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BOSTON, Mass., June 7, 2008 – Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines, Iowa/Chow’s Gymnastics, successfully defended her U.S. all-around and floor exercise titles at the 2008 Visa Championships at Agganis Arena at Boston University. Nineteen women qualified to compete at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics, scheduled for June 19-22 in Philadelphia.
Thirteen gymnasts were named to the 2008-09 U.S. Senior National Team and will compete at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics. In addition to Johnson, the members of the national team are: Jana Bieger of Coconut Creek, Fla./Bieger International Gymnastics; Mackenzie Caquatto of Naperville, Ill./Aerials; Olivia Courtney of Orlando, Fla./Orlando Metro; Ivana Hong of Blue Springs, Mo./GAGE; Alaina Johnson of Tyler, Texas/Texas East; Mattie Larson of Los Angeles/All Olympia; Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas/WOGA; Corrie Lothrop of Gaithersburg, Md./Hills; Chellsie Memmel of West Allis, Wis./M&M Gymnastics; Samantha Peszek of Indianapolis, Ind./DeVeau’s; Alicia Sacramone of Winchester, Mass./Brestyan’s; and Randy Stageberg of Chesapeake, Va./Excalibur. The remaining six athletes who will compete at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials are: Britney Ranzy of Gaithersburg, Md./Excalibur; Amber Trani of Richlandtown, Pa./Parkettes; Darling Hill of Mt. Laurel, N.J./Will-Moor; Bridget Sloan of Pittsboro, Ind./Sharp’s; Chelsea Davis of Lakeway, Texas/Texas Dreams; and Shayla Worley of Orlando, Fla./Orlando Metro.
Johnson, who is the 2007 all-around world champion, earned a combined score of 127.500 to win the all-around. Liukin, the 2005-06 U.S. all-around champion, finished second with a 126.500. Memmel, the 2005 all-around world champion, placed third with a 123.150. Rounding out the top five in the all-around were Peszek in fourth and Hong in fifth with scores of 122.000 and 120.750, respectively.
“I was most happy about floor today,” Johnson said. “It’s a new routine and I didn’t feel like it was mine yet, but after today, I feel like I own it, and it fits me.”
Johnson won floor exercise with a combined score of 32.250. Liukin claimed two individual event titles: uneven bars with a score of 34.150 and balance beam with a 32.450. Sacramone, who has three world vault medals to her credit, won vault with a score of 30.700 for her fourth straight U.S. vault crown.
The individual event medalists were: vault – Sacramone (gold) and Ranzy (silver); uneven bars – Liukin (gold), Memmel (silver) and Sloan (bronze); balance beam – Liukin (gold), Johnson (silver) and Sacramone (bronze); and floor exercise – Johnson (gold), Sacramone (silver) and Larson (bronze).
“I just went out and had fun,” Sacramone said. “I held nothing back. I’m in a great place right now because I haven’t peaked yet and I’ll keep up my conditioning and refining for Trials.”
Johnson opened the day by scoring a 16.000 on her Yurchenko two-and-a-half vault. She posted a 15.550 on uneven bars and a 16.300 on balance beam. Johnson finished the competition on floor exercise, scoring a 16.200 on her routine that included a tuck double double on her first pass.
On the uneven bars, Liukin bested the 17.050 she earned on Thursday’s first day of competition by scoring a 17.100, the highest score of the day on any event. She scored a 16.350 on balance beam for her routine that included a front aerial to scale. Liukin also posted a 14.900 on vault and a 15.850 on the floor exercise.
“All in all, I am very happy with how things went this weekend,” Liukin said. “I’m really happy with how things have gone here. I’m glad that summer is finally here and it’s really going to be exciting at Trials.”
Memmel posted a 16.300, her highest score of the day, on her uneven bars routine that included a double front dismount. Her other scores included a 14.750 on vault, a 15.450 on balance beam and a 15.600 on floor exercise.
“It’s the first competition over two days in a long time, so it’s really good for my confidence,” Memmel said. “My body held up.”
Peszek’s high score of the day was a 16.000 on balance beam for her routine that included a standing full to back pike. She also posted scores of 14.950 on vault, 15.550 on uneven bars and 14.750 on the floor exercise.
“I’m excited to go to Trials,” Peszek said. “I now know exactly what I need to do to prepare for Trials.”
Balance beam was Hong’s best event of the night and she claimed a 15.800. She earned a 14.850 on vault, a 15.100 on uneven bars and a 15.150 on the floor exercise.
Scores from both days of competition were combined to determine the U.S. champions, and the top 12 gymnasts in the all-around were named to the U.S. Senior National Team, along with Sacramone. Total attendance for today’s junior and senior sessions was 7,804.
NOTE: Fifteen U.S. men advanced to the U.S. Olympic Trials based on performances at their Visa Championships in Houston, May 22-24: Guillermo Alvarez of Denver/Team Chevron; Alexander Artemev of Lakewood, Colo./Team Chevron; Raj Bhavsar of Houston/Team Chevron; David Durante of Garwood, N.J./Team Chevron; Sean Golden of Camden, N.J./Team Chevron; Joe Hagerty of Rio Ranchero, N.M./Team Chevron; Morgan Hamm of Waukesha, Wis.; Paul Hamm of Waukesha, Wis./Team Chevron; Jonathan Horton of Houston/Team Chevron; Tim McNeill of Falls Church, Va./University of California – Berkley; Justin Spring of Burke, Va./Team Chevron; Kevin Tan of Fremont, Calif./Team Chevron; David Sender of Arlington Heights, Ill./Team Chevron. Yewki Tomita of Tucson, Ariz./Team Chevron; and Sean Townsend of Houston, Texas/Team Chevron.
About Agganis Arena at Boston University
Opened in January 2005, Agganis Arena at Boston University is the next generation in Boston sports and entertainment. It is a state-of-the-art, multipurpose sports and entertainment center. A 290,000-square-foot premier venue with 6,300 seats for hocke