Las Vegas-Two-time Olympian and five-time National Champion Blaine Wilson (Columbus, Ohio/Ohio State University) won the 2001 Winter Cup all-around competition with a score of 52.650, this evening at the Pepsi AllSport Arena in Las Vegas. Wilson earned the highest marks of the night on still rings with 9.65 and high bar with 9.4. Wilson recently finished sixth in the all-around competition at the 2000 Olympic Games, the highest U.S. finish ever in a non-boycotted Olympics.

"It feels good to be back," said Wilson. "I have a totally different perspective as far as gymnastics is concerned. I am just out here to have fun and do my best. I wasn’t really concerned with winning when I got here. This is the first time I have actually done routines since the Olympic Games, so I am excited."
Nearly 100 of the nation’s top male gymnasts gathered in Las Vegas for the Winter Cup in their first attempt to compete the new Code of Points for the present Olympic quadrennium. Rounding out the top six finishers were Clayton Strother (Jasper, Texas/University of Minnesota) in second place with 52.075, Raj Bhavsar (Houston, Texas/Ohio State University) in third scoring 52.050, Todd Thornton (Houston, Texas/Team Texaco-Houston) in fourth with 51.675, Jason Gatson (Mesa, Ariz./Team Texaco-USOTC) in fifth scoring 51.600 and Kris Zimmerman (Winnetka, Ill./University of Michigan) in sixth with a score of 51.450.
Three spots on the 2000-2001 U.S. Senior National Team were up for grabs at the 2001 Winter Cup. Positions were earned by Strother, Bhavsar and Thornton. 2000 Olympians Wilson, Townsend, Paul and Morgan Hamm and Stephen McCain are guaranteed a spot for the entire year based on their desire to continue training for the 2001 World Championships. John Roethlisberger, the sixth member of the 2000 Olympic Team, has retired from competitive gymnastics and was a vault judge at Winter Cup. Jamie Natalie, Yewki Tomita and Justin Toman are also on the Senior National Team based on their results at the 2000 Olympic Team Trials.
Individual event champions of the Winter Cup Challenge were crowned Friday evening. Winning the floor exercise with 9.275 was Strother, who is currently first in NCAA all-around rankings. Don Jackson (Littleton, Colo./University of Iowa) won the pommel horse with a 9.1 while Chris Lakeman (Rolling Meadows, Ill./Penn State University) won still rings with a 9.6. Jason Furr (Houston, Texas/Team Texaco-Houston), the leader after the preliminary sessions, won vault with a 9.175. Wilson and Gatson tied for the parallel bars title with 9.050 and Zach Roberts (Mission Valley-YMCA) took the high bar with a 9.2.
The 2001 Winter Cup featured collegiate stars from Ohio State University, Penn State University, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Massachusetts, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Oklahoma and University of Washington. A significant change for the men’s collegiate program this Olympic quadrennium is that they will compete under the FIG Code of Points instead of competing a separate code for NCAA gymnastics.