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Memmel Only to Compete on Uneven Bars at Beijing Olympic Gymnastics
    2008-08-07 23:17:08     Xinhua
By sportswriter Chen Yu

U.S. female gymnast Chellsie Memmel will only compete on uneven bars during the Beijing Olympics Games due to an ankle injury obtained days ago in training, the U.S. gymnastics women's team confirmed on Thursday.

The former women's all-round champion only practiced her bars routines during Thursday's podium training, a rare chance for gymnasts to get used to the competition venue before the Games. She went through three turns on bars, and above all, practiced her dismount.

Following a press conference after the U.S. gymnasts' podium training, Martha Karolyi, an official with the USA Gymnastics who is with the U.S. team throughout the Games, confirmed that Memmel will only compete on bars, her strong apparatus.

Considering Memmel's situation as well as the interests of the whole team, it's better to have Memmel only on bars, an apparatus on which her injured ankle will not effect her too much, Karolyi said.

She believed Memmel did quite well on her bar routines during the podium training. The line-up of the U.S. women team has not come out yet, she said.

According to Memmel, she hurt her ankle on a punch on floor exercise in a morning workout last Saturday. "It had been a little sore prior to that, but I really felt it on that punch."

She admitted her injury makes his mount a little more difficult, but not much, so she is still confident. "My ankle is sore but I am fine. I can deal with it."

Earlier, Lu Shanzhen, head coach of the Chinese gymnastics women's team, who will fight an uphill battle against the United States for the women's team title, said he believed the U.S. team will not be weakened as a result of Memmel's absence from three other apparatus.

"The U.S. team only needs Memmel to do her bars, her strongest apparatus. Nothing changes if Memmel does not compete on other apparatus," he said.

The Chinese girls only need to concentrate on themselves, he added. As for women's team gold medal, Lu said both China and the United States have their chances, and the results depend on how they perform in competition.
 
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