PHILADELPHIA, Pa., June 20, 2008 – 2007 all-around world champion Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines, Iowa, leads the all-around after the first day of the women’s competition at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics, held at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pa. The men’s competition concludes tomorrow at 3 p.m. ET, and the women wrap up on Sunday, June 22, at 6 p.m.
Johnson finished with a total score of 64.000, followed by 2007 balance beam world champion Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas, in second at 63.500. 2005 all-around world champion Chellsie Memmel of West Allis, Wis., was third with a 62.250.
“I definitely don’t feel I’m at my peak,” Johnson said. “I have a ways to go, but we’re on the right path. I don’t believe that I’m even here. Pinch me; it’s a dream.”
With a score of 16.100 for her floor exercise routine that included a double-twisting double back, Johnson moved into first place after three rotations with a score of 48.050. Her final event was vault, and Johnson retained her lead with her 15.950 on her Yurchenko two-and-a-half vault.
Johnson earned the night’s highest scores on three events. Her 15.950 on vault edged past Alicia Sacramone of Winchester, Mass., by just 0.050 points. Johnson also posted the top scores on balance beam with 16.250, and on floor exercise with 16.100.
Liukin’s 16.700 on uneven bars was the highest score of the evening. She finished second on both balance beam and floor exercise with scores of 16.100 and 15.700, respectively. On vault, she posted a 15.000.
“There are definitely things to improve on,” Liukin said. “Even if I have the best meet of my life, I still have things I want to improve on. I get that from my dad because he’s a perfectionist.”
Halfway through the competition, Memmel led the field with a two-event score of 32.150, but dropped to third after the third rotation. She began the day on uneven bars with a 16.150, the second highest of the night. She also earned a 16.000 on balance beam, a 15.300 on floor exercise and a 14.800 on vault.
“I definitely don’t want to get ahead of myself,” Memmel said. “I’m thrilled with how things are going right now, but I can’t lose focus.”
Rounding out the top five in the all-around were Samantha Peszek of Indianapolis, Ind., in fourth and Ivana Hong of Blue Springs, Mo., in fifth, with scores of 61.850 and 60.850, respectively. Peszek tied for third on vault and placed third on floor exercise.
The top two all-around competitors at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics (combined rank order after two days of competition) automatically qualify for the Olympic Team. The balance of the Olympic Team will be named at the conclusion of a Final Selection Camp scheduled for July 16-20.
Tickets are still available for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics, and may be purchased online at ComcastTIX.com, by phone at 1-800-298-4200, or at the Wachovia Center Box Office. Visa is the only card accepted for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics.
Past sites for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for gymnastics are: 2004, Anaheim, Calif.; 1996 and 2000, Boston; 1992, Baltimore, Md.; 1988, Salt Lake City, Utah; and 1980 and 1984, Jacksonville, Fla.
The U.S. Olympic Team Trials for all sports is a collaborative, three-way partnership between the U.S. Olympic Committee, the national governing bodies and the local organizing committees.
About the Wachovia Center
The Wachovia Center, one of the nation’s most premier facilities, has already hosted the l996 World Cup of Hockey, the l997 Stanley Cup Finals, the 1998 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, l999 American Hockey League All-Star Game, the 2000 NCAA Women’s Final Four, the 2000 Republican National Convention, the 2001 NBA Finals, the 2001 NCAA Men’s East Regionals, the 2002 X Games, the 2002 NBA All-Star Game and the 2006 NCAA Men’s First and Second Round Games.
Comcast-Spectacor (comcast-spectacor.com) is the Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment company which owns the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL), the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), the Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL), the two arenas in which their teams play, the Wachovia Center and Wachovia Spectrum, four Flyers Skate Zone community ice skating and hockey rinks and Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. In addition, Comcast-Spectacor is also the principal owner of Global Spectrum, the fastest growing firm in the public assembly management field with more than 70 facilities throughout the United States and Canada; Ovations Food Services, a food and beverage service provider; New Era Tickets, a ticketing and marketing company for public assembly facilities; Front Row Marketing Services, a commercial rights sales company; and 3601 Creative Group, a full-service in-house advertising agency. In a partnership with Disson Skating, Comcast-Spectacor annually produces 10 nationally televised figure skating spectaculars on NBC.
About the Philadelphia Sports Congress
The Philadelphia Sports Congress (PSC), a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, www.PhiladelphiaUSA.travel seeks to attract major sporting events and conventions to the Philadelphia area. The Sports Congress, working in conjunction with the City of Philadelphia, the city’s professional teams and universities, has attracted many events to the city and is currently working on bids for future sporting events. The Philadelphia Sports Congress operates the Army/Navy Game on behalf of the City of Philadelphia.
About USA Gymnastics
Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. Its mission is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in the sport. Its disciplines include men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, and acrobatic gymnastics.