China defeats Russia for World Title

Tianjin, China – The U.S. men turned in solid performances at the 1999 World Gymnastics Championships in Tianjin, China, but were unable to move ahead of strong teams from Asia and Eastern Europe, finishing sixth. The team improved their consistency, scoring higher than their total from the qualifying round.

“Our guys kept fighting,” said Yoichi Tomita (Gymnastics World of Tucson), U.S. men’s coach. “I am most proud of the fact that we scored better than we did last night, and that’s pretty amazing. We certainly showed everyone that we belonged.”
In the end, however, China captured the overall team victory with a total of 230.395 points. Russia won the silver with 228.145, and Belarus the bronze with 227.631. Japan was fourth (225.908), and Korea finished fifth (225.870). The U.S. team accumulated 225.196 points in their effort.
The U.S. team started strong on the vault, and was third after the first rotation. Blaine Wilson’s (Columbus, Ohio) 9.725 and Chris Young’s (Winston-Salem, N.C.) 9.575 gave the team an early emotional lift. The team averaged 9.28 on their second event, the parallel bars, and was fifth after the 2nd rotation. Young and Wilson bolstered the U.S. chances during the third rotation on the high bar, scoring a 9.60 and 9.537 respectively. The team was fourth heading into the second half of the evening.

“Our goal was to go out there and hit 30 routines,” said Wilson. “I think we were pretty close to that.”

The U.S. team struggled a bit on the floor exercise during the fourth rotation, but would come back on the pommel horse with three men scoring better than 9.5 – Wilson, Yewki Tomita (Tucson, Ariz.), and John Roethlisberger (Falcon Heights, Minn.). Wilson and Roethlisberger stayed strong through the final apparatus, the rings, each scoring 9.612. Stephen McCain (Houston, Texas) and Sean Townsend (Dallas, Texas) both scored better than 9.2, but the effort was not enough to move ahead of Korea, who scored no less than 9.512 on the vault.
“We had a good time,” said Roethlisberger. “We have a great bunch of guys and we are really proud of what we did. We knew we were an outside shot for a medal, and we went out there and gave it everything we had like the U.S. men do every time. We’re one of the top six countries in the world and international gymnastics is more competitive than it’s ever been.”
Similar to the women’s competition, the atmosphere in the competition hall was rowdy. Each country had fan representation, with the Chinese reacting to every routine performed by the home team. The U.S. men reacted well, generating additional enthusiasm throughout their rotations.
“This isn’t golf,” added Wilson, who will compete in the all-around on Thursday. “You go out there and do your stuff whether or not people are screaming in your ear. I love noise.”

Team Results

Rank Nation   FX     PH      SR     Vault    PB      HB      TOTAL
1. China    38.012  38.324  38.649  38.549  38.787  38.074  230.395
2. Russia   37.624  38.799  37.361  38.649  38.187  37.525  228.145
3. Belarus  37.599  37.862  38.424  37.586  38.186  37.974  227.631
4. Japan    36.161  38.199  37.962  38.287  37.637  37.662  225.908
5. Korea    36.374  37.625  37.737  38.286  38.124  37.724  225.870
6. USA      36.912  37.974  37.711  37.750  37.137  37.712  225.196

Competition Schedule

The men’s competition continues on Thursday night with the individual all-around. Americans Blaine Wilson and Yewki Tomita will compete in the men’s all-around. Wednesday is an off-day for competition.
Thursday, October 14 – 3:00 p.m. – Women’s All-Around Finals (CII)
Thursday, October 14 – 7:30 p.m. – Men’s All-Around Finals (CII)
Friday, October 15 – 7:30 p.m. – Men’s and Women’s Apparatus Finals (CIII)
Saturday, October 16 – 2:00 p.m. – Men’s and Women’s Apparatus Finals (CIII)

*** Tianjin is 12 hours ahead EST.