The U.S. women’s gymnastics team won gold at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro Tuesday, an expected but exhilarating victory for the five-woman squad that includes two veteran Olympians, the reigning Olympic all-around champion and the only woman ever to win back-to-back-to-back world championships.
The U.S. team ― Aly Raisman, Gabrielle Douglas, Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian ― qualified for the final in first position, finishing the qualifying round with a mammoth lead of almost 10 points between them and China, who qualified in second place. Qualifying scores do not roll over into the final competition, but the U.S. won today by a similarly jaw-dropping margin of over 8 points. Russia came in second, and China in third.
Though the U.S. team has five members, the final is conducted in a format known as “three-up, three-count,” meaning only three gymnasts from each country perform on each event and every score counts toward the team total. (In qualifying rounds, the format is “four-up, three-count,” and the lowest score on each event is dropped from the team total.) So every routine and each deduction is a high-stakes affair. There’s no room for error in the team final. Read more