London, England (Sports Network) - Behind a pair of top-scoring routines, Russia won its fourth straight Olympic gold medal in the rhythmic gymnastics group all-around event.
Russia has medaled in all five games since the team portion of rhythmic gymnastics became an Olympic sport at the 1996 Atlanta Games. It took a silver that year and has recorded all gold finishes since.
Entering Sunday's final as the top qualifying team, Russia notched a 28.700 on the five balls routine, then followed up with a 28.300 in the three ribbons and two hoops. The total score of 57.000 was 1.500 points better than second- place Belarus, which took a surprise silver over Italy.
"We are simply very happy. We are over the moon. It was a long time with hard work, and we can't believe we won the gold now. We are grateful to everyone. We are very proud to represent Russia and it's an unforgettable experience to hear the national anthem. It's an amazing feeling," said Russia's Uliana Donskova.
The Italians were expected to challenge for gold after winning each of the past three world titles, but finished 0.05 points back of Belarus. A two- tenths of a point penalty deduction on the three ribbons and two hoops event was the difference.
Russia's Evgeniya Kanaeva made history on Saturday by becoming the first rhythmic gymnast to win two gold medals in the individual all-around.
08/12 11:27:24 ET