SAN JOSE, Calif., March 29, 2008 – The USA won the team title, as well as both all-around gold medals, on the second day of competition at the 2008 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships presented by Gillette Venus, held at the Event Center Arena at San Jose State University in San Jose Calif. Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas, and Rebecca Bross of Plano, Texas, claimed the all-around crowns in the senior and junior divisions, respectively. Jana Bieger of Coconut Creek, Fla., and Samantha Shapiro of Los Angeles took the silver medals in the senior and junior divisions, respectively, giving the U.S. women a total medal haul of five.
The USA won the team title with a score of 245.275, followed by Canada in second at 233.475 and China in third at 233.075. Rebecca Clark of Blue Springs, Mo., and Darlene Hill of Mt. Laurel, N.J., joined Bieger, Bross, Liukin and Shapiro on the gold-medal team.
Liukin’s score of 62.850 topped the senior field by 2.925 points. Bieger was second with a score of 59.925 and Australia’s Daria Joura was third at 59.200.
Liukin’s uneven bars score of 16.650 is believed to be the highest score earned on uneven bars since the new scoring code was adopted by the International Gymnastics Federation in 2006. Liukin earned a 16.400 for her balance beam routine that included a two-and-a-half twist dismount. She scored a 15.000 on her Yurchenko one-and-a-half vault and a 14.800 on floor exercise.
“It felt really great,” Liukin said of winning the all-around. “It felt great to compete with both juniors and seniors and we’re all pulling for each other. I feel like a leader of the team with the juniors since I’m older.”
Bieger stuck her Yurchenko one-and-a-half vault for a score of 15.050, the score she also earned on balance beam. She stuck her full twisting, double back dismount on the uneven bars for a score of 15.025 and received a 14.800 on floor exercise. Hill competed on two events, vault and floor exercise. She posted a 14.900 on her Yurchenko one-and-a-half vault and a 15.125 on her floor exercise routine that included a pike double Arabian.
“I wanted to come out, hit my routines and show everyone that I’m back,” said Bieger, who competed in the all-around for the first time in more than a year. “I’m pretty happy except for my mistake on beam.”
In the junior division, Bross earned a score of 61.050, followed by Shapiro in second with a 60.100 and Russia’s Viktoriya Komova in third at 57.600.
Bross’ highest score of the night was a 15.900 on balance beam. She earned a 15.350 on her floor exercise routine that ended with a two-and-a-half punch brani. Rounding out her scores were a 15.000 on uneven bars and a 14.800 on vault.
“I wish that I could compete on the senior level and go to the Olympics,” said Bross, who turns 15 later this year, which makes her ineligible for the 2008 Olympic Games where gymnasts must be 16 years of age. “But I’m not old enough so I’ll just stick around and go for it the next time around.”
Shapiro earned a 15.800 on balance beam with a high 9.5 execution score. Her other scores were a 15.225 on uneven bars and a 14.300 on vault. On floor exercise, she earned a 14.775 despite having her music stop unexpectedly during her routine.
“That has never happened to me before,” Shapiro said of her music stopping during her floor exercise routine. “But my coach told me before that if it ever happens to just keep going, so that’s what I did.”
Clark ended her balance beam routine with a round-off two-and-a-half twist, and scored a 15.450. She also posted scores of 12.700 on vault 13.950 on uneven bars and 14.625 on the floor exercise.
Competition at the Pacific Rim Championships concludes tomorrow, March 30.
About the Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships presented by Gillette Venus
The 2008 Pacific Rim Championships features competition in men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics; rhythmic gymnastics; and trampoline.
The remaining schedule for artistic gymnastics at the Pacific Rim Championships is: Sunday, March 30 — men’s and women’s individual event finals, juniors at 12 p.m. and seniors at 6 p.m. The competition is at the Events Center at San Jose State University.
The remaining schedule for rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline is: Sunday, March 30 — rhythmic and trampoline individual event finals, 3 p.m. Competition is at San Jose McEnery Conventions Center.
NBC Sports is broadcasting action from the Pacific Rim Championships on April 13 at 4:30 p.m. ET.
The Pacific Rim Championships, previously known as the Pacific Alliance Championships, were held in Honolulu in 2004 and 2006. World champions Nastia Liukin and Chellsie Memmel tied for the women’s all-around title in 2006. In 2004, Paul Hamm won the all-around gold medal before becoming the 2004 Olympic all-around champion. In 2007, the San Jose McEnery Convention Center hosted rhythmic and acrobatic gymnastics competition during the Visa Championships. The Pacific Rim Championships is the official championships of the Pacific Alliance Gymnastics Federations.
About San Jose State University
San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 4,000 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city. For more information, please visit www.sjsu.edu.
About the San Jose McEnery Convention Center
Considered the hub for meetings and conventions in San Jose, the San Jose McEnery Convention Center opened its doors in April 1989. The facility has 432,000 square feet of function space, including a 22,000 square-foot ballroom and 30 meeting rooms.