Americans blow away opposition to win women's gymnastics team gold as Great Britain finish fifth
- The United States cruised to the women's team title at the Olympics
- Simone Biles and her American team-mates won by a massive 8.209 points
- Russia came second, China third, Japan fourth and Great Britain fifth
- Ellie Downie's fall on the beam Claudia Fragapane's error saw GB miss out
The Sass Squad, as the five women who make up Great Britain’s gymnastics team call themselves, were temporarily stripped of their usual boundless energy and ready smiles as they failed to win a medal in the team event.
The women had surprised by winning a bronze at the World Championships in Glasgow last year and it was hoped they could sneak onto the podium here.
But a fall for Ellie Downie on the balance beam and an error from Claudia Fragapane during her floor routine meant they missed out on a team medal as their male counterparts had the previous day.
Left to right: Alexandra Raisman, Madison Kocian, Lauren Hernandez, Simone Biles and Gabrielle Douglas of the USA pose with their gold medals
The Great Britain women's team look on as thet failed to win a medal in the team event
For the senior members of the team this competition could bring down the curtain on their international career.
They had hoped to bow out with a tangible reminder of the day but an overall score of 174.362, although slightly better than they had managed in qualification, was only good enough for fifth.
The USA team, perhaps the most dominant of any at this Olympics, were predictably untouchable, winning with 184.897 points ahead of Russia and China.
At 24, Becky Downie will recognise the next Olympics is a long four years away while Ruby Harrold is making a brief pit stop in the UK before flying to America to start a four-year degree course at Louisiana State University on a gymnastics scholarship.
For 16-year-old Amy Tinkler, the younger Downie and Fragapane, 17 and 18 respectively, Tokyo 2016 beckons. But this was a good lesson on the improvements required if they are to compete with the powerhouses of the sport as a team.
Ruby Harrold opened proceedings on the uneven bars, improving on her qualification score
Harrold opened proceedings on the uneven bars scoring 14.833, slightly up on her qualification score while Ellie Downie did little wrong to score 14.633.
Older sister Becky, a European Champion on bars, had been heartbroken to miss out on a place in the individual final in her specialist event but it seemed to drive her as she improved her score, landing as if her feet were superglued to the mat.
Ellie Downie had been the hero of the qualification event. She suffered a brutal looking fall during her floor routine, slamming her head directly into the mat after a botched landing.
Led from the arena by medics, she refused a wheelchair and insisted on returning five minutes later to help the team qualify by doing two vaults. But there was no rescue this time as she lost her footing while doing a pirouette on the balance beam, slipping onto the mat.
It was a contrasting night for the Downie family as Elissa fell from the beam to her dismay
Fragapane stumbles out of bounds on the floor and is penalised by the judges
Devastated, she composed herself to remount and cheered on her older sister Becky and close friend Claudia Fragapane as both bettered their score from qualification.
But from third place after the first rotation, the team had been relegated to fifth and were relying on big errors from the Russian and Chinese teams.
Downie was given a meagre score for what seemed an impressive floor routine but Fragapane was rightly penalised for stepping out of bounds. Tinkler, who has impressed with her maturity, produced another good floor routine, which bodes well for the individual final later this week.
On the vault, Tinkler nailed her Yuchenko to score 14.933 while Ellie Downie bounced back with her best vault of the week, scoring 15.133. Fragapane scored 14.700.
Tinkler impressed again, producing yet another strong floor routine at the Olympic Arena
Rebecca Downie was grace personified during the women's team final on Tuesday
But it was one of the smallest adults inside Rio’s Olympic Arena that held it captivated all night.
At 4ft8in Simone Biles transcends her sport to the extent that her performances in Rio have so far prompted congratulatory Tweets from presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to Kim Kardashian and Zac Efron.
Medically classified as a dwarf, the height she registers in her floor routine is truly jaw dropping. Grown men and young girls alike were awed as she bounced off the ground as if powered by a jet pack to seal the USA’s victory with the final act of the evening.
Simone Biles got her bid for a record five gold medals at the Rio Olympics off to a flying start
The ten-time world champion looks set to be one of the stars of the Olympic Games
On the vault too, she was exceptional and attacked the balance beam, only as wide as the average smart phone, as if it were 10ft thick. The crowd was full of stars and stripes, any event featuring Biles is automatically one of the hottest tickets of the Games and they cheered her fulsomely.
At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal Nadia Comaneci made her name by winning three gold medals and scoring the first ever perfect ten. Rio 2016 could make Biles, who is favourite to win another four titles here, a worldwide superstar.
The only problem for this American team is each other. Only two from each country are able to compete in the individual all-around event but they are so good that if its four best gymnasts – Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and Lauren Hernandez – were all allowed to compete they would probably round out the top four overall.
Left to right: Great Britain's Amy Tinkler, Becky Downie, Claudia Fragapane, Ruby Harrold and Ellie Downie put on a brave face after the final
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