U.S. women look to beat their best in gymnastics team final

U.S. women look to beat their best in gymnastics team final

U.S. women's gymnastics Olympic team 2016

RIO (NBC) — When Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and the rest of the Fierce Five won gold in London, it was decisive: at the end of their golden night, they had outscored silver medalists Russia by over five points.

When Raisman, Douglas and their teammates on the not-yet-nicknamed 2016 team qualified to the team final in Rio, it was by nearly 10 points.

How much better can the U.S. get?

The world will find out on Tuesday, Aug. 9 at 3 p.m. ET when the U.S. compete for a second consecutive Olympic team title. 

The other teams in the final probably, if they’re being honest, know they’re competing for second or third place. Aliya Mustafina, who won silver with the Russian women four years ago, stated it as a fact.

“It’s going to be really difficult to compete against the American team,” Mustafina told the AP. “They are unbeatable at the moment.”

The U.S. women will start on vault, where 16-year-old Laurie Hernandez will try to start the night on a strong note. The line-up is:

Vault: Hernandez, Raisman, Simone Biles
Uneven bars: Biles, Douglas, Madison Kocian
Balance beam: Raisman, Hernandez, Biles
Floor exercise: Hernandez, Raisman, Biles

They’ll be in the same rotation as China, the second place qualifier. The eight teams in the final, in qualifying order, are:

1. United States
2. China
3. Russia
4. Great Britain
5. Brazil
6. Germany
7. Japan
8. Netherlands

3.35 points separated second-place China from eighth-place Netherlands, and in the team final scores from qualifications will be wiped clean.

Missing from the team final is Romania, who won bronze in London and earned a team medal at every Olympics since 1976. But they failed to qualify a full team to the Rio Olympics, sending only one gymnast, Catalina Ponor.

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