The U.S. women ran their world championships winning streak to three with a 12-for-12 performance on Tuesday in Glasgow.
The U.S. women ran their world championships winning streak to three with a 12-for-12 performance in Glasgow. The Americans improved upon their 2104 winning total of 179.280 with a 181.338, while China, which qualified in fourth place, defended its 2014 silver medal with 176.164.
But the Glasgow crowd went crazy when the British women grabbed the bronze (172.164), its first world team medal, when second-seed Russia suffered too many falls and dropped to fourth (171.964).
Completing the eight-team field in order were Japan (169.887), Canada (167.697), Italy (167.597) and Netherlands (162.730).
The U.S. began on vault with Gabrielle Douglas (Yurchenko-double twist), Maggie Nichols (Amanara) and Simone Biles (Amanar), and their 46.665 was the top event total all night. The only event the Americans did not win was uneven bars, where it placed second to China. And while she did not get the opportunity to qualify for the all-around in qualifications, Nichols was the only American to work all four events in the team final. Her 59.232 would have easily beaten the second-place 57.640 of Giulia Steingruber (Switzerland) in qualifications.
Douglas led the U.S. on bars with a 15.333, while specialist Madison Kocian posted a 15.300 and Nichols earned a 14.80.
At beam, Nichols opened with a cautious but steady set for 13.966, and Aly Raisman and Biles added impressive performances for 14.266 and 15.200, respectively. Biles, in particular, looked aggressive throughout her new routine, which includes a tucked barani.
Floor was more of a celebration the competition for the U.S., and all three gymnasts, Nichols, Raisman and Biles, exceeded 15.00. Nichols stuck her opening tucked double-double and full-in, and tumbled a clean piked full-in for her third pass. Raisman hit all of her passes well, and Biles provided a fitting close the competition with her full-twisting double layout, double layout-half, double-double and full-in.
"We went out there and had fun with it," Biles said. "It comes from all the practices we've done. We're so prepared for this."
China began on bars, where Fan Yilin, Tan Jiaxin and Shang Chunsong scored 15.266, 15.133 and 15.233, respectively. All three gymnasts were clean and showed plenty of difficulty and style. At beam, however, Wang Yan was looking strong until she dropped off on one of her easiest skills, a front salto. Fan and Shang hit well to save the event total as they moved to floor exercise. Wang made up for her beam error with her team's top floor score of 14.633, which included a tucked double-double mount and a 1.5 twist through to triple twist, punch front. Shang tumbled a 3.5 twist, punch front, and tumbled the same second pass that Wang performed.
Russian veteran Viktoria Komova would probably like a do-over for this team final. The elegant gymnast who has been sidelined with injury for much or her career, was not as sharp as she would have liked. She came up short on a full pirouette on bars and jumped off, and she fell off beam on a standing Arabian. That was after Maria Kharenkova had fallen on a full turn with one leg at horizontal.
The Brits got their mistake over with early, when Elissa Downie missed a Tkatchev on bars in rotation one. But Ruby Harrold (excellent Maloney-half to jam, shoot to low bar handstand) and Elissa's sister, Becky Downie, hit well. Elissa made up for her bars mistake with the top beam score for her team, a 14.133 that included a high standing Arabian front. Claudia Fragapane and Becky Downie both scored 13.800, which added up to the third-best beam total.
Great Britain was on a roll on floor, with Amy Tinkler's 14.433 and Fragapane's amazing tumbling (layout full-in, Arabian double front, triple twist, double layout), which earned a 14.733.
With China and the British finishing on vault, Russia, on floor, still had a chance of finishing on the podium. But solid double-twisting Yurchenkos from Fragapane, Tinkler and Elissa Downie, which averaged around 1500, was too much for Russia's 42.191 on floor, where Ksenia Afanasyeva led her team with 14.500.
"I think we could have [won a medal] if we hadn't made so many mistakes," Afanasyeva said. "However, not first place. Unfortunately, we can't compete with the USA at this stage."
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