INDIANAPOLIS – Two-time reigning U.S. champion Mary Sanders and two-time runner-up Olga Karmansky will represent the United States in rhythmic gymnastics at the Pan American Games, Aug. 1-17 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

“Mary and Olga, based on their recent competitive results and passion for improving their skill sets, are probably the best medal hopefuls the United States has fielded in several years,” said USA Gymnastics President Bob Colarossi. “We are very excited about their potential in Santo Domingo and in looking ahead to the Rhythmic World Championships in September.”

Sanders, 17, of Toronto, Canada, is a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen, and as recently as 2002 won the Canadian National Championships. She declared that she will compete solely for the United States as of 2003, and recently won the All-Around bronze medal at the International Tournament for the Prize of Julieta Shishmanova in Bourgas, Bulgaria. She also won the gold medal in the Clubs event, a silver medal in Ball, and the bronze medal in both Hoop and Ribbon events.

Sanders is carrying on the gymnastics legacy of her father, Fred, who was the 1963 NCAA Champion in Trampoline. Sanders’ father, who passed away nearly 10 years ago, was her first gymnastics coach.

Karmansky, 17, was born in the Ukraine but resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. She finished first in the all-around at the 2001 Senior Pan American Championships, and has finished second in the U.S. Championships since 2001. Karmansky is following in the footsteps of her mother, Helen, who was also a competitive rhythmic gymnast.

At the 1999 Pan American Games, Jessica Howard finished with the silver medal in the all-around, missing the gold by the narrowest possible margin of 0.001 points.

The 2003 Rhythmic World Championships are Sept. 19-29 in Budapest, Hungary. The U.S. Team for the Rhythmic Worlds will be chosen following a selection camp which concludes on Aug. 3.