Russia captures Olympic silver in artistic gymnastics

The United States emphatically captured the artistic gymnastics gold at the London Olympics on Tuesday, finishing well clear of the Russians, who claimed silver. The Americans won with a score of 183.596, five points ahead of Russia and seven clear of third-placed Romania.

"We didn't pay much attention to the scores. We went to each event and we were confident," said America's Jordyn Wieber, who surprisingly missed out on qualification for the individual final, but put in a scintillating routine on the floor to secure the gold. "I would hope that we will be able to inspire a generation. I know that we all had role models. We all sacrificed a lot, but it's been worth it to become gold medallists."

Russia's Ksenia Afanaseva said the feeling of winning silver, rather than losing gold, took time to sink in. "Well, I think the first tears were of disappointment, but the second were tears of joy," she said.

Beijing champions China were pushed off the podium into fourth, while hosts Team GB could only manage sixth. "On the beam we felt a little nervous," said Chinese gymnast Sui Lu. "I think the audience was very enthusiastic and we were affected by this. We really love the cheering but we are sometimes distracted by the noise. This is our own fault."

The U.S. performance evoked memories of 1996, when the home team, nicknamed the Magnificent Seven, clinched the gold in Atlanta.

But it didn't come easily.

The Russians pulled to within less than half a point after a strong showing on the parallel bars, but dropped away after an unconvincing rotation on the beam.

The Romanians put themselves in contention for bronze with a strong performance on the beam.

First published in RIA Novosti.

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