US Women's Gymnastics Dominates for Gold Medal
Team USA was more than 8 points ahead of 2nd-place Russia
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 9, 2016 4:44 PM CDT
US gymnasts, left to right, Gabrielle Douglas, Lauren Hernandez, Aly Raisman, and Simone Biles celebrate at the end of the artistic gymnastics women's team final at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de...   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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(Newser) – The US women's gymnastics team won gold and gave retiring national team coordinator Martha Karolyi a fitting sendoff in the Olympic finals Tuesday, putting on a two-hour display of precision and class, the AP reports. Their score of 184.897 was more than eight points points clear of silver medalist Russia, a blowout that Michael Jordan's "Dream Team" should envy. The Americans' second straight Olympic team triumph—and third overall—was never in doubt. From the second Laurie Hernandez drilled her opening vault to Simone Biles' boundary-pushing floor exercise to end it, the US put on an exhibition that showed how far the divide between themselves and everyone else has become.

It's a gap that Karolyi created from scratch since taking over for husband Bela in 2001. She's molded the US program into a ponytailed juggernaut. The 73-year-old is stepping down after the games. Watching from the front row of the Rio Olympic Arena in a red jumpsuit, Karolyi watched perhaps her greatest team seem totally immune to the pressure. But while the gold was never in doubt, you wouldn't have known about it by watching Karolyi. She clutched the white railing in front of her during Biles' floor routine, nodding with approval with each gravity-escaping tumbling pass. Russia, which wasn't sure it would even be included in the games until just days before the opening ceremonies, won silver. China took bronze.