NOTE: The U.S. men competed today on the first of two days of men’s preliminaries at the 2006 World Gymnastics Championships. The U.S. women compete for the first time on Monday, Oct. 16, on the first day of women’s prelims. The 2006 World Championships run from Oct. 14-21.

AARHUS, Denmark – A young and talented U.S. Men’s Team started out strong in the preliminary competition of the 2006 World Gymnastics Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, but struggled on the last two events. The men’s preliminary round stretches over two days, and the athletes and teams advancing to the men’s final rounds will not be known until after the final group competes on Oct. 15.
"We are very proud of our team and how hard they trained and hung in there today," said Ron Brant, the men’s national team coordinator. "We knew we had to do everything just about right, and that’s a lot to ask. We have a good group, and they did more than we asked as we prepared for the World Championships. You can only control two things: effort and preparation. We did everything we could in preparation, both mentally and physically, and today, they guys gave it their all."
The members of the men’s 2006 World Championships Team are: Guillermo Alvarez of Denver; Alexander Artemev of Morrison, Colo.; Jonathan Horton of Houston; David Sender of Arlington Heights, Ill.; Clay Strother of Jasper, Texas; Kevin Tan of Fremont, Calif.; and David Durante of Garfield, N.J., alternate.
Alvarez hit all six of his routines, posting a 6-event total of 88.650. Artemev did well but encountered some problems on the parallel bars and horizontal bar to earn a total score of 88.625. Jonathan Horton of Houston also competed on all six events for an 84.500 total. Clay Strother of Jasper, Texas, had a solid meet, scoring a 15.275 on floor and a 15.625 on vault. David Sender of Arlington Heights, Ill., competed on five events, with his 16.050 on vault as his highest score. Kevin Tan of Fremont, Calif., did well on three of his four events.
"The team came out strong on the floor exercise, and Guillermo and Alex may qualify for the all-around finals and get some more experience,” said Brant. “Clay had a good meet. Kevin is still recovering from food poisoning and was dehydrated. He gave it (his ring routine) everything he had and was there until the last few skills."
"When you look at some of better teams like Japan, they have almost their entire team back and have tremendous experience (competing) together," said head coach Mark Williams. "They are seasoned veterans. For Artemev and Horton, this was their first time in this situation. They just need to be out there and gain the confidence so that they can do well in that atmosphere."
The U.S. Women will compete in Subdivision 5 in the preliminary rounds on Oct. 16. The U.S. Women’s Team is led by three defending world champions, Chellsie Memmel of West Allis, Wis., Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas, and Alicia Sacramone of Winchester, Mass., and also includes 2005 World Team member Jana Bieger of Coconut Creek, Fla.; Jacquelyn Johnson of West Chester, Ohio; Natasha Kelley of Katy, Texas; and Ashley Priess of Hamilton, Ohio.
The 2006 World Championships features men’s and women’s competition in the team, all-around and individual apparatus (men—floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar; women – vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise). The format for the team competitions is: preliminaries, five gymnasts on each apparatus and top four scores count; and finals, three gymnasts compete and all three scores count. The top eight countries after the prelims advance to the team finals. For the all-around, the top 24 gymnasts (maximum of two per country) in the prelims advance to the finals. For individual event finals, the top eight from the preliminary rounds (maximum of two per country) advance to the finals.

The men advancing to the final rounds will be determined at the conclusion of the prelims on Oct. 16, and the women’s prelims wrap up on Oct. 17. The men’s team finals are Oct. 17 and the all-around is on Oct. 19. The women’s team finals are Oct. 18, with the women’s all-around finals on Oct. 19. The individual event finals for both men and women are Oct. 20-21.

U.S. Team scores in the preliminary round