Members of the U.S. World Championships Team
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STUTTGART, Germany, Sept. 6, 2007 – The U.S. men finished fourth in the team finals at the 2007 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.  The USA, in sixth place coming into the last rotation, nailed all three floor routines to move into fourth with a final score of 272.275.  China won the team title with 281.900, followed by Japan at 277.025 and Germany at 273.525.  The all-around finals are on Sept. 7.


“We’ve demonstrated that we’re medal contenders heading into the Olympic Games,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics.  “That’s exactly where we wanted to be.”


The USA was in fourth place with two events to go, but two missed routines on the horizontal bar dropped them back to sixth place.  Three strong floor exercise routines moved the United States back up to fourth by the end of the competition.  In the team finals, three gymnasts from the six-man team compete on each event and all three scores count.


“I am extremely proud of all of the guys,” said Kevin Mazeika, the head coach for U.S. men.  “They fought to the end, and fourth is a great result.  We gained invaluable experience in the 6-3-3 format, which is really going to help for next year.”


“We came here with a lot of expectations and we are happy but not satisfied,” said Ron Brant, U.S. men’s national team coordinator.  “We gained respect from the other countries, which is important, and put ourselves in position to be viewed as a contender.  We met a lot of our goals, and fourth place is unbelievable.  They put up a great fight until the end, and now we will go home and get better.”


The six members of the team are:  Guillermo Alvarez of Denver; Alexander Artemev of Morrison, Colo.; David Durante of Garwood, N.J.; Sean Golden of Camden of N.J.; Jonathan Horton of Houston; and Kevin Tan of Fremont, Calif.  Sho Nakamori of Albany, Calif., is the team alternate.  Alvarez, Artemev, Horton and Tan were members of the 2006 squad, which placed 13th.


“I can’t say enough about how this team came through with a strong finish on floor exercise,” said Durante, who will compete in the all-around finals in replacement of Bulgaria’s Jordan Jovtchev.  “From 13th to fourth in a year is a great accomplishment.  I am very proud of how we hung in there today until the end.”


“My feelings are mixed,” said Tan.  “To be so close (to making it to the podium) and then not make it is hard, but you have to do the job.  We will go back and work harder for the big one, the Olympic Games.”