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Ueberroth Joins Gym Team

February 15, 2003|Helene Elliott

Peter Ueberroth, president of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, on Friday was named chairman of the advisory board for the World Gymnastics Championships, to be held Aug. 16-24 at the Arrowhead Pond.

His appointment reunites several key figures from the 1984 Games: Coach Bela Karolyi, five-time medalist Mary Lou Retton and triple medalist Peter Vidmar were named honorary co-chairs of the event earlier this week.

"It's kind of nostalgic, with Mary Lou, Bela and me," said Vidmar, who won gold in the team and pommel horse events and silver in the all-around. "Certainly, the L.A. Olympics were a big success in many ways. Having Mr. Ueberroth is a nice thing for the business community. Mary Lou, Bela and I cover the athletic side. We can go out to the gyms. We're totally thrilled to have Mr. Ueberroth involved."

Ueberroth, who also chairs the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles, will head a panel of civic and business leaders in support of the event, the qualifier for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Pond General Manager Tim Ryan estimated its economic impact on the area at $25 million to $30 million. Karolyi predicted it will also be successful for U.S. gymnasts.

"This time, I believe we're going to have a double victory -- all-around and team," said Karolyi, who has no official title within USA Gymnastics but runs training camps at his Texas ranch with his wife, Martha, the U.S. women's team coordinator.

Retton will return to the sport after giving birth to four daughters whose ages range from 7 months to 7 years. "I'm back," said Retton, the 1984 all-around champion. "I'm so thrilled to be part of this."

-- Helene Elliott

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