Memmel wins world all-around title
posted on 11/25/2005

MELBOURNE, Australia – The USA’s Chellsie Memmel of West Allis, Wis., barely edged out teammate Nastia Liukin of Plano, Texas, to win the women’s all-around title at the 2005 World Gymnastics Championships in Melbourne, Australia. This is the first time the United States has finished one-two in the women’s world all-around. Just 0.001 separated the two, making it the closest finish since 1985 when two Soviets tied for the title.


Memmel and Liukin, both of whom are coached by their fathers, traded the lead after the second and third rotations. The floor exercise, the final event, determined the outcome of the all-around. Memmel, who was second going into the last event, earned a 9.537 on floor to move her into first with a total 37.824. Performing after Memmel, Liukin needed to post a 9.514 on floor to regain the lead, but earned a 9.512 to finish with a total of 37.823. Australian Monette Russo won the bronze medal, winning her country’s first individual world medal in women’s gymnastics.

"I'm amazed right now," said Memmel, who is the first U.S. woman to win the all-around since Shannon Miller in 1994. "It hasn't sunk in yet. I can't believe it."

"I just came in really prepared. I had a lot of training under my belt and I just was thinking to take it one event at a time. It was a combination of [all my event scores], but definitely my floor routine was the strongest," said Memmel. "I owe a lot to my Dad. This is just a great finish for this year."

Memmel started on vault, earning a 9.325. She pulled into the lead after scoring a 9.537 on the uneven bars. She earned a 9.425 on the balance beam, finishing with a 9.537 on floor.

"I just told her to do every routine as best as she could," said Andrew Memmel, who coaches Chellsie at M&M Gymnastics. "I told her if there was ever a time to do her best floor routine, tonight was the night."

"The highlight was the floor routine. Her pike full-in was the best part of her routine," said A. Memmel. "We made it. We got gold. We did it."

Liukin’s effort was equally impressive. After a 9.137 on vault, she posted two straight scores of 9.587 on the uneven bars and the balance beam. Her beam score put her in first with a 0.024 lead over Memmel. On floor, Liukin competed after Memmel, giving her the opportunity to move past her teammate. Liukin’s 9.512 gave her a 37.823 total and the world all-around silver medal.

When asked about her thoughts going into her floor routine, Liukin said, "I was just basically concentrating on doing my routine the way I have been doing it the last three weeks in training. I knew it was close, but I was just thinking about the floor routine."

"(Winning the silver medal) feels great," said Liukin. "I've been working really hard for this so it's great to get the silver medal. To get a reward for all the training I have done, that's really good."

Both Memmel and Liukin are competing in event finals over the weekend, along with teammates Alicia Sacramone of Winchester, Mass., and Jason Gatson of Mesa, Ariz. On Saturday, Sacramone competes on vault, with Liukin and Memmel competing on the uneven bars. On Sunday, all four compete: Liukin on the balance beam and floor exercise; Memmel on the balance beam; Gatson on the parallel bars; and Sacramone on the floor exercise.

World Championships Sports Network (WCSN)
is carrying live, final-round coverage from Melbourne on the Internet, with coverage of the event also available on-demand. The Webcast is available for just $9.95. Bart Conner, Nadia Comaneci, Blaine Wilson and Tasha Schwikert are providing the expert commentary for the Web cast... |MORE INFO |

Memmel and Liukin are the first Americans to finish one-two in the women’s world all-around. Their 0.001 difference is the closest finish behind the 1985 gold-medal tie for the Soviet Union’s Elena Shushonova and Oksana Omelianchik. It is also the first one-two finish for the event since Russia’s Svetlana Khorkina beat Natalia Ziganshina in 2001.

This is the fourth world all-around gold medal for the United States. Miller was the last American to win the world all-around title; she won back-to-back crowns in 1993-94. The only other U.S. woman to win the world all-around title was Kim Zmeskal in 1991.
I
n this year’s men’s all-around, Todd Thornton of Pearland, Texas, finished 20th.