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Gymnastics Worlds Notebook

August 25, 2003

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ Chellsie Memmel learned the price of taking people by surprise.

Caught off guard by Memmel’s high-scoring routines in team events early in the World Gymnastics Championships, officials from the International Gymnastics Federation took the unusual step of asking for videotapes of the one-time alternate’s routines before the women’s all-around.

Memmel’s coach, Jim Chudy, said he felt the request for the tapes set things up for her to be scrutinized more harshly during the all-around, where she finished eighth Friday night.

``She identified herself as one of the best, and I think they started looking at her for more excellence,″ Chudy said.

The debate over whether it was fair will continue. What is certain is that the start value for Memmel’s bars routine was lowered from a 10 during the women’s team finals to a 9.8 during the all-around. Her start value on beam was lowered from a 10 to a 9.5.

Two judges on an eight-person panel determine start values, which can be reduced for a number of reasons _ including falls and bobbles that prevent the gymnast from completing several moves in succession.

Chudy felt the 0.2 deduction on the bars _ which resulted in a score of 9.362 _ was a bit too harsh.

``I think it affected her, she felt a little deflated and she went over to the beam not as confident,″ Chudy said.

Memmel wobbled through the beam routine and received a score of 8.875 off a start value of 9.5. Again, Chudy didn’t agree with the start value.

In the end, no official protest was filed and FIG officials downplayed the ordeal.

``Nothing was changed,″ Jackie Fie, head of the FIG women’s technical committee, told the San Jose Mercury News. ``We would like to forget it. It was an unpleasant experience.″

USA Gymnastics president Bob Colarossi said he wasn’t upset about the scoring.

``It was a great effort, it just wasn’t her best routine,″ he said.

Women’s team coordinator Martha Karolyi wasn’t as happy with the result, however.

``I don’t think it was proper,″ she said. ``I’d like to find out exactly what happened. Right now, all I have is pieces.″

In addition to the team gold, Memmel tied Hollie Vise for the gold on the uneven bars in event finals Saturday. Memmel finished sixth in the beam Sunday, but fell midway through her routine, leaving no room for a judging debate.

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UNSELFISH GOLD: Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan was competing for more than just herself and her country.

Chusovitina has a 3-year-old son, Alisher, who has been diagnosed with leukemia. He is at a hospital in Germany.

Chusovitina won the gold medal in the vault on Saturday, and she will earn a monetary reward from her country’s Olympic committee. She said it’s difficult to leave his side, but she knows she’s doing it for the right reasons.

``I’m doing this for him,″ Chusovitina said. ``I’m helping him by earning money for his treatment. That’s what keeps me strong.″

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PACK YOUR BAGS: Some gymnasts already know what they’re doing next summer.

These worlds served as the qualifier for next year’s Athens Olympics, and 30 teams secured at least two spots.

The top 12 finishers in the men’s and women’s preliminaries earned the right to send a full team _ six gymnasts _ to the Olympics. Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Romania, Russia, Spain, Ukraine and the United States qualified for the men’s team competition.

Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, North Korea, Romania, Russia, Spain, Ukraine and the United States qualified for the women’s competition.

The teams that finished 13th to 18th can send two gymnasts of their choosing. Belarus, Bulgaria, Cuba, Latvia, North Korea and Switzerland will send two male gymnasts, while Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Mexico and the Netherlands will send two female athletes.

The 10 highest individual finishers whose countries didn’t qualify also secured spots for Athens. Yernar Yerimbetov of Kazakstan; Pavel Gofman of Israel; Runar Alexandersson of Iceland; Shu Wai Ng of Malaysia; Robert Gal of Hungary; Vlasos Maras of Greece; Jorge Hugo Giraldo of Colombia; Felipe Bezugo of Portugal; Mosiah Rodrigues of Brazil; and Ilia Giorgiadze of Georgia are guaranteed spots in the men’s competition.

Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan; Leyanet Gonzalez of Cuba; Assgje Van Walleghem of Belarus; Evegenia Kuznetsova of Bulgaria; Jana Komrskova of the Czech Republic; Melanie Marte of Switzerland; Veronica Wagner of Sweden; Joanna Skowronska of Poland; Yung Ah Park of Korea; and Veronika Asamska of Slovakia won spots in the women’s competition.

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ROPES AND MATS: Elizabeth Tweddle’s bronze on the uneven bars was the first at worlds for a woman from Great Britain. ... Dimosthenis Tampakos of Greece won’t make the Olympics, but he will take a medal home to the Olympic country. He won silver in the vault with a score of 9.787. ... There are no world championships next year because it’s an Olympic year. The next world championships are in 2005 in Melbourne, Australia. ... Nine days of action drew 85,872 fans. ... The Pond in Anaheim is the home of next year’s Olympic trials.

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