Members of the 1996 Olympic team, Dominique Moceanu, Dominique Dawes and Amy Chow returned in 2000 searching for another Olympic run in Sydney. Similar to these three women, this year at the 2012 Visa Championships, returning Olympians Bridget Sloan, Nastia Liukin, and Alicia Sacramone will all be looking to secure a spot on a second Olympic team.
Cinncinnati Gymnastics Academy (CGA) had three gymnasts place in the top ten in the 2000 championships. This year CGA has two senior gymnasts, Amanda Jetter and Brianna Brown, competing at the Visa Championships, as well as two juniors, Lexie Priessman, Amelia Hundley, and Alexis Beucler. CGA owner and long time coach Mary Lee Tracy has had consistent appearances from her gymnasts at the championships.
Twelve years ago, Blaine Wilson defended his title at the 2000 championships for the fifth consecutive year in a row. He is only the third male gymnast to do so in U.S. gymnastics history. Fans in St.Louis were seeing double as twins Paul and Morgan Hamm lit up the competition stage. Morgan placed eighth behind Paul who took third, but both men went on to compete in Sydney. Four years later Paul was crowned the all-around Olympic Champion in Athens. Recently, Paul had a short lived comeback at the beginning of 2012, but both brothers are now retired.
Junior women's competitor Kristal Uzelac earned her second consecutive junior title in 2000, but then fell under the radar once competing at the senior level. Terin Humphrey, who earned second place, went on to compete for the U.S. in the 2004 Olympics and earned a silver medal on the uneven bars. Humphrey is currently the athlete representative on the Olympic selection committee. She will be helping choose the women who will be representing the U.S. in London.
Carly Patterson placed fourth in the junior’s competition in 2000 and went on to make the Olympic team in 2004. In Athens, Patterson won the all-around crown and took part in earning the U.S. team silver. The 2000 championships are also where Chellsie Memmel first performed on a national stage, placing 17th at the junior level. Memmel went on to win the world all-around title in 2005 and earn a spot on the Olympic team in 2008.
The 2000 junior men's champion was Justin Spring who currently holds the position of head coach at his alma mater, the University of Illinois. This year Spring coached the Illini to its first NCAA Championship since 1989. He is currently helping train 2012 Olympic hopefuls C.J. Maestas, Paul Ruggeri, and David Sender who will all be in the mix at the Visa Championships this weekend.
Follow all of the action when the Visa Championships return to St. Louis this weekend here on Gymnastike. Coverage begins Wednesday with podium training updates and videos. For more information click here.