It was no surprise to many that Team USA would be at the top at the World Gymnastics Championship team qualifications Saturday. Gabrielle Douglas and two time champion Simone Biles scored big in their four rotations to qualify the team for the 2016 Olympic games at SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow, Scotland. Russia moved into second with the host country right behind in third. China took fourth while the Romanians failed to qualify at an international event for the first time in decades
The United States were the heavy favorites going into the qualifications but were aware of the bar being set high by the Russians who led after the first day of action. They recorded a score of 231.437 with a huge 60.299 on vault. Aside from the floor, the Russians led on every other apparatus, which gave them a solid chance to be in the top three or better. China went up earlier and put themselves in third place scoring 225.127 with Chen Siyi competing through the rotations.
The U.S. had their top three ladies in the lineup for the tenth subdivision. Aly Raisman, Douglas and Biles have been in on the world stage before and would be up against the Netherlands who had a full team trying to gain their spot for the Olympics. To make it into the All-Around Final, the US would try and get two of their best to go for the gold as the world’s best gymnast competing in all the events. Eli Black of Canada, Seda Tutkhalian of Russia and Amy Tinkler of Great Britain hold the top three spots with 56.466 being the benchmark for the podium.
Douglas was first up for Team USA on floor and did a stellar job with very little mistakes made. She would score a 14.400 having had a difficulty rating of 5.9. Brenna Dowell was next up but as her music jumped the gun before her actual start, she went into her routine with the crowd cheering her on with a steady clap. She finished her run on the floor and was awarded a 13.966 despite the tenth of a deduction.
Maggie Nichols bested Douglas on her routine scoring a 14.700 on her floor exercise that made her the leader. Aly Raisman had plenty of energy on her floor routine but took a big step out of bounds that would cost her. Simone Biles was last up to go and she brought energy to the crowd putting plenty of speed into her four tumbling runs before finishing it off with a short flip before landing in a contorted position. She scored a 15.966 that blasted her into the lead for her team. It gave Team USA a 59.599 on floor topping all others.
The Americans moved to the vault where the big moves Biles would come for the world to see. She pushed her body to make huge two and a half twist landing it on the mark. The judges awarded her a 16 making her the best vaulter of the competition to date. Nichols went on to score a 15.666 making her the second best. Along with scores from Douglas, Raisman, and Dowell, the Americans were at 121.698 at the halfway point.
Next up was the uneven bars and Aly Raisman led the way with a solid bars run landing after a one and a half twist to score a 13.066. It wouldn’t be the best as Douglas came up to put on a textbook performance on the bars showing great hand release skills as well as sticking a perfect landing that gave her a 14.750. Biles started to position herself into the top ranks as she picked up a 14.666 from her performance on bars that left only the beam to determine where she would stand.
Douglas was first to take the top spot scoring a 13.066 despite having a fall on midway through her beam routine. She wouldn’t stay in first for long as Biles gained her place she has gotten so used to. After a solid finish on the beam, the two-time world champ scored a 14.966 that put her in first place and the team as well. She would beat Douglass by four points with a 61.598. The two would represent the U.S in the All Around final scheduled for next week.
The United States took the lead away from Russia, winning by a margin of 5.2 points having topped their scores in every discipline. All scores would be reset, as the top eight teams would go for the gold on Monday night.