The team from Russia performs during the rhythmic gymnastics group all-around qualifications at at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, in London.
LONDON — Russia is at the top of the standings halfway through group qualifying at rhythmic gymnastics.
The Russians, seeking their fourth straight Olympic title, scored 28.375 points for their routine with five balls Thursday. That was .275 points better than Italy, which has won the last three world championships. Belarus was third.
Qualifying continues Friday with three ribbons and two hoops. The top eight teams advance to Sunday's final.
Earlier Thursday, Daria Dmitrieva upstaged defending Olympic champion Evgeniya Kanaeva as Russia went 1-2 in individual qualifying.