Parilla qualifies U.S. woman for 2004 Olympic Games


INDIANAPOLIS – Team USA’s Shelley Klochan earned double-mini bronze, and the men’s and women’s double-mini teams each earned silver at the 23rd Trampoline World Championships held recently in Hannover, Germany.

Additionally, Olympian Jennifer Parilla proved Sydney was no fluke by placing 16th in the trampoline event, qualifying the United States for one women’s entry in the event at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. After the maximum of two athletes per country rule was applied, Parilla earned the 12th-place qualifying position. The men, led by 2000 Olympic Games alternate Ryan Weston, failed to qualify.

Parilla, of Lake Forest, Calif., would be competing in her second Olympics if she wins the lone roster spot during next June’s Olympic Trials. Parilla most recently finished fourth in the Trampoline World Cup event in Prague on Sept. 6.

Klochan, of Whiting, Ind., was the only U.S. athlete to win an individual medal, placing third in double-mini with a score of 61.60. The women’s team of Whitney Klusak (Yoakum, Texas), Drew Rentfro (Dumas, Texas), Klochan and Megan Dacy (Waxahatchie, Texas) scored 185.20 on the double-mini to win silver, trailing Russia by just seven-tenths of a point. The men’s squad of Keith Douglas (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Josh Vance (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Jamar Young (Lubbock, Texas) and Casey Finley (Lubbock, Texas) also finished second at 95.50, six-tenths behind Canada.

Double mini-trampoline is a relatively new sport that combines the horizontal run of tumbling with the vertical rebound of trampoline. After a short run, the athlete jumps onto a small two-level trampoline to perform a rebounding skill, immediately followed by a dismount element onto a landing mat. Competitors perform two two-skill voluntary routines in preliminaries and two two-skill voluntary routines in finals. No skill may be repeated. A good routine will show height, multiple flips and twists and a landing with no extra steps.

The 2003 Trampoline World Championships Hannover, Germany are the only route to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Only individual trampoline is contested at the Olympics. The eight World Championships finalists earn automatic berths, along with the next five ranked athletes from the qualification round. An additional three athletes are submitted by the International Gymnastics Federation for a total of 16 men and 16 women competitors, with a maximum of two athletes per country per gender.

Parilla’s accomplishment means the United States will now have at least on representative in each of the four gymnastics disciplines following the medal performances of the U.S. Men’s & Women’s Artistic World Championships Teams, and the qualifying effort of rhythmic gymnastics’ Mary Sanders at the Rhythmic Worlds in September.