The U.S. women are dominating gymnastics unlike any nation since the last great Romanian era at the turn of the millennium, and the trend should easily continue in the World Championships team final in Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday.
The Americans posted the highest score in qualifying by a whopping 5.174 points over silver-medal favorite Russia and were 9.449 points ahead of third-place Great Britain. The U.S. had the highest total qualifying scores on balance beam, floor exercise and vault and was second to Russia on uneven bars.
Those scores do not carry over. All eight nations in the final start from zero Tuesday (UniversalSports.com/USAGymWorlds.com, 2:45 p.m. ET).
The U.S. routed for gold at the 2011 Worlds (by 4.082 points), 2012 Olympics (5.066) and 2014 Worlds (6.693). There was no team final at the 2013 Worlds.
By comparison, China topped Japan for men’s team gold in those three competitions by 2.068, 4.045 and one tenth of a point.
On Tuesday, the U.S. will rely most on Maggie Nichols, the only team member competing on all four events. Nichols, the P&G Championships all-around silver medalist, was not used on uneven bars in qualifying Saturday and thus is not eligible for Thursday’s individual all-around final.
Two-time World all-around champion Simone Biles will compete on three events, skipping uneven bars, her weakest event.
London Olympic champions Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman are on two events each.
Biles and Douglas will compete in Thursday’s all-around final.
How does this team compare to the Fierce Five?
“Everyone has different personalities that kind of, like, fit,” Douglas said. “Of course, we have that family bond because we all go down to the [Karolyi] ranch [in Texas] once a month. … The chemistry is great.”
Russia is the biggest threat since it was second in qualifying, second to the U.S. at the 2011 Worlds and 2012 Olympics and because Romania, which had earned team medals at every Olympics since 1976, failed to make the final.
But the Russians are missing injured stalwart Aliya Mustafina, who was used on all four events in the 2014 Worlds team final. No other Russian competed on more than two events in last year’s final.
The U.S. is going for its fourth straight global title, combining Worlds and the Olympics. The last nation with a streak that long was Romania, which won four straight from 1997 through 2001.
If the U.S. wins Tuesday, it will go into Rio 2016 with a chance for the first streak of five since the Soviet Union won six straight from 1968 through 1978.
NBC Olympics researcher Amanda Doyle contributed to this report from Glasgow.
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