Ukraine Takes International 3-on-3 Gold
posted on 03/08/1998

FORT WORTH, Texas - Led by newly-crowned Visa American Cup champion Viktoriya Karpenko, Team Ukraine won the gold medal of the International 3-on-3 Gymnastics Championships, held at the Fort Worth Tarrant County Convention Center Arena Sunday afternoon.

 

Karpenko scored a 9.750 on floor exercise in the final event of the competition to give her team a score of 28.800, edging past the Russian squad’s 28.690. Karpenko received support from current rhythmic gymnastics world champion Yelena Vitrichenko, who scored the only perfect 10.0 of the weekend with her ribbon routine in the championship round.


"I’m happy about winning today, especially after yesterday," said Karpenko, 16, who claimed the women’s all-around title in the Visa American Cup on Saturday. "It is fun to be able to compete as a team and share my success with my teammates. I’m just trying to stay away from the accidents." Karpenko was unable to compete at the 1997 World Championships due to injury.

The United States team, led by two-time Visa American Cup champion Blaine Wilson (Columbus, Ohio), was tied for second in the qualifying round, but slipped to fourth in the finals.

"This is a fun event, and I went into it with the idea of having fun," said Wilson. "I was a little tired after the last two days, but I was surprised at how good I felt on rings (in the qualifying round). My legs were killing me in the final round, and I watered down my floor routine a bit."

Natalie Lacuesta (Wilmette, Ill.), the current USA national rhythmic champion, wasn’t surprised by the perfect score Vitrichenko received. "The Ukrainians are perfectionists," said Lacuesta, who along with Lindsay Wing (Houston, Texas) rounded out the USA squad. "No matter how many times you see their routines, they’re perfect."

"I didn’t feel fully in control," said Wing, who suffered two falls on balance beam in the final round. "I was a little off with my key thoughts and wasn’t completely in tune. It was my first time competing in an event like this, and I didn’t really know what to expect. We’ve been working on adding difficulty to my routines, and that’s made me a little inconsistent in practice."

The event will be televised on a tape delay basis by NBC on March 14 at 2 p.m. EST.

For more information about USA Gymnastics and its programs and events, access USA Gymnastics Online on the Internet at http://www.usa-gymnastics.org.

International 3-on-3 Gymnastics Championships
Fort Worth Tarrant County Convention Center Arena
Fort Worth Texas, March 8, 1998

Preliminary Round (top four advance to final round) -- 1, Ukraine (Viktoriya Karpenko, Valeriy Goncharov and Yelena Vitrichenko), 28.730. 2 (tie), USA 1 (Lindsay Wing, Houston, Texas; Blaine Wilson, Columbus, Ohio; and Natalie Lacuesta, Wilmette, Ill.) and Russia (Anna Kovaleva, Alexei Bondarenko and Ekaterina Fokina), 28.555. 4, France (Elvire Teza, Dimitri Karbanenko and Eva Serrano), 28.155. 5, USA 2 (Kristy Powell, Cincinnati, Ohio; John Roethlisberger, Minneapolis, Minn.; and Kate Jeffress, Rockville, Md.), 28.015. 6, China (Meng Fei, Yang Wei and Pu Yun Fei), 27.800. 7, Mexico (Denisse Lopez, Rafael Garcia and Karemina Gutierrez), 25.562.

Final Round -- 1, Ukraine, 28.800. 2, Russia, 28.690. 3, France, 28.415. 4, USA 1, 25.880.