[ GYMNASTICS ]
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM|
Ailish Nolan from New Zealand performed on the uneven bars during the Pacific Alliance Championships at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The U.S. women follow the men’s
lead by taking gymnastics gold
at the Sheriff Center
The USA women's gymnastics team will have some difficult choices in the future. The rules for choosing the Olympic team haven't been set yet, but there will be plenty of options. The USA finished 1-2 in the all-around, with Allyse Ishino and Carly Patterson leading the team to victory.
The U.S. totaled 112.580 points for the gold medal of the Pacific Alliance Championships. Australia earned the silver medal with 109.530 points and China finished third with 108.763.
In the biggest meet of her career, Ishino made a huge statement in surpassing Patterson, the reigning World Championship silver medalist. Ishino scored 37.782 to edge Patterson (37.716). Australia's Allana Slater took home the bronze medal with a score of 37.532.
2004 Pacific Alliance Championships
Hoop--1. Mary Sanders, USA, 25.425; 2. Svetlana Poutintseva, Russia, 23.750; 3. Irina Kazakova, Russia, 23.450; 4. Lisa Wang, USA, 22.675; 5. Alexandra Orlando, Canada, 22.650; 6. Marina Shpeht, Russia, 22.350; 7. Olga Karmansky, USA, 22.075; 8. Cynthia Valdez, Mexico, 21.850; 9. Penelope Blackmore, Australia, 21.275; 10. Hui Yee See, Malaysia, 20.650.
Ball--1. Mary Sanders, USA, 22.225; 2. Alexandra Orlando, Canada, 21.100; 3. Svetlana Poutinseva, Russia, 21.050; 4. Marina Shpeht, Russia, 20.825; 5. Irina Kazakova, Russia, 20.350; 6. Lisa Wang, USA, 20.150; 7. Pamela Jewell, Canada, 18.650; 8. Cynthia Valdez, Mexico, 18.075; 9. Olga Karmansky, USA, 17.775; 10. Eliza Gower, Australia, 17.550.
1. Paul Hamm, USA, 57.265; 2. Bo Lu, China, 55.482; 3. David Kikuchi, Canada, 55.149; 4. Shuhei Nakamura, Japan, 54.933; 5. Grant Golding, Canada, 54.581; 6. Jorge Giraldolopez, Col, 54.415; 7. Ryosuke Baba, Japan, 53.947; 8. Hungpin Yu, Taipei, 53.649; 9. Shuwai Ng, Malaysia, 53.097; 10. Joel Moss, Australia, 52.314.
"This is the biggest meet I've ever won," said Ishino, who had a huge grin on her face. "I just wanted to hit all four events. I've been training routine after routine after routine. I showed I was able to follow through and prove myself."
Patterson led most of the night and had a great start on the uneven bars, the final U.S. rotation, but came to a still hang after stringing together two release moves.
"I felt pretty good with what I did today" Patterson said. "Bars wasn't the greatest. I'm hoping to peak at the U.S. championships, Olympic trials and Olympic Games."
Most in the crowd at the Stan Sheriff Center came to see Patterson but were treated to wonderful performances from all of the USA gymnasts. Ishino led a dynamic U.S. team that also got brilliant routines from Alicia Sacramone and Katie Heenan. All night Ishino and Sacramone could be seen relaxed and laughing with their teammates.
"Our team morale was great," Sacramone said. "We had a few mistakes, but no one's perfect."
Overall, women's national team coordinator Martha Karolyi was pleased with the results.
"It was a good day for us," Karolyi said. "It's a good competition. It's still early in our season. ... We are in the right place. Every competition counts when it gets closer, we'll look back to see how everyone performed."
The U.S. got off to a solid start on the first rotation. Patterson did an eye-popping routine on the balance beam. She launched herself onto the beam with a standing Arabian (half-turn, half-tuck), a more difficult move than most attempted. Her risky dismount that included a double Arabian (two half-turns, double front-tuck) dismount was rewarded handsomely by the judges who scored her a 9.8. It is a dismount that only Patterson would have attempted and performed with success.
Her routine on the floor exercise was done to sultry music and marred only by a step out of bounds on her second tumbling pass. Patterson was quite unfazed and her final two passes were flawless. She also led off an excellent round of vaults for the U.S.
Ishino got some last-minute coaching before she started her sprint down the long runway and she took the words to heart. The 16-year-old from Santa Ana, Calif., was spectacular, earning a 9.483 on her Yurchenko 1.5.
"She did wonderful today," Ishino's coach Steve Rybacki said. "She did a great job. Not as good as what she's capable of yet but probably her best performance in a large competition.
"This was very important for her to show that she can come into a high level meet and still perform like she can perform in a workout."
Sacramone blew the crowd away with a double-twisting, double Yurchenko that was the highest vault score (9.550) of the night. Sacramone got hugs from her teammates as she jogged back for her second vault.
Sacramone also tumbled with great energy on the floor exercise with a devastating display of power. Unfortunately she sat a landing on her third tumbling pass to receive an 8.666.
"It was a lot of fun. It's one of my best events," Sacramone said of the vault. "So is floor, but I had a little mistake tonight. I think I showed her that I'm trying my best to help out the team."