The U.S. named its women’s team for the 2006 World Championships on Thursday, Oct. 5. The team includes in alphabetical order: Jana Bieger, Jacquelyn Johnson, Natasha Kelley, Nastia Liukin, Chellsie Memmel, Ashley Priess, and Alicia Sacramone. A conference call with national media was conducted and here are some of the comments made during the call.
Martha Karolyi’s opening comments on the U.S. team:

We finished the selection process last night. It was based on two days of competition here at camp as well as past performances both nationally and internationally. We came up with seven girls and the final decision on the six that will compete at World Championships will be named in Denmark.

We feel extremely strong about our team. Our team is well-prepared and ready to compete with the other countries.

Martha highlighted each team member:

  • Chellsie Memmel – Former World Champion and in excellent shape. She made her preparations very wisely. She’s at her peak right now.
  • Jana Bieger – She’s also in her best shape of the season.
  • Ashley Priess – She did an excellent job at camp. No mistakes in two days of competition. She has no World Championships experience but did well in several World Cup competitions. She’ll be a good asset to team.
  • Alicia Sacramone – Very strong competitor. World Champion on floor from last year and medalist on vault. Very good shape and ready to compete. Has a lot of experience.
  • Natasha Kelley – is a newcomer. She did very good at all competitions throughout the season. She’s a consistent competitor and will be a good addition to our team.
  • Jacquelyn Johnson also had no mistakes in the two days of competition. Very nice presentation. Good team member.
  • Nastia Liukin is a former World Champion on bars and beam and finished second all-around at the 2005 World Championships. She’s recognized as one of the top gymnasts in the world. Unfortunately she has a sprained ankle but we selected her to the team because we expect her to add to the team score at least on one event. She is definitely a medal contender and depending on how her injury goes we’ll decide on her participation. We have 10 days before competition.
We feel confident. I always tell the team you do the routines and have good preparation and then you feel good to compete on any level.

Martha on Nastia’s injury:

Anytime an injury comes no one is happy about it. But, we have a very strong team and we’re very well prepared. We’ll miss that Nastia may not be able to compete all-around but I’m sure the other girls will step up. We’re looking forward to the competition and Nastia will contribute where she can. Nastia’s score on just one event could help our team score by 1 point which is a huge contribution.

Nastia on her injury:

The injury took place on Sunday. It’s getting better day by day. I will hopefully compete on bars and I’m excited to be able to travel with the team and help the team. We’re not sure how many events I’ll compete on – we’re just taking it day by day.

Martha on Natasha Kelley:

Nastia’s injury has opened the door for others to compete in the all-around. All of the girls, Chellsie Memmel, Jana Bieger, Ashley Priess, Natasha Kelley, Jacquelyn Johnson, did well and they all need to step up.

Nastasha Kelley –

I think things went pretty well. There is always room for improvement. We’ll keep working hard. I’m really excited to make the team.

Martha on Nastia’s injury:

Nastia was practicing one of her tumbling skills on the trampoline during the camp — one of the first days of training camp.  She rolled her ankle. (right ankle is injured).

Nastia on her injury:

I was disappointed when I got injured but I’m glad I’m on the team and I’m going to do the best I can to help out the team so that we can achieve our goals.

Jana on making World Team:

This is my second World team. I was confident going in. I knew I had to hit all of my routines, which I did. It was exciting when they called my name as a part of the team. We’re a really strong team, we work well together, we cheer each other on and we’re all very confident that we’ll be able to pull through.

Nastia on what she’s doing for her ankle:

I’m doing everything possible right now.

I’m doing bone stem, electric stem, a lot and lot of ice, therapy and everything possible.

Chellsie on her performance at camp:

I competed a double Yurchenko on vault, upgraded bars a little and changed around beam a little. I was very happy with my performance.

I’m very happy where I am in my training. Championships was a stepping stone and my goal was to be ready for World Championships, and I am.

Martha on Chellsie:

Chellsie’s preparation was planned in this way. The timing is perfect. She was able to perform routines at Visa Championships but was not 100%. Chellsie planned it out very wisely. I feel very good about how she’s performing now. She’s very confident and has