KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (March 27) – Using consistency and conditioning, the United States team, led by two-time national champion Blaine Wilson (Columbus, Ohio), edged out defending world champion China for the gold medal in the International Team Championships, held at Thompson-Boling Arena here Friday evening.

While the USA led after virtually every rotation, the Chinese and Romanian teams were dogging their every move, creating what appeared to be a pressure-packed performance for the Americans on their final event, the pommel horse.
“We really felt no pressure,” said two-time Olympian John Roethlisberger (Minneapolis, Minn.). “I knew we would be the team that would get through the rough spots. At the end there were a lot of falls, but I knew that we would be the team that would fight through it until the end.”
While the Chinese suffered a miserable high bar on the fifth rotation, the USA was putting together a solid floor set. On the final rotation, Team China fell apart, leaving the door open for the USA. Led by Wilson and 17-year-old Yewki Tomita (Tucson, Ariz.), who both scored 9.700 on pommel horse, the USA made the push to the end with a final score of 221.200 against China’s 218.750. Romania was third with a 215.500.
“I was pretty nervous before pommel horse,” said Tomita, competing in only his second international event at the senior level, “but I just told myself that I haven’t had any problems with this event and just go up and hit it.”
Wilson’s individual performance was dominating, posting the highest score in five of the six events. The only one he missed was vault, where his 9.250 left him tied for tenth.
“I try to work through every routine,” Wilson said. “I didn’t pay any attention to individual scores because this is a team event, and the team is what it’s about.”
Competition at the International Team Championships continues Saturday with junior women’s competition Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. EST and senior women Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. For complete coverage of the event online, log on to USA Gymnastics Online at

International Team Championships
Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tenn.
March 27, 1998
Senior Men’s Competition

Team Final Standings
1, United States (Garry Denk, Northbrook, Ill.; John Roethlisberger, Minneapolis, Minn.; Jay Thornton, Augusta, Ga.; Yewki Tomita, Tucson, Ariz.; Sean Townsend, Houston, Texas; Blaine Wilson, Columbus, Ohio), 221.200. 2, China (Dong Zhen, Lu Bin, Lu Jia, Zhao Sheng, Zheng Lihui), 218.750. 3, Romania (Vasile Cioana, Cristian Leric, Rares Orzata, Dorin Petcu, Florin Popa, Ioan Suciu), 215.500.

Team Event Results

Floor Exercise — 1, United States, 36.350. 2, China 35.750. Romania, 34.050.
Pommel Horse — 1, United States, 36.900. 2, Romania, 36.500. 3, China, 35.650.
Still Rings — 1, China, 37.900. 2, Romania, 37.650. 3, United States, 37.050.
Vault — 1, Romania, 38.350. 2, China, 37.600. 3, United States, 36.900.
Parallel Bars — 1, China, 37.300. 2, United States, 36.950. 3, Romania, 38.350.
High Bar — 1, United States, 37.050. 2, China, 34.550. 3, Romania, 32.550.

Individual All-Around Scores

1, Blaine Wilson, Columbus, Ohio, 57.650. 2, Zhao Sheng, CHN, 55.800. 3, Yewki Tomita, Tucson, Ariz., 54.900. 4, Zheng Lihui, CHN, 54.850. 5, Dorin Petcu, ROM, 54.300. 6, John Roethlisberger, Minneapolis, Minn., 54.250. 7, Lu Bin, CHN, 53.550. 8, Lu Jia, CHN, 53.550. 9, Ioan Suciu, ROM, 53.300. 10, Rares Orzata, ROM, 52.750. 11, Florin Popa, ROM, 52.500. 12, Jay Thornton, Augusta, Ga., 52.500. 13, Sean Townsend, Houston, Texas, 36.350. 14, Dong Zheng, CHN, 35.700. 15, Vasile Cioana, ROM, 26.800. 16, Cristian Leric, ROM, 26.200. 17, Garry Denk, Northbrook, Ill., 16.850.