NEW YORK – Battling a strong field and a sore shoulder, Blaine Wilson (Columbus, Ohio) held on despite bobbles in his last two events to claim the bronze medal in men’s all-around at the 1998 Goodwill Games Monday evening at Nassau Coliseum. The gold medal went to reigning world champion Ivan Ivankov of Belarus.
“It feels pretty good to come in here and compete against all of these great athletes and do as well as I did today,” said Wilson, the two-time reigning USA national champion. “I had some mistakes, but I don’t think it was because of my shoulder – they just happened… All things considered, with the shoulder and the fact I haven’t practiced in a while, this is as good as I could expect.” Wilson’s best event was still rings, where his 9.725 was second among the 12 athletes competing.
Ivankov, denied a chance at Olympic gold when his Achilles tendon snapped on the eve of the Atlanta Olympic Games, took top honors with a score of 57.500. Russia’s Aleksei Bondarenko earned the silver with a 56.700, just ahead of Wilson’s 56.575. Aleksei Nemov, the 1994 Goodwill Games all-around champion, placed a distant seventh with a 55.700.
Wilson’s bronze matches the best USA finish in the men’s all-around, recorded by Lance Ringnald at the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle. The other USA competitor, Sean Townsend (Houston, Texas), finished ninth with a 54.325.
Men’s Individual All-Around Final
1, Ivan Ivankov, Belarus, 57.500. 2, Aleksei Bondarenko, Russia, 56.700. 3, Blaine Wilson, Columbus, Ohio, 56.575. 4, Roman Zozolya, Ukraine, 56.450. 5, Lu Yufu, China, 56.250. 6, Naoya Tsukahara, Japan, 56.175. 7, Aleksei Nemov, Russia, 55.700. 8, Huang Xu, China, 54.650. 9, Sean Townsend, Houston, Texas, 54.325. 10, Eric Lopez Rios, Cuba, 54.300. 11, Yoshiaki Hatakeda, Japan, 53.350. 12, Sergei Fedorchenko, Kazakhstan, 37.850 (withdrew after five events).