INDIANAPOLIS – Team USA traveled around the world in March and early April to bring home a slew of medals from the world’s top international competitions. In all, U.S. artistic athletes returned home with nine gold, 13 silver and 14 bronze, plus two bronze medals for the rhythmic team.
“USA Gymnastics can be very proud, across the board, at the accomplishments of our athletes during March and April,” said USA Gymnastics President Bob Colarossi. “This is the time for some of our established athletes to test new routines, and our up-and-comers to gain some international experience as we look forward to the U.S. Championships, Olympic Trials and the 2004 Olympic Games.”
FL Gym Open
The trio of American entrants dominated the team and all-around competition in Luxembourg City, Luxemburg at the FL Gym Open, which wrapped up April 4. Marcia Newby (USA) won the all-around, scoring a 37.725. Teammate Liz Tricase also broke the 37.00 mark, scoring 37.150 for silver. The third member of the team, Nina Kim, took bronze with 36.525. Backed by the all-around sweep, Team USA easily finished first in the team competition.
Tricase’s double-twisting Yurchenko nailed down gold in the vault competition with a score of 9.438. Newby’s Yurchenko 1 ½ was good for silver at 9.363. In the uneven bars final, Nina Kim took home gold with a 9.425 to tie Ukraine’s Inna Teslenko. Tricase finished with bronze at 9.325. Newby stepped up again for silver on the beam at 9.138 followed by Tricase at 9.063 for bronze. Newby finished off the day with gold on the floor exercise at 9.625.
Rio World Cup
Team USA nabbed seven medals including two gold at the Seigfreid Fischer Trophy FIG World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on April 3-4. The United States was represented by Morgan Hamm, Raj Bhavsar, Brett McClure, Alicia Sacramone and Allyse Ishino.
Hamm kicked off day one with a silver-medal finish in his speciality – the floor exercise – earning a 9.637. Sacramone followed with a 9.287 for a silver medal in the vault. Ishino proved to be the highlight of the day, earning gold on the uneven bars with a mark of 9.387, edging hometown favorite Danielle Hypolito of Brazil at 9.312. Bhavsar finished up the afternoon, tying Netherlands Yuri Van Gelder with a 9.612 on rings for the bronze.
Day two of the Rio World Cup started off with a bang behind the efforts of Brett McClure, snaring gold on the parallel bars with a 9.675 while Bhavsar held on for bronze at 9.412. Morgan Hamm followed with a gold medal on the horizontal bar. Hamm tied Kazakhstan’s Yernar Yerimbetov at 9.550 but took the gold based on the higher start value.
Stella Zakharova Cup
USA’s hybrid two senior/two junior team of Sean Townsend, David Durante, Taqiy Abdullah and Bryan DelCastillo ran away with the team title at the 2004 Stella Zakharova Cup on March 27-28 in Kiev, Ukraine. Durante (55.300) took fourth in the all-around and Townsend (55.100) fifth. Townsend later won silver on vault (9.212) and high bar (9.587), and bronze on rings (9.425) while Abdullah finished third in the junior all-around (52.000) and second on floor (9.275). DelCastillo tied Abdullah in jr. all-around at 52.000, but took home fourth based on tie-break rules.
The U.S. women enjoyed similar success behind the efforts of Katie Heenan and Nicole Harris. Harris earned a 9.475 to tie for second on uneven bars, followed by Heenan’s 9.325 for fourth place. Harris, the alternate on balance beam, was inserted into the lineup at the last moment after a qualifier withdrew due to injury. Competing with just a 30-second touch warm-up, Harris scored a 9.125 to win silver, followed by Heenan at 8.962 for the bronze.
Lyon World Cup
Dan Gill, Paul Hamm and Guard Young traveled to the World Cup event in Lyon, France on March 13-14, returning with a bronze medal on the high bar. Gill scored a 9.575 to place third, with Hamm taking fourth at 9.400. Hamm also finished seventh on the parallel bars at 9.550.
Cottbus World Cup
Sarah Shire, Melanie Sinclair, Raj Bhavsar and Steve McCain represented the U.S. against a world-class field at the World Cup event in Cottbus, Germany the week of March 7-10. Shire won silver on vault, plus fourth on beam and fifth on uneven bars. Sinclair won bronze on vault and beam, and finished fourth on bars. On the men’s side, McCain finished sixth on pommel horse and Bhavsar took eighth on rings.
Athens Olympic Test Event
Team USA’s Courtney McCool and Alexander Artemev garnered the world’s attention with outstanding performances in the Athens Olympic Test Event, March 19-23 in Athens, Greece.
McCool captured the gold medal in the all-around with a score of 37.549. McCool also qualified for all four event finals where she went on to finish second on the vault and third on the uneven bars, fifth on floor and seventh on beam. Samantha Sheehan took sixth all-around and second on the uneven bars.
Artemev finished fifth in the men’s all-around with a score of 55.547 after qualifying to the final in third place. Artemev also qualified for event finals on the parallel bars and horizontal bar, where he won bronze medals in both events. Teammate Jason Gatson withdrew prior to the start of competition with a stomach ailment.
Team USA’s trampoline representative, Jennifer Parilla finished ninth in the trampoline qualification with a score of 62.50. Mary Sanders took ninth in the rhythmic all-around with a score of 93.100. Sanders qualified to the final with the fifth-best mark in clubs, and sixth-best in hoop.
The U.S. rhythmic team was also on the move, traveling to the Coupe d’Opale in Calais, France. USA’s Brennan Stacker took seventh in the all-around, third in ribbon (21.850) and third with the ball (22.350). In the junior division, Julie Zetlin finished fourth all-around, fifth in ribbon (15.550) and fourth with the rope (22.000).