A total of 163 men from 51 countries competed today in the first day of the 1996 Individual World Championships at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Of the six U.S. men that competed, four are advancing to the semi-final round of competition on Thursday, April 18. Chainey Umphrey from Albuquerque, N.M. and training at UCLA was first to compete for the U.S. He said, “I wanted to go out and nail my routine and get the team going. If you hit your first event it is easier for the next guy and you can build off of that.” Umphrey scored a 9.50 on high bar and will advance to the semi-finals.
Steve McCain from Houston, Texas, and training at UCLA, qualified for two event semi-finals, placing 13th on floor and 12th on parallel bars. Umphrey placed 11th and Bill Roth from Mohegan Lake, N.Y. and training at Temple University, placed 12th on high bar. Chris LaMorte from Long Island, N.Y. and now training in Albuquerque, N.M. at Gold Cup Gymnastics placed third on rings securing a spot for the semi-finals as well. LaMorte stated, “I was really nervous. This was my first international competition but now I know what to expect and I won’t be nervous at semi-finals.” In response to his having no-reputation status as an international competitor LaMorte said, “I expected my score to be low, but it wasn’t. I was happy with the score. It was what I deserved.”