SAN JOSE, Calif. – Rhythmic gymnast Mary Sanders and trampolinist Jennifer Parilla earned a return trip to Athens on Saturday by winning the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Rhythmic Gymnastics and Trampoline at the San Jose State University Events Center. [RESULTS]
Sanders, the three-time consecutive rhythmic national champion, earned an all-around mark of 105.175. More importantly, Sanders scored 26 points or better on all four events, a first for her, marking the successful completion of a new and more difficult ribbon routine.
“It’s good to be consistent like that,” a relieved Sanders said. “I’m usually a little up and down, especially my ribbon – that’s usually about two points lower. I was really thankful this time to hit each of my four routines, and to have the judges recognize that they’re better routines and more difficult than I’ve done before.”
Sanders easily swept the 2004 Visa U.S. Championships all-around competition June 2-5 in Nashville, finishing more than 10 points ahead of her next competitor, Olga Karmansky. Karmansky (Brooklyn, N.Y./Nova Athletics) finished second with a score of 95.525.
Sanders qualified the United States for the individual rhythmic competition in Athens by finishing ninth in the all-around preliminary competition at the 2003 Rhythmic World Championships on Sept. 24, 2003 in Budapest, Hungary. Sanders’ ninth-place finish is the best-ever finish for a U.S. rhythmic athlete as were her two fourth-place finishes in the clubs and hoop prelims, followed by seventh-place finish in both event finals.
Sanders also placed ninth in the Athens Olympic Test Event in March. Rhythmic gymnastics competition begins on Aug. 26 at the 2004 Olympic Games.
Parilla, a five-time national champion on trampoline, earned her second Olympic berth with a three-jump total score of 101.70. Parilla became the first women’s trampoline Olympian for the United States by competing in the 2000 Olympic Games, where she finished ninth.
“I think I’m going to Athens with a different level of focus than Sydney,” Parilla said. “Sydney, I was just excited to go. It was the first Olympics as a sport for trampoline. The man who invented the trampoline was there. And the first world champion was there.
“In my second Olympics, I’m more looking forward to the competition and going home with a medal.”
Parilla qualified the U.S. for a position in the 2004 Olympics by placing 16th at the 2003 Trampoline World Championships on Oct. 27 in Hannover, Germany. Parilla placed ninth in the Athens Olympic Test Event with a two-jump total of 62.50. Women’s trampoline in the 2004 Olympics will be contested August 21.
The Trials will be televised from 10-11 a.m. ET June 26 on the USA Network.
Individual rhythmic gymnastics first appeared in the Olympic Games in 1984, with trampoline following in 2000.
Rhythmic Final Results
1, Mary Sanders, 105.175. 2, Olga Karmansky, 95.525. 3, Lisa Wang, 88.500. 4, Aline Bakchajian, 84.275. 5, Brenann Stacker, 84.100. 6, Shayna Javornicky, 81.900. 7, Alexandra Licona, 78.225. 8, Valery Kharina, 74.150.
Trampoline Final Results
1, Jennifer Parilla, 101.70. 2, Jaime Strandmark, 96.60. 3, Amanda Bailey, 95.70. 4, Kim Poling, 93.60. 5, Nicole Roethle, 71.80.