McClure Wins Pommel Horse Bronze Medal for USA at 2001 Goodwill Games
posted on 08/29/2001
Russian Olympic Gold Medalist Elena Zamolodchikova Earns Gold on Vault and Floor
Brisbane, Australia- The 2001 Goodwill Games got underway tonight at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Center with American Brett McClure (Mill Creek, Wash.) earning a 9.362 on pommel horse to bring home a bronze medal.
"I think this is a breakthrough for U.S. men's gymnastics and a hint of what's to come," said McClure. "This really helps my confidence and puts my gymnastics in perspective."
Russian 2000 Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist Elena Zamolodchikova earned gold medals on both vault and floor exercise with 9.393 and 8.950, respectively. Her teammate Svetlana Khorkina earned the silver on floor with 8.587 and fourth on vault with 8.968.
"I am very happy to win tonight," said Zamolodchikova. "I am glad to have done the vault well since it is a new horse. I know I want to compete for a long time in gymnastics and I am really hoping for a second Olympics. I really like Australia because I do well here."
"I feel so much better now," said Khorkina after her floor routine. "Yes, I will go to another Olympic Games."
Jordan Jovtchev, Olympic bronze medalist from Bulgaria, earned gold on men's floor exercise with 9.375 followed by Olympian Marian Dragulescu of Romania with 9.312 and Russian Olympian Alexei Bondarenko with 9.237. Reigning Olympic All-Around Champion Alexei Nemov, competing for the first time since the Sydney Olympics, finished in fifth with 8.975. McClure finished eighth with 8.5.
"Everybody kind of struggled on floor," said Jovtchev. "I am happy though with my performance because I trained hard and I hit it. That's always what I want to do is hit."
Winning gold on pommel horse was Olympic and World Champion Marius Urzica from Romania with 9.762. Taking second place was Xu Huang from China with 9.412 and McClure was third with 9.362.
"I expected to win," said Urzica. "I hoped I could get the gold medal and then stay on another few years till the Olympics in Greece."
"It is his moment. There is no one that I know that can beat him," said Octavian Belu, coach of Urzica and the Romanian Team. "He has some of the most difficult elements of anyone in the world and that's why he gets the better scores."
American Kaitlin White (Allen, Texas) from World Olympic Gymnastics finished eighth on vault with 8.168. Tia Orlando (Souderton, Pa.) finished seventh on floor exercise with 7.725.
The trampoline competition was won by Russian Alexandre Moskalenko with 71.5 on the men's side and Anna Dogonadze from Germany on the women's side with 68.00. American Ryan Weston (Chubbock, Idaho) finished seventh with 66.80 while Erin Maguire (Pocatello, Idaho) placed eighth.
"I learned from this competition that I am definitely good enough to compete with the top competitors in the world," said Weston. "I am not satisfied with seventh and I knew I could've been up higher and possibly in the medals, but I had a great time here and it was a really good experience to compete in front of an audience this big. I had a great time."
"It's awesome to be here with all of these Olympic and World champions," said Maguire. "I've been nervous all week but it's been a good experience and I've learned a lot. Hopefully it will help me down the line. My long term goals are to train for the 2003 Worlds and I would like to make the 2004 Olympic squad."
2001 Goodwill Games competition continues Thursday with the rhythmic all-around and the uneven bars, parallel bars and high bar event finals. Three-time rhythmic national champion Jessica Howard will compete in rhythmic while Hollie Vise will compete uneven bars, Jason Furr will compete parallel bars and McClure will compete high bar.