RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, July 26, 2007 – Lisa Wang of Buffalo Grove, Ill., and Julie Zetlin of Bethesda, Md., the two members of the U.S. Women’s Pan Am Rhythmic Gymnastics Team, both qualified for the all-around and individual event finals at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In addition to the all-around, Wang also advanced to the finals in all four events, hoop, rope, clubs and ribbon. Zetlin qualified for both the all-around and ribbon finals. The all-around finals, scheduled for Friday, feature the top 10 gymnasts from the qualification field of 16. The top eight in each event during the qualification round advance to the individual event finals on Saturday. Scores from the qualification round do not carry forward.
“I was really excited and really pumped for this competition and wanted to give it my all,” said Wang. “Fortunately it really worked out, but I have to say without USA Gymnastics and the support they have given me this year, I would not have gotten this far.”
Wang topped the field in the all-around qualification round, with Zetlin finishing ninth. At the intermission between the first and second sessions of the night, Wang was in second place after strong rope and hoop routines. She trailed only Canadian Alexandra Orlando, who finished both the rope and hoop in first. Zetlin finished the first two events in 13th place.
Wang started the second session with the clubs and performed admirably, finishing second. Zetlin finished 12th in clubs and needed a strong performance in the ribbon to qualify for the all-around final.
Canada’s Orlando started with the ribbon in the second session and met with disaster when her ribbon broke in the middle of the routine. As a result, she finished in 16th place in the ribbon, which dropped her to a 12th-place finish in the all-around by the competition’s end. At the end of the qualification round, she took top honors in all of the events except ribbon, which cost her a spot in the all-around finals.
Wang gave a strong performance in ribbon, her final routine of the evening, and finished No. 1 in the all-around and ribbon rankings. Zetlin also performed well, placing fourth in ribbon and qualifying for the all-around finals in the ninth position.
“It was a great experience and I loved the audience. I was kind of nervous when I started, but then the audience really helped me get more comfortable,” said Zetlin. “I think another reason I was able to get more comfortable is because USA Gymnastics sent us to so many different international competitions this year and it really got me prepared.”