Moses, Keim Earn Olympic Berths; Lenzi Fifth in Men's 3-Meter Prelim
Jun. 21, 1996
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Melisa Moses decided she would go to the Olympics the day she was forced out of gymnastics by injuries. Eight years later, she earned a trip to the Atlanta Games as a diver.
Moses easily won the 3-meter title in the U.S. Olympic trials Thursday night with a score of 862.53.
Jenny Keim, the current national springboard champion, received three perfect scores of 10.0 for a reverse 2 1/2 somersault that landed her on the Olympic team at age 18. Keim totaled 823.65 points.
Defending Olympic champion Mark Lenzi showed the effects of a 20-month retirement, finishing fifth in the men's 3-meter preliminaries with a 433.56 total. Scott Donie took first place.
Moses, 24, led from start to finish and performed consistently even after Keim's next-to-last dive earned a standing ovation from the crowd at the Indiana University Natatorium.
She took up diving at 16 after a broken hand and serious neck injury ended her gymnastics dreams.
Mary Ellen Clark, a 1992 Olympian, faltered on a backward 2 1/2 somersault that dropped her from fourth to sixth after two optional dives. She finished sixth.
Clark, 33, has another chance to qualify for Atlanta beginning Friday in the 10-meter preliminaries. She won a bronze medal on the platform at Barcelona.
Keim, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was third entering the five-dive final. She moved up to second on her first dive and stayed there on the strength of the reverse 2 1/2 somersault that earned three 10.0s, two 9.5s and two 9.0s from the seven judges.
Moses responded to Keim's pressure with six 9.0s for a forward 2 1/2 somersault before closing out the competition with a reverse 2 1/2 somersault that earned two marks of 9.0 or better.
Eileen Richetelli of Milford, Conn., finished third with 805.41 points. Angie Trostel came into the final in second place, but succumbed to the pressure and wound up fourth. She will return in Friday's platform preliminaries.
In the men's 3-meter preliminaries, Donie, the 1992 Olympic silver medalist on the 10-meter board, took the lead from Panaro after the third of six optional dives. Donie, who was fourth on the springboard in the '92 trials, was first with 475.38 points.
``For me, this is the hardest part,'' Donie said. ``I sort of come on in the finals, but there's a long way to go.''
Panaro stunned the crowd on his opening dive, a forward 3 1/2 somersault with a 3.1 degree of difficulty, that earned four marks of 9.5 and two 9.0s from the seven judges. Panaro totaled 458.67.
``I did two good dives and the rest I just landed on my head as usual,'' he said. ``I may not be one of the favorites in your eyes or the eyes of the diving world, but Scott was the kind of pace car and I just followed him up.''
Lenzi, the local favorite from Bloomington who returned to diving in April 1995, also trails 1988 Olympian Mark Bradshaw and Kevin McMahon of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
All 13 men advanced to Friday's 3-meter semifinals, with their scores carrying over.