Boston – Five-time U.S. National Champion and 1996 Olympian Blaine Wilson, 26, (Columbus, Ohio) leads the U.S. Olympic Team Trials with a weighted score of 81.385 after the men’s preliminary competition today at the FleetCenter.

Wilson led throughout the entire competition, scoring a 9.950 on the still rings, the highest score of the evening.

Paul Hamm
, 17, (Waukesha, Wis.) is in second place with 79.580 while Sean Townsend, 21, (Dallas, Texas) is in third with 78.485. Stephen McCain, 26, (Houston, Texas) placed fourth with 78.445, followed by Jamie Natalie, 21, (Wilmington, Del.) with 77.650. Morgan Hamm, 17, (Waukesha, Wis.) is in sixth with 77.610 followed by two-time Olympian John Roethlisberger, 30, (Falcon Heights, Minn.) with 77.225. Brett McClure, 19, (Mill Creek, Wash.) rounds out the top eight positions with 77.155.
The 2000 Men’s Olympic Team will be determined after the men’s finals on Saturday. Six gymnasts and up to two alternates will be named to the 2000 Men’s Olympic Team.
Forty percent of the score from the John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships combined with 60 percent of the score at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials is used to determine a final ranking, or a combined rank order. The top 14 gymnasts plus approved petitions from the 2000 John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships in St. Louis, July 26-29, advanced to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
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Blaine Wilson:
“I felt on tonight. It was all about preparation just staying focused and trying to stick as many dismounts as I possibly could…I am my own worst critic-I didn’t score a 60 so there is still room for improvement. Just gonna go back and clean up some little things.”

Sean Townsend:

“It wasn’t my day. I was doing fine the first two events and then my energy just dropped on rings. I came back a little bit and then it happened again on high bar- I just had no energy. I was just really slow.”

Morgan Hamm:

“I was a little more nervous than I should have been. I think I did well though. I just want to focus on Saturday night.”

John Roethlisberger:

“I cannot even tell you what happened. I am not even upset, I am beside myself. I have never had a series of meets as bad as I’ve had in the last three competitions, but the last thing I am doing is giving up. I am not going to go out a quitter. It is my time and I am going to make it happen. I will never give up. I don’t care if I have no chance- I am going to try to get a 9.9 on that last routine. One thing I will never do is go out as a quitter…I’ve prepared excellent for this competition and for the national championships…I worked my butt off.”

Brett McClure:

“I did alright – I was off some areas and on in others. I just need to figure out how to use this for the second day of competition.”