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Krylov, Kasparovich Hurt

August 17, 2003|Lauren Peterson

With a series of cruel twists, the fortunes of some of the top contenders in the World Gymnastics Championships took turns for the worse during preliminary qualifying Saturday night at the Arrowhead Pond.

Belarus, which won the team gold medal at the 2001 world championships, and 2000 Olympic bronze medalist Russia each lost athletes to left Achilles' tendon injuries.

One of Russia's best in the all-around, Evgeni Krylov, was hurt on the first pass in his country's first rotation in the floor exercise. Belarus' Dmitri Kasparovich suffered his injury on the same apparatus in the third rotation.

Despite the injuries, Russia finished the first day of preliminary competition third in the standings with 223.380 points, behind leader Japan (227.046) and Romania (224.770). Belarus wound up seventh with 219.120.

Other teams' misfortune may help the U.S., which is expected to finish among the top eight in qualifying and advance to the team finals Tuesday and begins preliminaries at 4 p.m. today.

Two-time all-around national champion Paul Hamm; his twin brother Morgan, the U.S. floor exercise champion, and parallel bars national champion Jason Gatson will lead a talented, deep squad that figures to compete for a medal. Paul Hamm, Gatson and still rings national champion Blaine Wilson are the only U.S. athletes competing in all six events. The trio will compete for two spots for Americans in the individual all-round finals.

In early individual preliminary action, three-time world champion Marian Dragulescu of Romania and Kyle Shewfelt of fifth-place Canada posted top scores of 9.825 and 9.762, respectively, in the vault.

-- Lauren Peterson

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