London 2012 Olympics: GB women finish sixth in team gymnastics as United States claim gold

GB women miss out on medal as United States pip Russia to gymnastics team gold

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UPDATED:

18:14 GMT, 31 July 2012

Great Britain's women achieved their
best Olympic gymnastics team result in the post-war era after they
finished sixth in the team final at the North Greenwich Arena on
Tuesday.

The United States, silver medalists four years ago, won gold ahead of Russia with Romania claiming the bronze medal.

Britain's gymnast Jennifer Pinches performs on the beam

Impressive: Britain's Jennifer Pinches on the beam

Defending champions China were left distraught as they finished fourth by some margin.

Britain's women were unable to match the achievements of their male counterparts who won Olympic team bronze yesterday, but that was never expected against gymnastics powerhouses China, Russia, United States and Romania.

Beth Tweddle, Hannah Whelan, Imogen Cairns, Rebecca Tunney and Jennifer Pinches scored 170.495 to mark their best ever result in post-war Olympic competition, surpassing the seventh place in the Los Angeles Games in 1984.

Jennifer Pinches of Great Britain competes on the balance beam

Britain's only Olympic team medal was won at the 1928 Games with a squad of 12 gymnasts.

The result comes after GB narrowly missed out on a place in the final four years ago in Beijing where they finished ninth.

With three gymnasts competing on each piece of apparatus and all of the scores counting towards the overall total, there was no margin for error.

Great Britain's Beth Tweddle

High point: Great Britain's Beth Tweddle

Britain started on beam, just like in
qualification, with Cairns stepping up first and steadying nerves with a
clean and confident 13.500 routine.

Pinches then tumbled off the
apparatus to score 11.833, before European bronze beam medallist Whelan
put on an assured display to score 13.866.

The United States began on vault,
with world champion McKayla Maroney the pick of the bunch after she hit a
stunning stuck Amanar vault to score 16.233, as the 2008 silver
medallists rocketed into a huge early lead.

Focused: Imogen Cairns on the balance beam

Focused: Imogen Cairns on the balance beam

Britain then moved to the floor in
last place after their shaky start, Pinches putting her woes on the beam
behind her with a clean routine of 14.366.

Whelan's solid routine and Tweddle's
slightly shaky 14.166 interpretation of James Bond theme 'Live and Let
Die' moved them up a place into seventh.

Cairns then opened for Britain on
vault with a clean one-and-a-half twisting leap before Pinches scored
14.833 ahead of Tunney's first appearance in the team final on the
apparatus, scoring 14.866.

Sparkling: Jordyn Wieber on the vault

Sparkling: Jordyn Wieber on the vault

Tweddle's specialist piece of apparatus, the uneven bars, was left until last, just like in qualification.
The 27-year-old competed last as the strongest worker on the apparatus
for Britain, after fellow City of Liverpool gymnasts Whelan and Tunney.

Whelan looked confident with a slight
step on landing to score 14.00 before 15-year-old Tunney hit her
routine to earn 14.766 for her team.

Golden girls: The USA celebrate their gold medal in the women's artistic gymnastics

Golden girls: The USA celebrate their gold medal in the women's artistic gymnastics

Fall out: Russia's Kseniia Afanaseva after falling during her floor exercise

Fall out: Russia's Kseniia Afanaseva after falling during her floor exercise

Three-time world champion Tweddle
then stepped up to the apparatus and nailed her routine with a twisting
double-double finish to save the best until last with a score of 15.833 –
and move Britain up into sixth place ahead of Italy and Japan.

The United States, meanwhile, were
doing battle with Russia for gold, with Aly Raisman's world class floor
routine enough to seal the victory for the 2008 Olympic silver
medallists.

The golden girls: U.S. gymnasts, left to right, Jordyn Wieber, Gabrielle Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Alexandra Raisman, Kyla Ross raise their hands on the podium during the medal ceremony

The golden girls: (left to right) Jordyn Wieber, Gabrielle Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Alexandra Raisman, Kyla Ross

Salute: US coach John Geddert leads the celebrations

Salute: US coach John Geddert leads the celebrations