The women’s team matched the exploits of their men tonight as they earned silver behind the Australians, who secured a fourth consecutive gold in this event.
But it was something of a mixed occasion for Becky Wing, who woke up with a fever this morning and had to settle for watching her team-mates emulate the result they achieved in Melbourne four years ago.
“I felt awful this morning,” Wing said. “I had a fever and I had to choose whether to come or not. I decided to come and be there for everybody.”
After Wing, who had been called into the squad as a late replacement for Marisa King, was cleared to travel by a doctor, she was able to act as a reserve – albeit a far from well one – as her team-mates set about the challenge of taking on an Australian team that was seeking a fourth successive win in this event.
As the only one of the big three – along with England and Canada – to field their strongest team here, rather than holding their top selection back for the World Championships which start immediately after the Games, Australia made their intentions clear.
Once the defending champions had established themselves in the lead, the question was which of the other dominant forces would prevail. And as each English gymnast in turn – Imogen Cairns, a gold medallist at the last Games, Jocelyn Hunt, Laura Edwards and Charlotte Lindsley – rose to the challenge, the Canadians were kept in third place.
After performing in the vault, uneven bars, beam and floor exercises, the Australians won with a total of 163.700 points, with England on 158.200 and Canada on 154.750.
“We didn’t expect anything today but we did think we could get a medal if we all did our job,” said Cairns. “It’s amazing. It’s fantastic.”
It was particularly fantastic for this 21-year-old from Bristol as these are her first major championships since the Olympics, after which she spent 15 months out of action with an ankle injury which required two operations.
Hunt, a 15-year-old from Fareham, added: “The team was quite nervous, but I think we pulled it all together. We had to do a job, and we did.”