Simone Biles stars as U.S. takes gymnastics gold
Russians take silver, Chinese settle for bronze
By Pritha Sarkar, Reuters
There were a few wobbles here and there, even for Simone Biles, but those imperfections could not stop the United States from blowing away the opposition to capture the Olympic women's team title with a record margin on Tuesday.
America's famous five of Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian proved that they are an untouchable force in gymnastics as they tumbled and soared to victory with a total of 184.897 points.
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In a sport where tenths of a point can mean the difference between a gold and no medal at all, their winning margin of 8.209 points was a blowout.
In fact there was only 4.601 separating silver medallists Russia from last-placed finalist Brazil. China trailed the Russians by just 0.685 of a point to finish with bronze.
They put in such a spectacular performance that three-times world all around champion Biles needed to overhaul a target of just 7.591 with her final floor performance to secure the first Olympic gold of her career.
It was little wonder that her team mates were already hugging and whooping for joy even before she had begun her hip-swinging routine to the beats of Samba music.
Her explosive and high-flying tumbling passes -- which included her trademark soaring double layout with half twist at the end -- had the Brazilian crowd roaring their approval and when she completed her final landing, it was not a case of if the U.S. were champions, but by how much.
A score of 15.800 confirmed the result and gave the U.S. their second successive team gold.
Before Tuesday, the previous biggest winning margin under the open ended scoring system, which was introduced in 2006, was at the 2014 world championships when the Americans beat China by 6.693 points
Japan (174.371), Great Britain (174.362), Germany (173.362), Netherlands (172.447) and Brazil (172.087) rounded out the eight-team final.
This is Biles' first Olympic Games, and she'll have the chance to go for four more gold in various individual exercises.