By Gerard Gallagher, Olympics Writer
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - For the first time ever, the United States will not send a synchronized swimming team to the Olympics.
The U.S. failed to make the London Games after placing sixth at a qualifier in the English capital in April.
It's the first time since 1996, when the sport debuted its team competition in Atlanta and the U.S. captured gold, that Americans won't be represented in the event.
They will still have a presence, however, in Mary Killman and Maria Koroleva, who qualified as one of 24 pairings for the duets competition (Caitlin Stewart is the alternate).
Americans Alison Bartosik and Anna Kozlova won bronze in duets in 2004 behind teams from Russia and Japan.
And it's those two countries that have emerged as powerhouses in the sport.
Russia has swept the synchronized swimming program in the last three Olympics, winning every gold in the team and duets competition since 2000.
Anastasia Ermakova and Anastasia Davydova have captured each of the past two duets gold medals to lead the emerging Russian dynasty.
In 2008, Canada and the U.S. finished just shy of the podium in Beijing after placing fourth and fifth, respectively, behind Russia, Spain and China. The U.S. won bronze behind Russia and Japan in 2004 and Canada captured bronze behind the same two countries four years earlier.
Canada is one of the eight countries that qualified for the team event in London. The others are Australia, China, Egypt, Great Britain, Japan, Russia and Spain.
Competition in London begins Aug. 5 with the first of three days in duets at the Aquatics Centre. Teams will compete Aug. 9-10.
Synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics are the only two Olympic sports contested by women only. Synchronized swimming has been an Olympic sport since 1984, but was contested only in singles and duets until 1996.
07/05 13:53:11 ET