Todd Thornton

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., Nov. 27, 2007 — The United States is competing in the men’s and women’s competition of the Good Luck Beijing International Tournament, which is the test event for artistic gymnastics for the 2008 Olympic Games, Nov. 28-Dec. 3, in Beijing, China.  Held at the National Indoor Stadium, it will feature women’s competition in all-around and individual events, and men’s competition in team and individual events. Eight U.S. gymnasts will compete in the competition, which gives each country an opportunity to see the Olympic competition venue in action.


“This event serves an important purpose in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “The athletes and coaches get a feel for the competitive and cultural environment without the pressure of the Olympic Games. It is also a good opportunity to provide increased international experience and exposure to additional athletes in the year leading up to the Olympics.”


2005 world all-around champion Chellsie Memmel of West Allis, Wis., and Bridget Sloan of Pittsboro, Ind., a member of the U.S. women’s team that won the 2007 world team gold medal, are competing in the women’s all-around.  The U.S. Men’s Team is comprised of: David Durante of Garwood, N.J.; Sean Golden of Camden, N.J.; Sho Nakamori of Albany, Calif.; David Sender of Arlington Heights, Ill.; Clay Strother of Jasper, Texas; and Todd Thornton of Houston, Texas.


At the 2005 World Championships, Memmel became the first U.S. woman to win the world all-around title since Shannon Miller in 1994. An alternate for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team, Memmel was the 2003 uneven bars world co-champion and a member of the team that won the team world title in 2003. She also has three world silver medals to her credit (uneven bars and balance beam in 2005, team in 2006). A floor exercise skill, the Memmel, was named after her.


Sloan was a member of the 2007 World Championships Team that won the team gold medal. At the 2007 Visa Championships, she was second on floor exercise and fifth in the all-around and uneven bars. She won the all-around, placed second on the uneven bars, and finished third on vault, balance beam and floor exercise (tie) at the 2007 U.S. Classic. Sloan was a member of the U.S. Team that won the team gold medal at the USA vs. Great Britain International Competition in March.


At the 2007 World Championships, Durante helped the U.S. men place fourth and was an all-around finalist. At the 2007 Visa Championships, he won his first U.S. all-around title, as well as the parallel bars crown. He won a team bronze medal at the 2007 Pan American Games and placed third on pommel horse at the 2007 Winter Cup Challenge. Durante was the U.S. World Championships Team alternate in 2006.


Golden was a member of the 2007 U.S. World Championships Team that placed fourth in the team competition. He earned his second-career vault title at the 2007 Visa Championships, where he also placed second on still rings. At the 2007 Pan Am Games, Golden won a silver medal on still rings and a team bronze medal. He competed in the 2005 World Championships.


Nakamori was the alternate on the 2007 U.S. World Championships Team. He placed third in the all-around and on high bar at the 2007 Visa Championships. Nakamori’s highest finish at the 2006 Visa Championships was seventh on floor exercise.


Sender, a member of the 2006 World Championships Team, finished third on still rings, fourth (tie) on vault and fifth in the all-around at the 2007 Visa Championships. He won vault at both the 2007 Winter Cup Challenge and the 2006 Visa Championships. Sender tied for first on vault at the 2007 NCAA Championships.