Rebecca Bross
© John Cheng

LONDON, Great Britain, Oct. 14, 2009 – The USA’s Rebecca Bross of Plano, Texas, is leading the all-around standings heading into the finals at the 2009 World Championships at The O2 Arena in London, Great Britain, on Oct. 16. 2008 Olympic team silver-medalist Bridget Sloan of Pittsboro, Ind., also qualified for the all-around finals in fifth place. Newcomer Kayla Williams of Huntington, W.Va., advanced to the vault finals at the top of the rankings. In addition, Ivana Hong of Allen, Texas, Bross and Sloan also will compete in individual event finals. Tim McNeill of Falls Church, Va., and 2008 Olympic silver horizontal bar medalist Jonathan Horton of Houston will represent the USA in the men’s all-around finals tomorrow.

Both Bross and Williams are competing in their first World Championships. In addition to the all-around, Bross will compete in the event finals for uneven bars and floor exercise. Sloan advanced to the bars final, as well as the all-around. Hong qualified for the balance beam finals. The individual event finals are Oct. 17-18. Scores from the preliminary round do not carry forward.

Bross, who trains at WOGA, got a 14.250 for her vault to start the night. On bars, she posted at 15.050, the day’s second highest bars score. Bross had a solid beam routine but had a few steps on her dismount for a 14.150. Her three-event score was 43.450. Wrapping up on floor, her 13.950 qualified her for the event’s finals and moved her into the top spot in the all-around rankings with a total 57.400. Bross is also a reserve athlete for beam finals.

“I’m really excited and I’m just ready for it (finals) to come,” said Bross, who was a member of the 2007 Pan Am Games gold medal team. “I’m just going to work hard and see what happens.

“I really didn’t watch anything until the end when Valeri (Liukin, her coach) came up to me and said something to me about it,” said Bross. “It was really exciting (to be in first), but it is only qualifications. I want to go out and do almost the same thing in finals.”

Sloan, who competed in the third preliminary session, earned a total of 56.075 points and is currently in third place in the all-around rankings. Solid performances on vault and bars pulled Sloan into the top of the rankings. She started on balance beam, where she missed her punch front, with a score of 13.325. On floor, she posted a 13.600. Sloan’s Yurchenko double full on vault scored a 14.550, which gave her a three-event score of 41.475. Her 14.600 on bars qualified her for the event’s finals. Sloan, a member of the 2008 Olympic silver medal team, trains at Sharp’s Gymnastics.

“Bars were the highlight of my day,” said Sloan, who is the current U.S. all-around champion. “After beam, I wanted to do everything as cleanly as possible. My floor was a little rough and as I moved to vault and bars, I knew what my priorities were. This was a good learning experience for me. Every day I learn a bit more and (today) I learned a lot. I’m very excited to come back Friday and show them what I can do.”

Williams, who trains at Gym Nest Inc., hit both of her vaults and earned the day’s highest vault score of 14.812 and a trip to finals. Her first was a Rudi, followed by a Yurchenko double full. On floor she posted a 13.900, where she is the first reserve athlete for the finals.

“I had billions and billions of nerves,” said Williams about her first international event and World Championships, “but I think I handled it pretty well. I think I channeled my nerves into making my routines better. I was nervous on floor because it was my first time out.

“I did well on both (vaults), but especially my second one, the Yurchenko double full,” said Williams. “I think that is the best I can do. I am really proud of how I did, and I hope when I come back to finals, I can learn from this and do even better.”

Hong, who trains at WOGA, performed her beam routine well, receiving a 14.400 and advancing to the finals. She earned a 13.150 for her uneven bars routine.

“I felt really good out there (on beam),” said Hong, who was an alternate on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team and a member of the 2007 World Championships gold medal team. “I felt confident and it felt like a pretty good routine. I didn’t get my full difficulty, but hopefully I will in event finals.”

This year’s World Championships feature competition in the all-around and individual events. The top 24 women in the all-around standings compete in the all-around finals on Oct. 16. For individual events, the top eight on each apparatus from the qualification rounds advanced to the finals (Oct. 17-18). Prelim scores do not carry forward to the final round.

Steven Legendre of Flower Mound, Texas, Danell Leyva of Miami, McNeill and Horton qualified for individual event finals. Legendre, who competes for the University of Oklahoma, will compete in the floor exercise finals. McNeill, who competed for the University of California – Berkeley, was in the top eight for pommel horse, and Leyva, who trains at Universal Gymnastics, and Horton, who trains at Cypress Gymnastics, are both in the horizontal bar finals.

2009 World Championships
London, Great Britain
Oct. 14, 2009
Women’s preliminary round standings
Complete results

1. Rebecca Bross, Plano, Texas/WOGA Gymnastics, 57.400
2. Ana Porgras, Romania, 57.300
3. Lauren Mitchell, Australia, 56.675
Other U.S. qualifier
5. Bridget Sloan, Pittsboro, Ind./Sharp’s Gymnastics, 56.075

1. Kayla Williams, Huntington, W.Va./Gym Nest Inc., 14.812
2. Hong Un Jong, People’s Republic of Korea, 14.787
3. Anna Myzdrikova, Russia, 14.450

Uneven bars
1. He Kexin, China, 15.975
2. Rebecca Bross, Plano, Texas/WOGA Gymnastics, 15.050
3. Cha Yong Hwa, People’s Republic of Korea, 15.025
Other U.S. qualifier
6. Bridget Sloan, Pittsboro, Ind./Sharp’s Gymnastics, 14.600

Balance beam
1. Ana Porgras, Romania, 14.850
2. Kim Un Hyang, People’s Republic of Korea, 14.775
3. Deng Linlin, China, 14.450
U.S. qualifier
4. Ivana Hong, Allen, Texas/WOGA, 14.400
First reserve athlete (from U.S.)
10. Rebecca Bross, Plano, Texas/WOGA, 14.150

Floor exercise
1. Anna Myzdrikova, Russia, 14.500
2. Sui Lu, China, 14.275
3. Ana Porgras, Romania, 14.175
U.S. qualifier
8. Rebecca Bross, Plano, Texas/WOGA, 13.950
First reserve athlete (from U.S.)
9. Kayla Williams, Huntington, W.Va./Gym Nest Inc., 13.900