There truly are no words to describe the utter dominance the United States Women’s Olympic Gymnastic team just showed at the Team Final competition. After qualifying in first place by a remarkable ten points, a lead made larger thanks to falls from some of their competition, they doubled down on that performance by winning a gold medal by a remarkable eight points. There is barely an equivalent for it in other sports. It would be like winning the Super Bowl by eight touchdowns or all nine members of a lineup hitting a homerun in the first inning or a basketball team scoring a hundred points while the other team scores zero. The sheer magnitude and margin of the victory nearly overshadows the outcome itself. Russia and China, two perennial powers in gymnastics finished second and third respectively and quite happily, knowing that gold was beyond their reach before the competition even began.
Team USA came out firing on all cylinders. Laurie Hernandez hit a solid double twisting Yurchenko which Aly Raisman followed with a stuck Amanar vault – perhaps the best vault she’s ever done in competition, ever and then Simone Biles rounded out the rotation with a fantastic Amanar of her own.
On bars, Simone led off with a tiny hiccup, scoring lower than she had in qualifications, but that was quickly forgotten when Gabrielle Douglas nailed her routine and then Madison Kocian posted the highest score of the competition, a 15.933 – a score she shared with Russian superstar Aliya Mustafina, which should make Uneven Bars final super exciting.
The team rotated to beam, a place where Olympic dreams often go to die, but Aly Raisman’s lead off routine set the tone when she stuck her Patterson dismount, a roundoff double arabian and ignited the crowd and her teammates. Laurie Hernandez dazzled on her best apparatus and then Simone Biles capped it off with a fantastic routine.
The final event of the afternoon, floor exercise was more a victory lap than an actual competition, but the Americans did not disappoint. Laurie Hernandez started off her routine with a quick wink at the judges, letting them know she was going to give them something to remember. Aly Raisman, the reigning floor exercise champion was pitch perfect in her famed first tumbling pass, a round off, one and a half through to double arabian punch layout and then Simone Biles, the favorite to win All Around gold in the same fashion her team won their gold medal today, closed out the competition and brought down the house with her epically difficult routine.
Knowing you’ve won gold is different than seeing you’ve won gold and the team waited until Simone’s final score flashed up onto the board before celebrating. They embraced and hugged and laughed before announcing to the world the name they’ve given themselves, the “Final Five” a nod to this being the final Olympics gymnastics will have five member teams and a tribute to legendary National Team Coordinator Martha Karolyi who is set to retire after the Games. They will be her Final Five. A fitting end to a storied career, the best gymnastics coach of all time for the greatest team of all time.
Well done, ladies. Well done.