INDIANAPOLIS – Annia Hatch, Ashley Postell and Carly Patterson punched their tickets to Anaheim and the 2003 World Championships on Saturday following an intense five-day evaluation at the National Team Selection Camp at the Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville, Texas.
The three join U.S. All-Around Champion Courtney Kupets, and runners-up Hollie Vise and Tasha Schwikert who were automatically named to the Team after finishing among the top three at the U.S. Championships, June 19-22 in Milwaukee, Wis. The Worlds Team alternates are Terin Humphrey and Samantha Sheehan.
"When you consider that the three athletes added to the Team tonight are a world champion, a world medalist and the reigning Visa American Cup champion, it’s quite obvious that our program has never been as strong as it is right now," said USA Gymnastics President Bob Colarossi. "Every time the U.S. has hosted a major gymnastics competition, great things have happened. I think we can expect great things from this talented team as well."
The 2003 World Gymnastics Championships, Aug. 16-24 at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, will award individual event gold medals as well as team titles in both men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics disciplines. The World Championships also serve as the only route for athletes and countries to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games. The U.S. women begin competition in session 6, subdivision 2 of the team preliminaries slated for 7-10 p.m. on Aug. 17.
Kupets (Gaithersburg, Md.), the reigning Uneven Bars World Champion, proved consistent at the U.S. Championships, taking the All-Around despite a hard press from Vise and Schwikert. Schwikert (Las Vegas, Nev.) hadn’t competed in a year when she showed up at the 2003 Nationals to make a strong bid for her third consecutive title. Vise (Dallas, Texas) is one of nine athletes who moved up to the senior ranks in 2003, and quickly proved herself by winning the Balance Beam title on the first day of the Championships.
The 2003 Worlds will be Hatch’s (West Haven, Conn.) second – the seven-time Cuban champ, formerly Annia Portuondo, finished third on the vault at the 1996 World Championships. Hatch led the All-Around at the U.S. Championships after preliminaries, and also won a gold medal on the vault.
Postell (Burke, Va.) is returning to the World Championships after finishing first on the Beam at the 2002 Worlds in Debrecen, Hungary. She reiterated her strength on the beam by scoring a 9.800 at the U.S. Championships and won the Floor Exercise with a 9.450.
Patterson (Baton Rouge, La.), after building a 4-for-4 record in 2003 including victories at the Visa American Cup and Pacific Challenge, sat out Nationals with a stress fracture to her left arm. She was cleared to compete June 24.
The National Team Selection Camp also served as the selection camp for the U.S. Women’s Pan American Games Team. Named to the Pan Ams team were: Nastia Liukin, Allyse Ishino, Chellsie Memmel, Marcia Newby, Courtney McCool and Tia Orlando, with alternates Tabitha Yim, Liz Tricase and Nicole Harris. Pan American Games appointments are pending USOC approval.
The 2003 Pan American Games are Aug. 1-17 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Gymnastics competition is scheduled for Aug. 3-6. The U.S. women finished second at the 1999 Pan American Games, and captured four individual event finals medals plus the All-Around gold won by Morgan White.
The U.S. Men’s World Championships Team will be selected on Sunday, July 13 during the World Championships Preparation Camp to be held July 9-18 in Columbus, Ohio. Paul Hamm and Jason Gatson, by placing first and second in the All-Around at the U.S. Championships, are guaranteed berths on the Team. The remaining four members of the team and one alternate will be selected from camp participants Blaine Wilson, Brett McClure, Morgan Hamm, Raj Bhavsar and Alexander Artemev.
Individual ticket prices range from $22-$75 depending on the date and session. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com, the Arrowhead Pond box office, by phone at 714-740-2000, and at all Ticketmaster outlets.
The World Championships will be televised nationally on NBC Sports on Aug. 23 and 24 from 2-4 p.m. EST, plus one hour of primetime coverage from 7-8 p.m. Aug. 24.
For more information, visit www.worlds03.com.
2003 U.S. Women’s World Championships Team (name, age, hometown/club)
Annia Hatch, 25, West Haven, Conn./Stars; Courtney Kupets, 16, Gaithersburg, Md./Hill’s; Carly Patterson, 15, Baton Rouge, La./WOGA; Ashley Postell, 16, Burke, Va./Capitol GTC; Tasha Schwikert, 18, Las Vegas, Nev./Gym Cats; Hollie Vise, 15, Dallas, Texas/WOGA; alternate Terin Humphrey, 16, Bates City, Mo./Great American; alternate Samantha Sheehan, 17, Villa Hills, Ky./Cincinnati Gymnastics.
2003 U.S. Women’s Pan American Games Team (name, age, hometown/club)
Nastia Liukin, 13, Moscow, Russia/WOGA; Allyse Ishino, 15, Santa Ana, Calif./Charter Oaks; Chellsie Memmel, 15, West Allis, Wis./SALTO; Marcia Newby, 15, Virginia Beach, Va./Excalibur; Courtney McCool, 15, Kansas City, Mo./Great American; Tia Orlando, 15, Souderton, Pa./Parkettes; alternate Tabitha Yim, 17, Irvine, Calif./Charter Oaks; alternate Liz Tricase, 16, Itasca, Ill./Illinois Gymnastics; alternate Nicole Harris, 15, Allentown, Pa./Parkettes.
Flash Quotes from the 2003 U.S. Women’s World Gymnastics Championships media teleconference:
Bob Colarossi, USA Gymnastics President
"I can’t begin to express how thrilled we are with the quality of athletes and the preparation of this team. This is by far the deepest, strongest team we have ever fielded at a World Championships. … Our girls are ready to make a very loud and clear statement to the world."
Martha Karolyi, USA Gymnastics National Team Coordinator
"I am very happy with the composition of the team. The decision was very difficult. The strength of this team is excellent. I feel we can competie with all the leading nations and attain one of the highest levels of the podium. During the selection process, we spent a lot of time examining the composition of the team to see how we could complement the skills of Courtney Kupets, Hollie Vise and Tasha Schwikert. I believe we have selected the best possible team, one that will allow us to create the optimal lineup, one that will help in the team results. If the team does good, then the individual athletes are doing good, and I think we will do well in the