Hamm and Wilson take home two event gold medals each

Day One of Four

Cleveland – Olympian and World Championships silver medalist Paul Hamm (Waukesha, Wis.) leads the men’s all-around competition at the 2002 U.S. Gymnastics Championships at Gund Arena. Hamm, with a total score of 56.575, is followed closely by five-time national champion Blaine Wilson (Columbus, Ohio) with 55.675 and current parallel bars world champion Sean Townsend (Houston, Texas) with 54.650.
The all-around champions and national team will be named following Friday night’s competition. Wednesday’s scores will carry over to Friday’s all-around finals and count toward the total score.
Individual event national champions were named tonight on the six men’s disciplines. In addition to the all-around lead, Hamm placed first on the pommel horse and vault, with a 9.7 and 9.6, respectively. Wilson was also a double gold medalist, winning the still rings with a 9.85 and the high bar with a 9.9. Taking home the gold on parallel bars was Townsend, with a 9.9. Morgan Hamm (Waukesha, Wis.), twin brother of Paul, won the floor exercise with the highest individual score of the evening, a 9.95.

Senior Men’s Quotes:

Paul Hamm: “I was disappointed with high bar tonight, but I came out ahead and the lead gives me confidence heading into Friday’s competition. I know for sure Sean and Blaine are coming on strong, so it’s not going to be easy.”

Blaine Wilson:
“I hustled through the first four events, but what I did on floor exercise was stupid. Pommel horse was sloppy but I stayed on.”
“In the warm-up, I kicked out and hyper-extended my knee on vault. It’s going to be bruised, but I will be fine by Friday. I’m golfing tomorrow.”
“I felt fine tonight. I was the most relaxed I’ve ever been in my whole life. I wasn’t really nervous.”

Sean Townsend: “I know what adjustments to make for Friday. I want to hit six for six, and it doesn’t matter where I place. I was happy with parallel bars tonight.”

Junior Division

Taquiy Abdullah (Philadelphia, Pa.) of Houston Gymnastics Academy won the floor exercise, parallel bars, and high bar competition in the 14-15 age division. In addition, Jonathan Horton (Houston, Texas) of Team Cypress was a double-winner with gold medals in the still rings and vault. Wesley Haagensen (St. Louis, Mo.) and Bryan Del Castillo (Costa Mesa, Calif.) tied for first on the pommel horse.
In the 16-18 age division, several gymnasts took home individual event titles. Tyler Yamauchi (Sugar Land, Texas) was the only double-winner, with gold medals in the floor exercise and still rings. Curtis O’Rorke (Moore, Okla.) tied for first with Yamauchi in the floor exercise. Grant Osborne (San Diego, Calif.) placed first on the pommel horse, while David Sender (Chicago, Ill.) won the vault. Gerry Signorelli (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who will begin competing for the University of Michigan in the fall, won the parallel bars competition. The high bar competition was won by Willie Ito (Huntington Beach, Calif.).
The Junior National Teams, which will be comprised of seven athletes for each age group, will be named Friday following the Senior Men’s All Around Finals.

Junior Men’s Quotes:

Grant Osborne: “Consistency was my goal today. My best event today was pommel horse. I really felt the pressure going into the last two events, parallel bars and high bar.”

Taquiy Abdullah:
“Today was a great experience. I just wanted to hit six for six, and it was a big surprise that I finished as high as I did. I’ve never put it all together before but I’ve been training hard.”