1996 U.S. Olympic Trials-Gymnastics
Boston, Massachussetts / June 25-30, 1996
Star-Studded Women's Team Heads for AtlantaJune 30, 1996
Dawes and Strug have each competed on five World Championship teams. Dawes, the 1994 National Champion, has won World medals on bars and beam. Strug placed seventh in the all-around at the 1995 World Championships, and has been a member of all the medal-earning USA teams since 1991.
Strug, who is coached by Marta and Bela Karolyi, scored a 9.95 on the vault, which was the highest score of the night, a distinction that she shared with Dawes. Strug also tumbled to the highest floor score, a 9.925. "I had a problem on bars, but overall it's one of the best competitions that I've had," said Strug. Dawes, who is coached by Kelli Hill, scored a 9.95 on her uneven bars routine.
Miller is coached by Steve Nunno of Dynamo Gymnastics. She is a two-time World Champion (1993, 1994) and two-time USA National Champion (1993, 1996). She has won the world title on bars (1993), beam (1994), and floor (1993), and has competed in every World or Olympic all-around final since 1991. "Everyone up here has been to a Worlds, so I think we'll have what we need in Atlanta. We'll work together as a team," said Miller.
Moceanu, like Strug, is coached by Marta and Bela Karolyi. Moceanu was the 1994 Junior National Champion, the 1995 Senior National Champion, and earned the only individual USA medal at the 1995 World Championships, a silver medal on beam.
Amanda Borden, who trains with Phelps, had the third best optional total but remained in fifth place. Borden was thrilled to qualify to the team, after sitting out of competition for a year because of injury. Having competed in the 1992 Trials competition, Borden is also considered one of the veterans of the sport. Comparing 1992 to 1996, she said, "In 1992, I had only competed with 'the big girls' once before. I had a lot more experience coming into this competition, and I knew what I needed to do." Borden, who is the current Pan American Games beam champion, scored a 9.862 on beam, the highest score on that event.
Amy Chow entered and finished the optional competition in fourth place. She demonstrated a new routine on floor, and superior difficulty on vault and most notably bars. She suffered a scare on beam, her last event, however, when she hit her head on the apparatus while falling on a back layout in her acrobatic series, one of the first major parts of her routine. She remounted and completed the rest of her skills, including a full twisting back flip initiated from a stand, to the thunderous applause and support from the crowd. "I didn't feel dizzy or anything," Chow said. "I just knew that if I didn't do the rest of the routine, I wasn't going anywhere."
Chow, who is currently coached by Mark Young and Diane Amos at West Valley Gymnastics, has signed a letter of intent with Stanford and will continue her career at the collegiate level. Strug will compete for UCLA, while Borden will return to Georgia after the Games to join the gymnastics team at UGA.
Martha Karolyi (Karolyi's Gymnastics) has been nominated as the head coach and Mary Lee Tracy (Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy) has been nominated as the assistant coach for the 1996 Women's Olympic Gymnastics Team.
Dawes, who is nineteen, is the oldest qualifier. She will turn twenty in November of this year. Miller and Borden are also nineteen, while Strug and Chow are eighteen. Phelps is sixteen; and Moceanu is the youngest qualifier, currently fourteen.
Phelps finishes first in Women's CompulsoriesJune 28, 1996
Jaycie Phelps, from Greenfield, Ind., scored 46.887 points in the compulsory round of competition at the Trials to lead the field of fourteen women gymnasts. Former Olympians Dominique Dawes and Kerri Strug, are in second and third, respectively. The optional round of competition will be on Sunday afternoon.
Phelps, who is coached by Mary Lee Tracy of Cincinnati Gymnastics, lead the competition after the first rotation but dropped to second after an error on bars; her score, 9.662, still ranked third on that event. Her balanced beam routine, the best of all competitors on that apparatus, returned her to first place, which she held through the last rotation with an excellent 9.837 on floor.
Regarding her plan for the optional competition, Phelps said, "Training has been going very well. I know I have to do the routines the way I've been training them."
The highest score on bars (9.725) was earned by Dominique Dawes, who is the current national champion on each apparatus. She had an error on the mount of the compulsory beam routine, but still placed second on that apparatus (tied with Amy Chow) with a score of 9.637. Her total score, 46.887, is only slightly behind that of leader Phelps.
"Obviously, I'm not known for being strong in compulsories," said Dawes. "I'm looking forward to the optional competition." She received the highest total score in optionals at the 1996 Coca-Cola National Championships but finished sixth overall at that meet, due to errors in her compulsory routines. Dawes is coached by Kelli Hill.
Former Olympian Kerri Strug, who is coached by the world famous Bela Karolyi, overcame a weak compulsory bars effort to place third overall. Strug scored the highest mark of the competition twice, with a 9.887 on both vault and floor. When asked how she handled her mistake on bars, Strug replied, "Growing up has helped me to realize that you need to put things behind you, and move on to your next events." Strug has been a member of five world championships teams, and is the only competing athlete in the women's competition who was on the 1991 Worlds team.
Currently in fifth place is Amanda Borden, who took second all-around at the 1995 Pan American Games. Borden was unable to compete in the remainder of 1995 and early 1996 because of two injuries. She dropped to eighth at one point due to a low 9.262 on bars, but quickly moved back up after floor, where scored a 9.812, her best score of the night. "We've all trained; we're all strong; now it comes down to mental toughness. If I can believe it in my mind, it can happen."
Borden and Dawes, who are each nineteen years old, are the two oldest competitors in the women's field. "All of us have proved that we're getting better and stronger as we get older," Borden stated. "As long as you enjoy what you're doing, anything's possible."
1996 National Champion Shannon Miller, and 1995 National Champion Dominique Moceanu, have petitioned into the U.S. Olympic Trials-Gymnastics due to injuries. Miller has a nagging wrist injury and Moceanu has a stress fracture in her right tibia. According to the Olympic selection procedures, the scores they each received from National Championships will stand as their scores for the Olympic Trials. If their scores hold in the top seven at the conclusion of the Olympic Trials then they will have earned one of the seven spots on the U.S. Olympic Team, pending USOC approval.
Amy Chow and Andree Pickens, both unable to complete the competition at the 1996 Coca-Cola National Gymnastics Championships because of injury, have successfully petitioned the Women's Selection Committee to participate in the U.S. Olympic Trials. Additionally, Shannon Miller, the reigning national champion, and Dominique Moceanu, last year's national champion, are both currently injured and unable to participate in the Trials. Miller and Moceanu have both successfully petitioned to use their scores from Championships for the Trials. More information about these petitions can be read on press releases found in our Press Room.