LONDON: The Americans lived up to their considerable hype and then some Tuesday, routing Russia and everybody else on the way to their first Olympic women's team gymnastics 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 flow, 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 to the cameras - as if anyone had ever had any doubt.
The Americans had come into the last two Olympics as world champions, only to leave without a gold. But this team is the strongest, top to bottom, the Americans have ever had, and the rest of the world never stood a chance. After the U.S. opened with a barrage of booming vaults, everyone else was playing for silver.