The United States team gained a substantial lead on the vault at the beginning of the event and hung onto it though the floor exercise to win its first gymnastics women’s team gold medal since 1996.

The winning team beat the silver medalists from Russia by over five points. Romania was third and the defending gold medalists from China were fourth.

America’s Alexandra Raisman broke into ecstatic tears before she finished a final routine that was awarded a 15.300.

Beth Tweddle and the GB women’s gymnastics team had hoping to emulate the achievements of their male counterparts who won bronze in yesterday’s team final. It was Britain’s first Olympic team medal in gymnastics for 100 years.

Only three months ago Tweddle had keyhole surgery on her knee and thought her Olympic dream over. However she gave a near flawless uneven bars routine in qualifying over the weekend, allowing her to take the British women into this afternoon’s team final.

She said before the event: “It was the best feeling in the world, I can’t even put it into words, I was unbelievably nervous. I have not been able to sleep for the past three weeks. I am just pleased to be here. Twelve weeks ago I didn’t think I would be walking into this arena so it’s just the icing on the cake to reach the final.”

Final scores in the women’s Olympic gymnastics London 2012

1. USA 183.596

2. Russia 178.530

3. Romania 176.414

4. China 174.430

5. Canada 170.894

6. Team GB 170.495

7. Italy 167.930

8. Japan 166.646