ARACAJU, Brazil, March 29, 2014 – The USA won the team gold medal at the 2014 Junior Pan American Gymnastics Championships at the Constancio Vieira Sports Gym in Aracaju, Brazil. Marty Strech of Fountain Valley, Calif./Azarian U.S. Gymnastics Training Center, and Alec Yoder of Indianapolis, Ind./InterActive Academy, went one-two in the all-around, and all four U.S. gymnasts finished in the top five in the all-around and will compete in the event finals on March 30.
Although Strech qualified for all six event finals, he will compete in the floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings and vault. He withdrew from the other two due to a sore back. Yoder will compete in the finals for pommel horse, rings, parallel bars and horizontal bar. Matthew Wenske of Houston/Cypress Academy of Gymnastics, who finished fifth in the all-around, made the finals for floor and vault. Davis Grooms of Katy, Texas/Champions Gymnastics, who was fourth in the all-around, replaced Strech in both the parallel bars and high bar finals.
The U.S. men easily won the team title, posting 245.870 points. Brazil was second at 235.40 and Canada rounded out the top three at 233.033.
In the all-around, Strech claimed the title with an 83.367. Yoder’s 81.766 earned him the silver medal. Brazil’s Lucas Cardoso captured the bronze medal with his 78.934. Grooms just missed the medals podium, finishing fourth at 78.801. Wenske made the top five with his 78.000.
The Junior Pan Am Championships is the Americas qualifier to the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. Eight men and nine women will represent the Americas in artistic gymnastics at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games Aug. 16-28 in Nanjing, China. Men must be 16-17 years old (born in 1997-98), and women must be 15 years old (born in 1999). Berths will be determined based on all-around rankings at the event, with a maximum of one per country. These qualifications are for the country not a specific athlete, and each country has its own selection procedures for naming its Youth Olympic Games participant.
If the USA qualifies for the Youth Olympic Games, eligible gymnasts must compete in both the Winter Cup Challenge (was held in February) and the 2014 U.S. Junior Olympic Championships, May 7-11 in Long Beach, Calif. In addition to performances at the two events, the Youth Olympic Games Selection Committee will also consider a number of factors, including the D (difficulty/start value) and E (execution) scores, and past domestic and international experience. The complete selection procedure is available here.