INDIANAPOLIS – The 2005 American Cup presented by T.J. Maxx lived up to its billing as a showdown of world-class talent on Friday during event preliminaries at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale , New York . The top eight athletes will compete for World Cup points and $46,000 in prize money in Saturday’s finals slated for 2:30 p.m. ET .


Americans dominated the women’s competition, taking the top two qualifying slots in three of four events. Nastia Liukin ( Plano , Texas / WOGA) earned held off teammate Chellsie Memmel ( West Allis , Wis. /M&M) to qualify 1-2 in both the balance beam and uneven bars finals. Liukin scored a 9.675 to Memmel’s 9.650 on bars, and followed that performance with a 9.500 to Memmel’s 9.450 on the beam.
Liukin, who is making her senior debut at the American Cup, earned five individual medals at the 2003 Pan American Games against a senior field. Memmel earned four medals at the ’03 Pan Ams, and went on to win team and uneven bars gold at the ’03 Worlds before sitting out most of 2004 with a left foot injury.
Teammate Alicia Sacramone ( Winchester , Mass. /Brestyan’s) topped the list of qualifiers on vault, earning a two-vault average of 9.337. Sacramone, who won gold on vault at the 2004 World Cup Final in Birmingham , England , also qualified third to the floor exercise final at 9.350. Melanie Sinclair (Orlando/Orland Metro) finished a close second on vault at 9.312, and advances to the floor final in sixth place with a score of 9.225.
On the men’s side, the Fighting Illini’s Justin Spring ( Burke , Va. ) qualified first to the men’s high bar final with a mark of 9.450. Spring is a former U.S. Junior Champion and the 2004 NCAA high bar champion. U.S. teammate Sean Townsend (Houston/HGA) qualified third on high bar at 9.375.

Hometown favorite, Ronkonkoma ‘s Eric LaMorte (Eastern Gymnastics ), competing in his first meet as a member of the U.S. National Team, qualified second to the still rings final with a score of 9.500. Alexander Artemev (Lakewood, Colo./5280) earned a 9.275 to qualify third for the final on his specialty, the pommel horse, and tied for fifth on floor at 8.750. Finally, David Sender (Chicago/Stanford) finished fourth on still rings at 9.300.

Other top qualifiers include Olympic bronze medalist Patricia Moreno of Spain who qualified first with a 9.475 on floor. Olympic team gold medalist Hisashi Mizutori of Japan qualified first on men’s floor with a 9.100 with teammate Kazuya Ueda first on parallel bars at 9.350. Hungary’s Krisztian Berki stands first on pommel horse at 9.500, five-time rings World Cup medalist Yuri Van Gelder is first on rings at 9.675, and Netherlands’ Jeffrey Wammes earned a two-vault average of 9.375 to advance to Saturday’s final.

The 30 th American Cup, a FIG World Cup competition, features more than 70 of the world’s best gymnasts from 27 nations competing in an event finals only format. The top eight athletes from Friday’s prelims advance to Saturday’s finals. Athletes are competing for World Cup points to qualify to the bi-annual World Cup Final and for more than $46,000 in prize money.

Tickets for the American Cup finals on Feb. 26 range from $15-75 and are on sale now through, by calling (631) 888-9000 or (212) 307-7171, by visiting the Nassau Coliseum box office, or through local gymnastics clubs listed at Spectators holding a ticket for the Feb. 26 American Cup will be admitted to the event prelims on Feb. 25.

The 2005 American Cup will be televised live on NBC Sports from 4-6 p.m. on Feb. 26.

2005 American Cup presented by T.J. Maxx

Feb. 25-26, Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale , N.Y.

Preliminary Results

(top 8 advance to final)



Vault Preliminaries

1, Alicia Sacramone, USA , 9.337.

2, Melanie Sinclair, USA , 9.312.

3, Cheng Fei, CHN, 9.237.

4, Jeny Ibarra, MEX, 8.937.

5, Iyerida Mogollon, MEX, 8.887.

6, Huang Lu, CHN, 8.862.

7, Tania Gerner, ESP, 8.762.

8, Marci Bernholtz, CAN, 8.575.


Uneven Bars Preliminaries

1, Nastia Liukin , USA , 9.675.

2, Chellsie Memmel , USA , 9.650.

3, Elizabeth Tweddle, GBR, 9.550.

4, Liu Juan, CHN, 9.325.

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