U.S. team coordinator Martha Karolyis strategy was to emerge from vault with at least a half-point cushion going into uneven bars, the U.S. teams weakest event. The team had the third-highest score on bars, good enough to hold off China, which was accumulating mistakes, and Russia. Karolyis preparations for the team included piping loud music and crowd noise into practice sessions.
Beam was the key, said Bela Karolyi, who last coached the U.S. women to gold. Martha decided to put Douglas on beam rather than Wieber. Douglas had a higher start value but she also carried higher risk of falling off. But she steadied herself through a couple of lurches and flowed through her skills with surprising artistry.
Thats when the Russians started to shake, Bela said, and sure enough Victoria Komova had to take a big step off the mat on her dismount.
On floor, the Russians cracked. Anastasia Grishina flubbed a tumbling pass badly, taking extra, awkward steps. Then Kseniia Afanaseva wrecked an elegant routine by landing on her knees.
After Douglas and Wieber dazzled Douglas with speed, Wieber with big air Raisman needed only a basic 10.252 points to keep the United States in first. She earned 15.3 even playing it safe and it was only a matter of addition before the U.S. triumph was announced.
Its a fantastic achievement, but at the same time, we dont need to get our noses up in the air because you are just as good as you are on your performance day, said Martha Karolyi, anticipating the all-around and event finals to come. This is the result of a lot of work for many, many years.
We cant think, Just because were Olympic team champion, we can relax.