INDIANAPOLIS – Houston native Sean Townsend returned from an injury-plagued 2003 to medal in four events and re-gain his National Team berth at the 2004 Men’s Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas.

"This was my chance to make a statement, that I’m back," Townsend said. "This is the most depth we’ve had in the U.S. National Team program since 1984, and to see the level of all the competitors here in Vegas has everyone excited about our chances in 2004."

Townsend, the 2001 world champion on parallel bars, won gold on the horizontal bar and vault, and bronze on parallel bars on Saturday, and trailed only two-time Olympian Blaine Wilson in the all-around on Friday. Townsend sat out most of 2003 after sustaining a knee injury in the spring, and a concussion just two weeks prior to the U.S. Championships in June.

Also added to the 2004 U.S. National Team were David Durante (Garwood, N.J.), Steve McCain (Houston), Dan Gill (Fairfax, Va.), Clay Strother (Jasper, Texas) and Todd Thornton (Houston).

The six gymnasts added to the 2004 U.S. National Team are now eligible to represent the United States in international competitions leading up to the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, June 2-5 in Nashville.

The Winter Cup Challenge also served as the warm-up event for the four athletes – Jason Gatson, Morgan Hamm, Paul Hamm and Blaine Wilson – scheduled to represent the United States at the 2004 VISA American Cup, Feb. 28 in New York.

The men’s program is riding high following one of the USA’s most successful seasons. Paul Hamm won the United States’ first-ever men’s all-around gold medal at the 2003 World Championships, plus a floor exercise gold. The men’s team also captured its second consecutive team silver, highlighted by Jason Gatson’s eighth-place all-around finish, and event finals appearances by Gatson and Wilson.

Athlete bios and Winter Cup details are available on-line at

All-Around (Friday)
1, Blaine Wilson, Chevron-Ohio State, 57.050. 2, Sean Townsend, HGA-Gattaca, 56.400. 3, Jason Gatson, Chevron-USOTC, 55.850.
Floor Exercise
1, Jason Gatson, Chevron-USOTC, 9.500. 2, Dan Gill, Stanford, 9.475. 3, Steve McCain, USOTC-Gattaca, 9.475.
Pommel Horse
1, Paul Hamm, Chevron-Ohio State, 9.550. 2, Morgan Hamm, Chevron-Ohio State, 9.475. 3, Sho Nakamori, USOTC, 9.125.
Still Rings
1, Kevin Tan, Penn State, 9.875. 2, Blaine Wilson, Chevron-Ohio State, 9.875. 3, Jeff Johnson, Univ. of Washington, 9.850.
1, Sean Townsend, HGA-Gattaca, 9.850. 2, Guard Young, Chevron-Oklahoma, 9.600. 3, David Sender, Buffalo Grove, 9.550.
Parallel Bars
1, Blaine Wilson, Chevron-Ohio State, 9.850. 2, Jason Gatson, Chevron-USOTC, 9.575. 3, Sean Townsend, HGA-Gattaca, 9.500.
Horizontal Bar
1, Sean Townsend, HGA-Gattaca, 9.750. 2, Todd Thornton, Chevron-HGA, 9.625. 3, Paul Hamm, Chevron-Ohio State, 9.600.