USA impress despite Wieber heartbreak

Jordyn Wieber's dream of emulating her World Championship title with Olympic gold ended in tears on Sunday as she failed to qualify for the women's artistic gymnastics individual all-around final.

While the United States shone in qualifying for the team event, the 17-year-old from Michigan sobbed as she missed out on a place in the individual final by the narrowest of margins at London's North Greenwich Arena.

Wieber's score of 60.032 was the fourth-highest of the day but because she was beaten by two of her own team-mates, Alexandra Raisman (60.391) and Gabrielle Douglas (60.265), she will not be able to compete in Thursday's final.

"It was always going to be close between the three of us doing all-around and in the end, it is what it is," said Wieber.

"It has always been a dream of mine to compete in the all-around final of the Olympics but I'm proud of Aly and Gabby and happy that they reached the all-around (final) and that I was able to help the team get to the finals."

Wieber had been expected to compete in the all-around final alongside Douglas but a superb 15.325 floor routine from Raisman in the final rotation saw the 18-year-old from Boston progress at her room-mate's expense.

"She's a really good friend and I know that she's going to support me," said Raisman. "I'm really proud of her and I hope that she's happy with how she did today."

Wieber may yet emerge from the Games with an individual medal, however, as she qualified in sixth place for the floor final.

America's world vault champion McKayla Maroney confirmed her status as the favourite on that apparatus with a big score of 15.800, while China's Lu Sui led the way on the balance beam (15.400).

Russia's Viktoria Komova, runner-up to Wieber at last year's World Championships in Tokyo, was the top-ranked individual gymnast after the day's five qualifying sessions.

America's gymnasts looked in ominous form as they topped the team rankings with a score of 181.863, which put them above Russia (180.429) and China (176.637).

European champions Romania were fourth and Great Britain fifth, with Japan, Italy and Canada completing the eight-team line-up for Tuesday's final.

Britain's gymnasts were treated to a rapturous reception, and team leader Beth Tweddle brought the crowd to their feet with an elegant uneven bars performance that gave her a huge leading score of 16.133.

Despite playing down Britain's chances of a medal, Tweddle said she and her team-mates could take a lot of encouragement from their performance.

"There's America, China, Russia, Romania -- they're your powerhouses of women's gymnastics," she said.

"We're a step below that, unfortunately, but we're moving up the ranks. Four years ago we couldn't even make it to a team final and now we've clearly made it."

Defending Olympic champion He Kexin of China was outshone by Tweddle on the uneven bars, but she promised that the Chinese would not renounce their overall team crown without a fight.

"I think we are still confident about our overall performance," said He.

"Although we are maybe a little bit lower than the others in terms of difficulty, if we put our efforts into the final, we can be sure of doing well."

The women take a back seat on Monday, when China will bid to defend their all-around title from the Beijing Olympics in the men's team final.

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