The top 16 semi-finalists, for both men and women, competed today at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to try and qualify for the event finals of the 1996 Individual World Championships.
U.S. gymnasts competing included; Amy Chow, Dominique Dawes, Jaycie Phelps, Kristy Powell, Chris LaMorte, Steve McCain, Bill Roth and Chainey Umphrey.
Chow, of San Jose, Calif., began the competition for the U.S. competing second on vault. Unfortunately she landed low to the ground on her first attempt and put her hands down on her second. She scored a 9.125 placing 15th. Chow’s coach Mark Young said, “I know everyone was in the same situation but I think that not having a one-touch hurt her performance.”
Dawes, of Silver Spring, Md., qualified for both uneven bars and balance beam finals. “I was happier with my performance today on bars but I still missed one of my skills and I want to show how it should be done,” said Dawes. Tomorrow’s finals will give her the opportunity to do so.
Phelps, of Greenfield, Ind., performed an almost flawless bar routine, scoring a 9.737. She finished eighth in a three-way tie with Kathleen Stark of Germany and Xuan Liu from China. After the tie-breaking procedures were followed, Stark and Phelps were still tied. The decision was then left to the men’s and women’s technical committee presidents and their personal scoring of the two routines. Phelps received a higher score than Stark resulting in her eighth place finish. Phelps finished 3rd on beam and is also advancing to finals in this event.
Powell, of Colorado Springs, Colo., stepped out of bounds on her first tumbling pass, a double layout, on floor. She placed 11th with a 9.537.
Chris LaMorte, of Long Island, N.Y., secured a spot for finals placing 6th on rings. “To come here and make finals in his first World Championships is something,” said Ron Brant, the appointed men’s coach for the 1996 Individual World Championships.
Steve McCain, of Houston, Texas, placed 15th on floor. On his last tumbling pass, a full twisting double back, McCain put his hands down resulting in a score of 9.200. He performed a clean set on the parallel bars but only finished 11th with a score of 9.525. He missed making finals by .037.
Bill Roth, of Mohegan Lake, N.Y., and Chainey Umphrey of Albuquerque, N.M., both competed on high bar. A major form break on Roth’s release move may have been the underlying factor that led to his 9.487 and 10th place finish. Umphrey competed four release moves which undoubtedly helped in his advance to finals.
1/Gil Su Pae/PRK/9.812
8/Hyon II Kim/PRK/9.625
7/Gil Su Pae/PRK/9.575
The finals will begin on Friday, at 7:00 P.M., with men’s floor exercise, pommel horse and still rings. The women will compete vault and uneven bars. The conclusion of the 1996 Individual World Championships will begin on Saturday, at 6:00 P.M., with men’s vault, parallel bars and high bar. The women will compete balance beam and floor exercise.