MILWAUKEE – Blaine Wilson, Morgan Hamm, Brett McClure, Raj Bhavsar and Alexander Artemev are one step closer to Anaheim after being named to the 2003 World Championships squad on Sunday following the U.S. Gymnastics Championships. Guard Young was named as the second team alternate.
"Our men’s team is the strongest we’ve had in several years," said USA Gymnastics President Bob Colarossi. "This group of men has medaled in every team event since the 2000 Olympics, including a silver medal at the 2001 World Championships. We’re looking forward to some great performances in Anaheim this August."
The 2003 World Gymnastics Championships, Aug. 16-24 at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, will award individual event gold medals as well as team titles in both men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics disciplines. The World Championships also serve as the only route for athletes and countries to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games.
Paul Hamm and Jason Gatson finished first and second in the All-Around competition at the U.S. Championships on Sunday, securing the only two automatic, guaranteed berths on the final World Championships Team.
For the junior Aartemev, who gained his U.S. citizenship just three months ago, the opportunity to represent the United States is a dream come true.
"This is so unbelievable to me," said Artemev, who turned down an offer to compete for his native Belarus. "It’s been my dream to compete for the United States. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me. This is what I have been working for my entire life. I think I have a couple of events the team could use help on, like horse and vault. I’m looking forward to giving it my best shot in Columbus and hopefully I’ll be in Anaheim."
The five additional gymnasts selected by the Men’s Program Committee for the World Championship squad will attend the World Championship Preparation Camp July 9-18 in Columbus, Ohio, where the Selection Committee will determine the third, fourth, fifth and sixth members of the World Championships Team, plus one team alternate.
For the Pan American Games, the highest ranked all-around athlete from the results of the U.S. Championships who is not already committed to the World’s team is automatically nominated. The Men’s Program Committee determines the other five members from among the Senior and Junior National Team members and submits the nominations to the USOC no later than June 30.
2003 World Championships squad (name, age, hometown/club)
Paul Hamm*, 20, Waukesha, Wis./Chevron-Swiss Turners; Jason Gatson*, 22, Upland, Calif./Chevron-USOTC; Blaine Wilson, 28, Columbus, Ohio/Chevron-Ohio State; Morgan Hamm, 20, Waukesha, Wis./Chevron-Swiss Turners; Brett McClure, 22, Mill Creek, Wash./Chevron-USOTC; Raj Bhavsar, 22, Houston, Texas/Ohio State; Alexander Artemev, 17, Lakewood, Colo./Team Gattaca; alternate Guard Young, 26, Oklahoma City/Chevron-Oklahoma.
* indicates automatic Worlds Team qualifier