Oct. 18, 2006
Aarhus, Denmark - Junior David Sender wraps up a series of diary entries today from the 2006 World Championships in Denmark. Team USA finished 13th in their bracket, just 1.1 points out of eighth place, which would have qualified them for the final.
Entry #3 - Day 14
"It's four days after the competition, and things didn't go so well for the U.S. team. The competition began at 9 am with warm-ups at 7 am, so the team was up at 4:30 for breakfast at 5 am (that wasn't so fun, but that's what we train for). Warm-ups seemed to go well for everyone, so we were ready to go at the first event, which was Floor Exercise. The team did great! Everyone hit their sets, and we were off to a great start. It looked like maybe our nerves and the pressure weren't going to get to us after all. Second event: Pommel Horse. Still, the team looked great. There were a few struggles here and there, but everyone stayed on. Third event: Still Rings. The first four guys were great-exactly what we needed. It was down to just our big gun, the anchor man on rings. After being sick with food poisoning the first couple days in Denmark, his usual routine packed with difficulty seemed a little too much for him. He missed two times on that routine, and without that big score, our team was set back quite a bit. It seemed to only go downhill from there. Vault was next, which is usually a great event for us. Everyone's vaults were good, but not spectacular enough to bring the U.S. team back to where we needed to be. Parallel Bars was worse. With a few bobbles in the routines before, we needed some big scores from our last two guys. Unfortunately, one of them fell twice on his routine to really set the team back. We tried to get a rally going on High Bar, but again we had too many misses. Between our last two guys, we had three more falls. We ended up third place in our session, behind Korea (second in our session) by just three tenths of a point. Russia was ahead by nearly five points. We waited a day and a half for all the sessions to finish to find out the U.S. team ended up in 13th place. Only the top eight teams make it into team finals. Fortunately, we still have two guys in individual all-around finals, one of which will also compete in individual event finals for pommel horse on Friday.
Maybe we didn't do so well because we're a young team, or maybe it's because none of us have been to World Championships before. Personally, I don't like to make excuses. All I know is that we didn't make a good showing this time, and we're all going to go back to our training gyms at home and work our butts off so that it never happens again. The rest of the week is just training for everyone that didn't make it into any finals. We will also watch the other competitions to see what we need to work on to be in the running for a medal. We already watched team finals yesterday, and I'll tell you what, we belonged there. We were just as good as most of the teams out there. I guess it really just comes down to who can stay on the events when it matters.
Anyway, we're still enjoying Denmark, and the people seem to only be getting nicer. Just as a side note: I know Thom already mentioned how a lot of people ride bikes here, but there are very few bike locks, but they also have this system where you can rent bikes. You put in 20 Kroner (about $3.50) into this machine, and then you can take out a bike for however long you want, and when you return it to any other machine, it gives you the 20 Kroner back. It's a great system. If only we could get something like that on campus."