USA Comes From Behind To Win Team Silver

USA Comes From Behind To Win Team Silver

For Immediate Release – Aug. 16, 2004
Brian Eaton, USA Gymnastics

ATHENS – The U.S. men’s gymnastics team came from behind in the final rotation on high bar to win the team silver medal late Monday at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Team USA scored a 172.933 to trail Japan at 173.821. Romania took the bronze at 172.384.The men’s team medal is the United States’ first since 1984 and only the fourth in U.S. history. It marks the third consecutive team silver medal in this quadrennium following back-to-back team silvers at the 2001 and 2003 World Championships.

“We came here as a team. Our whole goal was to win a medal,” said team member Jason Gatson. vAll the individual stuff happens after the team. I’m just excited I’ve got a silver medal and I’m going home with a medal.v

The United States led the competition after stellar performances on floor and pommel horse. However, a lapse on still rings and vault dropped the U.S. to third behind Romania and Japan. As Romania struggled on parallel bars and high bar, the United States shined on two of its stronger events to surpass Romania for the silver. The U.S. earned a 9.712 from Blaine Wilson, followed by a 9.737 from Paul Hamm and a 9.825 from Jason Gatson to regain the lead for good.

vMy main focus was to come here and win a medal as a team, and we did just that,v said three-time Olympian Blaine Wilson. vIt wasn’t easy. We had a rough bit in the middle of the meet, but we got everyone together and said, let’s get this done.v

Team USA started fourth on floor, and watched contenders from Japan, China and Romania all step out of bounds. Leading off, Guard Young scored a 9.700. Morgan Hamm followed with a 9.712 and Paul Hamm finished the rotation with a 9.725 to put the U.S. in the lead. The U.S. men then scored two 9.650s and one 9.750 to keep the lead through pommel horse.

Japan took the lead on still rings, and turned it over to Romania after vault. However, Romania struggled on parallel bars, narrowing their lead to just 0.135 between first and third place after five rotations. Romania’s Razvan Selariu suffered a fall to lead off high bar, opening the door for both the U.S. and Japan to move ahead. Japan finished with scores of 9.787, 9.825 and 9.850 to seal the victory.

USA’s Brett McClure and Paul Hamm will now prepare for the men’s All-Around final on Weds., Aug. 18. Hamm qualified in 1st place for the final, with McClure qualifying in 19th place. Hamm also qualified for four event finals later in the week, and will be joined by brother Hamm in two of those events.

The team final is scored using a 6-3-3 format – three men compete and all three scores count – eliminating any margin for error. The 2004 Games is the first Olympics to use the 6-3-3 finals scoring format.

The United States led all nations with 18 medal opportunities across six nights of finals. Competition continues on Tuesday with the women’s team final at 9 p.m. at the Olympic Indoor Hall.

2004 Men’s U.S. Olympic Team
Name / Age / Hometown / Residence / Club
Jason Gatson 24 / Upland, Calif./Mesa / Ariz Colorado Springs, Colo. / Team Chevron-USOTC
Morgan Hamm 21 / Waukesha, Wis. / Columbus, OhiovTeam Chevron-Ohio
Paul Hamm 21 / Waukesha, Wis. / Columbus, Ohio / Team Chevron-Ohio
Brett McClure 23 / Mill Creek, Wash. / Colorado Springs, Colo. / Team Chevron-USOTC
Blaine Wilson 30 / Columbus, Ohio / Columbus, Ohio / Team Chevron-Ohio
Guard Young 27 / Oklahoma City, Okla. / Norman, Okla. / Team Chevron-Okla.For team bios, recent clippings, quotes, start orders and schedule information, visit: www.usa-gymnasticsolympics.com.

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