Bhardwaj Selected To Olympic Training Squad

June 27, 2004

Anaheim, CA - Former UCLA star Mohini Bhardwaj earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic Training Squad and will compete for one of four spots on the Olympic team at a training camp at the Karolyi Ranch in Houston, TX July 11-18. The team selection will be made live on NBC on July 18.

Bhardwaj finished the Trials in sixth place overall with a two-day score of 74.85. She recorded a 37.425 in today's competition, one-tenth of a point higher than on the first day. Bhardwaj posted the second-highest scores of the day on both vault (9.6) and uneven bars (9.575) and was steady on the balance beam (9.025) and floor exercise (9.225).

An audience favorite, Bhardwaj started her meet with a stellar uneven bars set, hitting her unique and difficult Pak-full, along with four other major release moves, and nailing her full-twisting double layout dismount. She earned a score of 9.575, one-tenth higher than the previous night.

On balance beam in rotation two, Bhardwaj had a few wobbles but stayed on the beam, earning a score of 9.025, equal to her first-day total. She also equaled her first-day score on floor exercise, scoring a 9.225.

Moving on to the final event, vault, Bhardwaj hit a strong Yurchenko double full for a score of 9.6, solidfying her sixth place standing.

Courtney Kupets and Courtney McCool finished 1-2 in the standings, earning an automatic spot on the Olympic team, pending readiness. Ten others were named to the Olympic Training Squad - Bhardwaj, Annia Hatch, Terin Humphrey, Allyse Ishino, Carly Janiga, Carly Patterson, Tasha Schiwkert, Liz Tricase, Hollie Vise and Tabitha Yim. Also going to the training camp are petitioned athletes Chellsie Memmel, Marcia Newby and Nicole Harris.

Bhardwaj will bring to the selection camp years of experience, having been a national team member for eight years and a two-time World Championships competitor. 'I think (my experience) is definitely a factor. I've probably had, including my years competing in college, four or five times as many competitions as the others have had.'

UCLA assistant coach and Bhardwaj's club coach Chris Waller attributed Bhardwaj's impressive uneven bars performance to her training squad selection.

'I know that if she hadn't hit that big bar set today she wouldn't be at camp,' he said. 'It was vital that she had a big score on two events at this competition.'

Another Bruin alum was selected to the Olympic Training Squad. On the men's side, Steve McCain (1993-94) placed fourth overall and will compete with six others (Raj Bhavsar, David Durante, Todd Thornton, Sean Townsend, Blaine Wilson and Guard Young) at a training camp for two spots on the Olympic team. Already named to the team are Paul Hamm, Brett McClure, Jason Gatson and Morgan Hamm.

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