Russia sweep synchros with team gold

LONDON: Russia extended its dominance in synchronized swimming Friday, winning the team gold medal at the London Olympics for the country’s fourth consecutive team victory and sixth straight overall gold in the games.

The Russians totaled 197.030 points with a free routine featuring swimmers doing acrobatic flips and pirouetting like ballerinas above the water.

The team of Anastasia Davydova, Maria Gromova, Natalia Ishchenko, Elvira Khasyanova, Alexandra Patskevich, Svetlana Romashina, Anzhelika Timanina and Alla Shishkina swam in black, red and gold suits featuring a spiderweb design on the back.

The Russians swam, flipped and kicked their way through the songs “War” and “Step” by Denis Garnizov. Their height, speed and synchronization were far superior to the other teams.

China earned the silver at 194.010, edging out Spain by 0.89.

The Spanish settled for the bronze at 193.120 four years after winning silver in Beijing.

Wearing hot pink, purple and white suits, the Chinese marched in lock step onto the deck. With their dramatic “Butterfly” music under way, they flipped one swimmer in the air. Moments later, another swimmer was flipped horizontally and she rolled multiple times like a log before hitting the water. Two swimmers flipped in opposite directions, drawing cheers.

The Spanish evoked the outrageous costumes favored by Cher in the 1970s with their silver mirrored suits and matching caps that shimmered in and out of the water.

Their two biggest moves involved one swimmer diving over the top of another whose back was fully arched out of the water and a swimmer who appeared to be walking on water as the others held her up from underwater.

There was a delay in Spain’s scores being posted as some of the judges huddled to talk. The nine-member team clapped – what else? – in unison while waiting on deck.

Canada was fourth.

Japan finished fifth and failed to win a medal in synchronized swimming for the first time since the sport was added to the Olympics in 1984.

The U.S. did not qualify for the team event.

Australia had the most relatable music among the eight teams in the final. The Aussies rocked their way through a remix of AC/DC hits, including “Back in Black” that had the crowd clapping along. They concluded the routine with one swimmer raised out of the pool with her fore and pinkie fingers formed into a horns gesture before she was slowly lowered into the water.

The judges apparently didn’t think it was such a hit, giving the Aussies the lowest free routine score of any team. They finished last.





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