Golden again, US women capture Olympic gymnastics title

The Americans' second straight Olympic triumph was never in doubt

U.S. gymnasts, left to right, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabrielle Douglas and Madison Kocian wave to the audience at the end of the artistic gymnastics women's team final at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
U.S. gymnasts, left to right, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Gabrielle Douglas and Madison Kocian wave to the audience at the end of the artistic gymnastics women's team final at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The U.S. women’s gymnastics team proved golden once more.

The Americans’ second straight Olympic triumph was never in doubt, their score of 184.897 at the Rio Games more than eight points clear of the field. Their night was capped by Simone Biles with a boundary-pushing floor exercise that showed just how far ahead they are of everyone else.

Biles, Lauren Hernandez, Gabby Douglas, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman also gave retiring national team coordinator Martha Karolyi a fitting send off with powerful performances on all the apparatuses.

Russia took the silver medal and China earned bronze.

There is more on tap Tuesday night with Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky and Ryan Lochte in the pool, and the Brazilian women’s soccer team trying to atone for their underwhelming men against South Africa.

At Maria Lenk Aquatics Center, there was more buzz on social media over the color of the water than the diving competition. It had turned a murky green since Monday night’s events.

Chen Ruolin and Liu Huixia didn’t seem to care what color of water they were hitting. They won the women’s 10-meter synchronized platform title to make China 3-for-3 in the competition so far.

Lochte swam the anchor leg of the 4×200-meter relay, helping the U.S. to a comfortable win in its preliminary heat. Defending Olympic champ Nathan Adrian had a tougher time in the 100-meter freestyle, grabbing the 16th and final spot for Tuesday night’s semifinal.

Phelps will be trying to win gold medal No. 20 when he swims in the 200-meter butterfly against South African Chad le Clos, who beat Phelps in London. It may be Phelps’s best event, but he mistimed his finish in London and that allowed le Clos to beat him at the line.

It didn’t sit well with the American superstar, who got off to a rousing start at the Rio Games by leading his 4×100 freestyle team to the gold medal.

“Should be a fun race,” Phelps said.

Le Clos is ready, too.

“May the best man win,” he said. “I’ll race my heart out.”

Other highlights from Day 4 of the Rio Games:

GRIEVING COACH LEADS US : Adam Krikorian returned to the pool deck for his first game since his brother’s sudden death last week to coach the U.S. to an 11-4 win over Spain in water polo. Maggie Steffens, Courtney Mathewson and Kiley Neushul scored two goals apiece, and Ashleigh Johnson had 11 saves while becoming the first black woman to play water polo for the U.S. in the Olympics.

ITALY TOPS AMERICANS : Despite their captain Emanuele Birarelli leaving with a hurt right ankle, the Italian men’s volleyball team beat the U.S. 28-26, 20-25, 25-23, 25-23. Birarelli was part of the Italian team that won the bronze medal four years ago at the London Olympics.

TENNIS CONTINUES : Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal moved into the third round, dropping a total of nine games apiece so far. The women are a round ahead, and players reaching the quarterfinals included Madison Keys of the US, Johanna Konta of Britain and Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.

RUGBY STUNNER : Sonny Bill Williams was helped off with an ankle injury during New Zealand’s shocking 14-12 loss to Japan in its first game of rugby sevens. New Zealand is a 12-time world series champion and one of the top contenders for the first rugby medals awarded at an Olympics in 92 years.

JUDO HISTORY : Hungarian-born Szandra Szogedi made history when she stepped onto the judo mat to become the first judoka to represent Ghana — she obtained citizenship through her husband. But facing Brazilian Mariana Silva in the first round, Szogedi had to deal with a crowd shouting support for her opponent. After less than two minutes, the fight was over: Silva took Szogedi down and caught her in a stranglehold. Afterward, a tearful Szogedi said she was “gutted.”

PELE IMPROVING: Pele tweeted that he hopes to appear at the closing ceremony after missing the opening because of his health. The soccer great was the organizers’ preferred choice to light the cauldron, but first cited sponsorship commitments and later health concerns for staying away.

WORLD-RECORD LIFT: Deng Wei won Olympic gold and set a world record in women’s weightlifting, hoisting 147 kilograms in the clean and jerk and 115 in the snatch for a total of 262. Her clean and jerk lift also broke her world record by 1 kilogram.

STADIUM PROTESTS : A federal judge ordered Rio Games organizers to allow peaceful protests inside venues after fans were removed for displaying anti-government signs. The International Olympic Committee bans political statements at the games and has pleaded with fans not to disrupt competition.

GO, PROS: Cameroonian fighter Hassan N’Dam, Thailand’s Amnat Ruenroeng and Italy’s Carmine Tommasone have been eliminated from the boxing competition. The trio of pros bucked 112 years of amateur competition at the Olympics this year.

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