Memmel to Miss Pan American Games
Chellsie Memmel will bypass the Pan American Games as she continues her recovery from shoulder and foot injuries sustained at last year’s world championships.
Here’s the full text of the story that ran on the AP wire:
Memmel, Bieger will miss Pan Am Games
BYLINE: NANCY ARMOUR, AP National Writer
May 30, 2007 Wednesday 10:25 PM GMT
The U.S. women’s gymnastics team will be missing a few of its stars at the Pan American Games this summer.
Chellsie Memmel and Jana Bieger, who combined to win seven medals at the last two world championships, are recovering from injuries and weren’t named to the Pan Am training squad Wednesday. Alicia Sacramone, gold medalist on floor at the 2005 worlds, just wrapped up her first college season and will miss the Pan Am Games, as well.
Two-time national champion Nastia Liukin leads the 12-person training squad, along with promising Shawn Johnson and Samantha Peszek. The team six women and three alternates will be selected after a training camp in early July.
The Pan Am Games are July 13-29 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“It’s better to happen now even than at the end of the summer and miss nationals and worlds,” said Bieger, the world all-around silver medalist who had foot surgery in March. “It’s definitely a disappointment when you’re hurt and you have to miss a competition. But you have to look ahead and into the future.”
The Americans have traditionally sent their younger, up-and-coming gymnasts to the Pan Am Games. But this is a critical summer in the gymnastics calendar. The world championships in September are the qualifier for the Beijing Olympics, and U.S. officials want to be sure all the gymnasts on the world team have been tested at a major international meet.
Liukin and Natasha Kelley, members of last year’s world team, are the veteran members of the training squad. Joining them are Johnson, who won the prestigious American Cup earlier this year in her first meet as a senior, and Peszek, among the top juniors the last few years.
Also making the squad were: Rebecca Bross, Sarah DeMeo, Ivana Hong, Hilary Mauro, Bridget Sloan, Amber Trani, Cassandra Whitcomb and Shayla Worley.
“I went in 2003, and that was just so much fun. It was my first real meet,” said Liukin, who has since won two gold medals and three silvers at the world championships. “To go back when I’m 17, I think it’ll be so much fun.”
Memmel, the world all-around champ in 2005, injured her shoulder and foot at the world championships last October. She had shoulder reconstruction surgery in November, and recently began training again. Bieger was injured during training at American Cup.
Sacramone just finished her first year at Brown. Rather than rush her return to full elite training, she’s targeting nationals and worlds.
All three are expected to be available for both the national championships and worlds. Nationals are Aug. 15-18 in San Jose, Calif. The world championships are Sept. 1-9 in Stuttgart, Germany.
“The Olympics,” Memmel said, “are the ultimate goal.”