August 18, 2004 |
Catalina Ponor, who turns 17 this weekend, swiveled her hips, did double twisting somersaults and blew kisses to the dancing, cheering Romanian fans in the Olympic Indoor Hall, then dived into the waiting arms of her teammates, her vivacious floor exercise the prelude to the coronation. With a new team in a country where funding has disappeared, sad-eyed coach Octavio Belu coaxes perfection out of little girls who practice in stuffy, dimly lighted gyms but who dream only of gold.
July 19, 2008 |
NEW WAVERLY, Texas -- Kim Warren is a happily married mother of two, a kindergarten teacher in Cullman, Ala., and a keen observer of U.S. women's gymnastics. Her heart will break tonight for whichever of the hopeful girls who have gathered here at the Bela and Martha Karolyi ranch near Houston are left off the six-member U.S. gymnastics Olympic team. And her heart won't feel all that great for the girls who have made it. "The process is so hard and so fickle," Warren said.
July 20, 2008 |
NEW WAVERLY, Texas -- Bridget Sloan sat next to Jana Bieger. One huge smile on the right. Two teary eyes on the left. Sloan, 16, recovered from March knee surgery with pizazz and steady improvement and earned her spot on the 2008 U.S. women's gymnastics team with a sparkling vault Saturday night and competent work on the uneven bars. Bieger, 18, has gone from 2006 all-around world championship silver medalist to the most painful place -- an Olympic team alternate.
June 29, 2012 |
SAN JOSE - Nastia Liukin's legs flopped instead of standing straight as she swung around the uneven bars as if a strong gust of wind had blown through HP Pavilion. As the crowd was still gasping at that mistake, Liukin landed on her backside instead of her feet and in the first 10 minutes of the U.S. Olympic trials, Liukin's attempt at making her second Olympic team seemed over Friday night. Jordyn Wieber, a 16-year-old from DeWitt, Mich., put herself firmly in first place after the first of two nights of the U.S. Olympic trials.
June 5, 2008 |
BOSTON -- Mattie Larson is trying to break into an all-star lineup, and perhaps because of that she is easily able to deliver the most forthright criticism of her gymnastics from USA team coordinator Martha Karolyi. "She says I have to be more confident in my face and be more expressive and just, you know, project better," Larson said last weekend after her practice session at All Olympia Gymnastics Center in Los Angeles. As the daughter of two actors, she sees the irony.
June 27, 2012 |
SAN JOSE -- Nastia Liukin did a real landing off the uneven bars, with a little help from her father and coach, Valeri. Liukin, the defending Olympic all-around gold medalist, made the decision earlier this year to make a comeback that has been halting at best. She was barely able to complete routines in her signature event, the uneven bars, at the U.S. national championships two weeks ago, and she was not doing a dismount. Liukin did her dismount Wednesday during podium training at the HP Pavilion, where the Olympic trials begin Thursday for the men and Friday for the women.
June 8, 2008 |
BOSTON -- The chase is on. Shawn Johnson held on to her U.S. national championships all-around title Saturday by pounding out eight solid routines over two nights, but Nastia Liukin closed fast and with flash. And the two Americans did nothing to discourage the sense that they are co-favorites to win the Olympic all-around gold medal in August. Johnson, 16, of West Des Moines, Iowa, earned her win with resolute performances on every apparatus and cemented it with her athletic floor routine.
September 2, 2007 |
Rich Beem isn't going quietly from these PGA Tour playoffs. One week after he narrowly avoided elimination, Beem kept alive his improbable run Saturday at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Norton, Mass., with birdies on his last four holes for a five-under-par 66, leaving him in a three-way tie with Mike Weir and Aaron Baddeley. Weir shot 68 and Baddeley birdied his final hole for a 66.
October 19, 2006 |
China knocked off the heavily favored U.S. women in the team gymnastics world championship finals Wednesday in Aarhus, Denmark, an upset that came courtesy of a mistake-filled evening that stunned and perplexed the Americans and the team that beat them. "Totally, totally unexpected," U.S. team coordinator Martha Karolyi said of China's first world title. A team that dominated in qualifying two nights earlier barely looked the same with the medals on the line.
June 24, 2004 |
The stands were empty, yet Raj Bhavsar heard echoes of the roars that filled the Arrowhead Pond in August when the U.S. men's gymnastics team won a world championship silver medal. "The karma is definitely still here," he said Wednesday. "I feel it." Paul Hamm sensed it too. "I remember coming down the elevator just the other day and almost getting nervous again, because it felt so familiar," said Hamm, who was crowned the world all-around champion at Anaheim.