Americans live up to the hype as US wins 1st Olympic gold in women's team gymnastics since 1996

Olympics Day 4 - Gymnastics - Artistic

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Alexandra Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Mc Kayla Maroney and Kyla Ross of the United States celebrate during the final rotation in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.

Olympics Day 4 - Gymnastics - Artistic

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

(R) Jordyn Wieber and Alexandra Raisman of the United States of America hug during the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.

US gymnast Kyla Ross performs on the bea

AFP/Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Kyla Ross performs on the beam during the women's qualification of the artistic gymnastics event of the London Olympic Games on July 29, 2012 at the 02 North Greenwich Arena in London.

Olympics Day 4 - Gymnastics - Artistic

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Kyla Ross of the United States of America and coach Jenny Zhang hug during the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.

US gymnast Jordyn Wieber performs on the

AFP/Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Jordyn Wieber performs on the beam during the women's qualification of the artistic gymnastics event of the London Olympic Games on July 29, 2012 at the 02 North Greenwich Arena in London.

US women gymnastics team John Geddert ce

Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. women gymnastics team coach John Geddert celebrates with the rest of the team after the U.S. won gold in the women's team of the artistic gymnastics event of the London Olympic Games on July 31, 2012 at the 02 North Greenwich Arena in London. Team U.S. won gold, Team Russia took silver and Team Romania got bronze.


This is part of KPCC’s "L.A. To London” series, which will be exploring local connections to the 2012 Summer Olympics. View the series and follow it on Twitter at #latolondon.

The Americans grabbed hands and backed up, eager to get a better view of the scoreboard, but there was no need. That Olympic gold medal was in the bag the minute they took the floor.

The Americans lived up to their considerable hype and then some Tuesday night, routing Russia and everybody else on their way to their first Olympic title since 1996. Their score of 183.596 was a whopping five points ahead of Russia, and they were so far ahead their last event, floor exercise, was more like a coronation.

With the Russians on the sidelines crying, the Americans stood at the center of the flow, clapping, cheering and basking in a golden glow. When the score for captain Aly Raisman flashed, the Americans screamed and a chant of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" rang out around the arena. The women held up their index fingers for the cameras — just in case anyone had a doubt.

The Americans had come into the last two Olympics as world champions, only to leave without a gold. But this team is the strongest, top to bottom, the USA has ever had, and the rest of the world never stood a chance. After the U.S. opened with a barrage of booming vaults, everyone else was playing for silver.

One of the members of that team was Southern California's own Kyla Ross, a 15-year-old from Aliso Viejo.

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