Americans White and Roethlisberger Medal
Orlando, Fla.- Elena Produnova of Russia and Eric Lopez of Cuba were crowned winners of the 25th Visa American Cup today at the T.D. Waterhouse Centre.
Produnova scored 38.461 to win the women’s all-around, with her highest mark a 9.712 on floor exercise. At the 1999 World Championships she finished fourth in the all-around and won a team silver medal. She was also the winner of the RCA Gymnastics Challenge in Las Vegas, the first event of the Visa American Cup Series.
Lopez finished with an all-around score of 56.624 with his highest score a 9.600 on pommel horse. He was the Pan American Games all-around champion in 1999, 1995 and 1991.
American Morgan White (Cincinnati, Ohio) won the all-around silver medal, scoring 37.730. U.S. teammate Tasha Schwikert (Las Vegas, Nev.) placed fourth with a score of 37.593.
“Today was the most nervous I have ever been in competition,” said White. “I put a lot of pressure on myself since I have been here before there were more expectations. I am so happy about my performance. This is huge for me. It helps my confidence tremendously. The fact that I can overcome my nerves and channel it into energy makes me feel great.”
“I wanted to come here to hit, which I did. Little things were not as I wanted, but overall I was pleased with my performance today,” said Tasha Schwikert.
Two-time Olympian John Roethlisberger (Falcon Heights, Minn.) earned a bronze medal. Roethlisberger, a two-time Visa American Cup winner scored 56.075. Teammate Jay Thornton placed seventh with a score of 54.424.
“I did a couple new skills today,” said Roethlisberger. “My gymnastics is heading in the right direction, but I am the kind of person who always wants to be on the winner’s podium, so anytime I’m not, there is always a part of me that is not satisfied. This was definitely a positive step toward Sydney. I want to push myself to be perfect and I feel very optimistic about what myself and our team can accomplish in Sydney.”
“I was happy with how today went because my game plan was to be as aggressive as possible,” said Thornton. “I knew this would be one of my last opportunities to compete my routines with full difficulty before Championships and Trials. I was especially aggressive with high bar. I know how much work I have to do now. In that respect I was happy with how I did. I love it when my wife and family are here to cheer me on.”
During the competition, several past American Cup champions were honored, including inaugural champions Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci. The event was started in 1976 to commemorate the American bicentennial.