The U.S. women won their third world team title Tuesday evening at the 2011 World Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo, Japan.
The U.S. women, who also won the 2003 and 2007 pre-Olympic worlds, nailed 12 routines to score 179.411, winning the gold medal comfortably over Russia (175.329) and China (172.820).
National champion Jordyn Wieber led the U.S., earning high scores for the team on uneven bars and balance beam. McKayla Maroney earned the highest score of the women's competition so far with her 16.033 on vault. Alexandra Raisman contributed three events, while Sabrina Vega was the lead off gymnast on uneven bars and baalnce beam. Gabrielle Douglas was crucial to the U.S. effort on uneven bars, scoring 14.733.
Russia, the defending champion, failed to go for broke on vault, playing it safe with double-twisting Yurchenkos from Viktoria Komova and Tatiana Nabiyeva. Komova notched 15.566 on uneven bars, but fell off balance beam and nearly sat down her first pass on floor exercise. European champion Anna Dementyeva, who had been sick with 103-degree fever just prior to the competition, contributed well on two events.
China had several notable misses, including a fall on uneven bars from Huang Qiushuang in the first rotation. National champion Tan Sixin failed to deliver, falling off balance beam (13.966) and on floor exercise for the lowest score of the meet (12.066). Sui Lu countered that with top score of the competition so far on balance beam, scoring 15.666 for a brilliant performance. The team ended well on vault to hold onto the bronze.
Ana Porgras and Catalina Ponor led Romania (172.412), which repeated its fourth place from 2010. The team was consistent but swallowed scores 12.966 from Raluca Haidu and 13.000 from Amelia Racea on uneven bars in the first rotation.
Beth Tweddle had the high score on uneven bars, scoring 15.666 to help Great Britain place fifth with 169.670.
Germany (168.479), Japan (167.122) and Australia (166.439) rounded out the rankings.
Competition continues Wednesday evening with the men's team final.
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