Bhardwaj Named To U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team
July 18, 2004
Former UCLA superstar Mohini Bhardwaj (1998-2001) was selected to the 2004 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics team Sunday afternoon following five days of training at the Olympic Team Selection Camp at the Women's National Team Training Center near Huntsville, Texas. Bhardwaj, 25, will join Courtney Kupets, Courtney McCool, Carly Patterson, Terin Humphrey and Annia Hatch on the U.S. squad, which is favored to win Olympic gold.
Allyse Ishino, Tasha Schwikert and Chellsie Memmel were named as alternates.
Bhardwaj, who is coached by UCLA assistant coach Chris Waller and Galina Marinova at All-Olympians, came out of nowhere to secure her Olympic berth. After winning an all-around bronze medal at the 2001 U.S. Championships and a team bronze at the 2001 World Championship, Bhardwaj suffered an injury in 2002 and retired from gymnastics. She decided to make a comeback in 2004 and qualified for the U.S. Championships, where she placed 12th to earn the final Olympic Trials spot. At the Trials in Anaheim, she stole the show with an inspired sixth-place effort and quickly became a fan favorite with her explosive gymnastics. At the selection camp, Bhardwaj continued to post impressive scores at two mock meets, earning a perfect 9.8 on vault in the first competition and earning 9.45+ scores on the other three events.
Bhardwaj, who placed 10th at the 1996 Olympic Trials, will be one of two UCLA gymnasts competing at the Games. Junior Kate Richardson earned her second consecutive Olympic berth on the Canadian team. In addition, UCLA alum Steve McCain was selected as an alternate for the U.S. men's team.
2004 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team
Alternates: Allyse Ishino, Chellsie Memmel, Tasha Schwikert