INDIANAPOLIS – World Cup medalist Melanie Sinclair will replace Olympian Mohini Bhardwaj on the U.S. Women’s roster for the 2005 American Cup, Feb. 25-26 at Nassau Coliseum in New York .
Sinclair was selected during the Women’s National Team Training Camp, which concludes in Hunstville , Texas today. Sinclair, 17, is a native of Orlando and competes for Orlando Metro Gymnastics under Jeff Wood. Bhardwaj withdrew from consideration on Monday.
Sinclair enjoyed a strong fall season, most recently finishing second on vault and floor at the Pan American Gymnastics Union individual event championships in Maracaibo , Venezuela in December. She also earned silver on the uneven bars at the World Cup event in Ghent, Belgium, and finished third in vault and beam at the DTB World Cup in Cottbus , Germany.
Sinclair joins a strong U.S. line-up which includes Chellsie Memmel ( West Allis , Wis. /M&M), Alicia Sacramone ( Winchester , Mass. /Brestyan’s) and Nastia Liukin ( Plano , Texas /WOGA). Memmel earned bars and team gold at the 2003 World Championships, and bars gold at the 2004 World Cup Final. Teammate Sacramone won vault gold at the 2004 World Cup Final. Liukin represents the up-and-comers in the sport, having won the last two U.S. Junior titles and five medals at the 2003 Pan American Games – the most of any single athlete.
The men’s roster includes Olympic silver medalist Jason Gatson and former World champion Sean Townsend , along with Alexander Artemev , David Sender , Eric LaMorte and Justin Spring .
Gatson ( Upland , Calif. / USOTC) was a part of both the 2003 World Championships and 2004 Olympic Games silver medal-winning U.S. teams. Townsend (Dallas/HGA) competed for the silver medal-winning U.S. team at the 2001 World Championships, and also won a world title on parallel bars. Artemev ( Lakewood , Colo. /5280) finished fifth all-around at the Athens Olympic Test Event and won the parallel bars title at the 2004 Visa Championships.
Sender (Chicago/Stanford) helped the U.S. to a team bronze medal at the 2003 Pan Am Games and won the vault title at the 2004 Visa Championships. LaMorte ( Ronkonkoma , N.Y./Eastern Gymnastics Center ) will be making his U.S. National Team debut at the American Cup at the same venue in which is brother, Chris, won a gold medal on still rings at the 1998 Goodwill Games. Spring ( Burke , Va. /Illinois), originally from Houston, is a former U.S. Junior champion, 2004 NCAA high bar champion, and won gold on high bar at the 2005 Winter Cup.
The new American Cup format, which features individual event finals only, allows athletes placing among the top eight on each apparatus to earn World Cup points toward qualification to the bi-annual World Cup Final. Also at stake in the 30 th American Cup is approximately $46,000 in prize money.
Tickets for the American Cup on Feb. 26 range from $15-75 and are on sale now through www.ticketmaster.com, by calling (631) 888-9000 or (212) 307-7171, by visiting the Nassau Coliseum box office, or through local gymnastics clubs listed at www.usa-gymnastics.org. Spectators holding a ticket for the Feb. 26 American Cup will be admitted to the event prelims on Feb. 25.
The 2005 American Cup will be televised live on NBC Sports from 4-6 p.m. on Feb. 26.