Jordyn Wieber of the U.S. waves as her team arrives for the women's gymnastics team final in the North Greenwich Arena at the London 2012 Olympic Games July 31, 2012. (Reuters Pictures)
LONDON (LAT) -- The United States women's gymnastics team built a big early lead on the vault and held it emphatically through three rousing performances on the floor exercise to win its first gymnastics women's team gold medal since 1996.
Alexandra Raisman was well into happy tears even before she finished the final exercise of the night, a bouncy routine set to "Hava Nagila" that was awarded a 15.300.
The Americans beat the silver medalists from Russia by over five points. Romania was third and the defending gold medalists from China were fourth.
The U.S. had a total of 183.596; Russia had 178.530 and Romania 176.414.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Alexandra Raisman of the United States stands with her teammates during introductions before the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Getty Images)
(AP) The Americans lived up to their considerable hype and then some Tuesday night, routing Russia and everybody else on their way to their first Olympic title since 1996. Their score of 183.596 was a whopping five points ahead of Russia, and they were so far ahead their last event, floor exercise, was more like a coronation.
With the Russians on the sidelines crying, the Americans stood at the center of the floor, clapping, cheering and basking in a golden glow. When the score for captain Aly Raisman flashed, the Americans screamed and a chant of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" rang out around the arena. The women held up their index fingers for the cameras -- just in case anyone had a doubt. [...]
Gabrielle Douglas (clockwise L-R) of the U.S. hugs team mates Kyla Ross, Alexandra Raisman, Jordyn Wieber and McKayla Maroney after performing on the vault during the women's gymnastics team final in the North Greenwich Arena at the London 2012 Olympic Games July 31, 2012. (Reuters Pictures)
U.S. gymnast Jordyn Wieber, second left, lifts up the hand of teammate Alexandra Raisman, as they celebrate along with McKayla Maroney and Kyla Ross after being declared winners of the gold medal during the Artistic Gymnastic women's team final at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 31, 2012, in London. (AP Photo)