GYMNASTICS / WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS : U.S. Women Look Strong Going Into the Optional Team Finals

The U.S. women, who have never placed higher than fourth in a world championship or Olympic team competition, enter tonight’s team finals with their best chance to win a silver or bronze medal.

The Americans are second to the Soviet Union after the compulsory exercises, the highest the United States has ever placed at this halfway point. Traditionally, the Americans have been weak in compulsories, but there are several possible reasons for the U.S. success here.

For the record:

12:00 AM, Sep. 12, 1991 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday September 12, 1991 Home Edition Sports Part C Page 2 Column 3 Sports Desk 2 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction
Gymnastics--The United States women’s team won a silver medal in gymnastics at the 1984 Olympic Games. It was incorrectly reported in Wednesday’s editions that the women’s team had never finished higher than fourth in the World Championships or the Olympics.

First, the U.S. Gymnastics Federation began to toughen national competitions in the compulsories about three years ago.

Second, in this competition, none of the six Americans fell off the beam, traditionally a weak event for the United States. Shannon Miller tied with the Soviets’ Svetlana Boguinskaia for the best beam score, 9.937. No American scored below 9.650.


In addition, the influence of U.S. Coach Bela Karolyi is evident. He has had a hand in the training of all six Americans. Miller, 14, worked under Karolyi for several years. She finished second in the compulsories behind Boguinskaia. Michelle Campi finished 16th after compulsories. She trained with Karolyi before switching to coach Rick Newman in Carmichael, Calif.