the eight-nation women’s team gymnastics final, only three of the five members of each team competed on each of the four apparatuses. Coaches selected the most proficient athletes for each exercise.
Reigning world all-around champion Jordyn Wieber said she and her fellow Americans truly performed as a team. “It feels amazing just to know that, you know, it’s not just one of us, it’s the five of us. We really all worked so hard to get to this point. And we did so much for this team, and I think we’re all really happy to end up with this gold medal," she said.
Wieber shed many tears when she failed two days earlier to reach the women’s all-around final, for which she would have been a favorite. She says she knew she had to compose herself to contribute to the team victory.
“Just forgetting about it was the most important thing. It was a pretty quick turnaround, so I just had to, you know, kind of clear my mind and just focus on the team and still bond with the team and hang out with them, and that really helped me a lot," she said.
Kyla Ross, at age 15, the youngest member of the U.S. team, summed up their feelings after winning the gold medal. “It’s definitely really amazing to have this medal around our neck. And to say we’re Olympic champions is definitely something special and something we’ve worked our whole lives for, so it’s definitely a dream come true," she said.
It will be Ali Raisman and Gabby Douglas who will represent the United States in the women’s individual all-around final on Thursday. Three days of individual apparatus finals for men and women begin on Sunday. McKayla Maroney, the fifth member of the U.S. team, who had a spectacular vault in the team event, is in the women’s vault final on Sunday.