Simone Biles Powers USA to Gymnastics Team Gold

US gymnast Simone Biles competes in the Beam event during the women's team final Artistic Gymnastics at the Olympic Arena during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 9, 2016

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Simone Biles got her bid for a record five gold medals at the Rio Olympics off to a flying start on Tuesday as the United States defended their women’s gymnastics team title.

The five-woman US team — Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Madison Kocian and Laurie Hernandez — took the title ahead by over eight points on Russia with China winning bronze in the Rio Olympic Arena.

The US women become the first team to win back-to-back Olympic golds since Romania in 2000 and 2004. It was their third gold after winning a first in Atlanta 1996.

A team gold would also put Biles on the road to the record haul of five gold medals the 19-year-old covets in Rio. The ten-time world champion also topped the all-around, floor, beam and vault in preliminaries.

The United States scored 184.897 after the four apparatus — vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor — with Russia scoring 176.688 and 2008 champions China, 176.003.

Japan (174.371) finished off the podium in fourth ahead of Great Britain (174.362), Germany (173.672), the  Netherlands (172.447) and hosts Brazil (172.087).