SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ The Americans were definitely the most spirited, rowdiest bunch on the floor. But this is the Olympic gymnastics competition, not the world cheerleading championships.

Finally showing the fire Bela Karolyi wanted so badly, the United States just didn't have the tricks it needed to get on the medals podium Tuesday night. Four years after winning the gold medal in Atlanta, the Americans finished fourth in the women's team final competition.

World champion Romania won its second gold medal, clinching it with 154.608 points. Russia won the silver and China took the bronze.

Still, for a team that finished a humiliating sixth at last fall's world championships and then showed all the emotion and skill of a YMCA tumbling class in Saturday's preliminaries, this was progress.

``I believe they started catching up,'' said Karolyi, who again watched the competition from the press seats. ``They started building the confidence that's so much needed in the competition. They started getting united as a team, looking like a team and working like a team.

``That's very, very important. And that's probably the biggest success of the night.''

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