Men’s pommel horse medalists at the World University Games
BANGKOK, Thailand – As the lone U.S. individual qualifier, Derek Helsby (Orlando, Fla./Penn State) capitalized on the opportunity in his favorite event – the pommel horse – and claimed the bronze medal at the 2007 Summer World University Games in Bangkok, Thailand.

“I’m ecstatic – this is my favorite event,” said Helsby. “This is my first senior international meet, so coming home with a medal is more than I could ask for.”

In the field of eight competitors, Helsby recorded a score of 14.575 on the apparatus. Saso Bertonceli from Slovakia won gold (15.250) and Vid Hidvegi took home silver (14.625).

Team USA finished seventh overall in the team competition, and Helsby was the only U.S. gymnast to qualify on an individual apparatus. Tyler Yamauchi (Sugarland, Texas/Illinois) was an alternate on the floor but did not compete in the finals.

Helsby, who will be a junior in the fall, was a member of the Penn State squad that captured the team title at the 2007 NCAA Championships. He advanced to the finals in pommel horse at the NCAA Championships, placing third, and earned All-American honors. Helsby was a member of the U.S. Junior National Team, finishing second in junior all-around and pommel horse at the 2004 Visa Championships.

The 2007 Summer World University Games run from August 8-18. Team USA consists of 144 athletes – 68 women and 76 men. Overall, more than 140 countries are participating, and nearly 8,000 athletes competing. The World University Games or Universiade, which include both summer and winter versions, are held every two years for student-athletes between the ages of 17 and 28. Eligible athletes must be registered for a full course of study at a university or have obtained their degrees within a year of the Games. The World University Games, sponsored by FISU, the International University Sport Federation, bring together top collegiate athletes from around the world for 11 days of competition in a multi-sport Olympic-style event. The U.S. entered the Summer World University Games for the first time in 1965 and hosted the 1993 Games in Buffalo, N.Y.