19. August 2006  
St. Paul, MN / USA  
Artistic Gymnastics

Nastia Liukin and Alexander Artemev win US All-around Titles

The national championships of the USA Gymnastics Federation held in St. Paul, Minnesota this week.
Nastia Liukin won her second straight national title Saturday despite closing her night with a wobbling, warbling beam routine that belied her usual elegance and excellence. On second place came Natasha Kelley, followed by Jana Bieger, a member of last year's world championship US team,

Alexander Artemev (20), fist nationional senior's AA title!

Artemev entered the night with a lead of 0.50 points over Guillermo Alvarez but pulled clear with outstanding performances on pommel horse, with a score of 15.35 on the new open-ended International Gymnastics Federation scoring system, and 15.9 on vault, with a performance score of 9.7 out of 10.0 on that event.

While Artemev held a convincing lead of more than a point over Jonathan Horton, who won the NCAA all-around title at Oklahoma, it would have been closer had not Horton fallen off the high bar, his best event, on Wednesday, and on pommel horse, perhaps his weakest event, on Friday. Horton's chances of cracking the top three appeared perilous after his fall off the horse, but he hit all three release moves on the high bar for a score of 15.3, then added a 15.5 on the floor to move past Alvarez, who stumbled on his closing floor routine, his only mistake of any consequence.

David Sender of Stanford moved into fourth with a monster 16.5 score on vault, including a 9.9 score for performance, to ease past former national and world champion Sean Townsend of Houston, who finished fifth after falling on his rings dismount.
Sean Townsend, however, regained a spot on the national team after struggling with injuries and inconsistency last season and said he hopes his performance signals a new start.

Detailed Men's AA Results

The men's program named its World Championship team:
On it are national champion Alexander Artemev, Guillermo Alvarez, Jonathan Horton, Justin Spring, Clay Strother and rings specialist Kevin Tan.

Men's Apparatus Champions 2006:
- Floor Exercise: Horton
- Pommel Horse: Artemev
- Still Rings: Tan
- Vault: Sender
- Parallel Bars: Artemev
- High Bar: Brooks

... results after Day 1:
>> Men's AA Results, Day 1

Nastia Liukin defends 2005 all-around title, but not without problems...

Jana Bieger, also a member of last year's US world championship team, finished third while Alicia Sacramone, the defending world champion on floor, finished fifth. All are pointing to Worlds in October and, of course, to the Olympics in 2008, so the result of this event wasn't the most important thing. But this was the first major event contested in America under the sport's new scoring system. Problems this night: The panel of American judges took a full two minutes to post Liukin's score – about a minute longer than usual.

The women's US world team will be named in October, after a pair of training camps at the Karolyi ranch.

>> Women's All-around Final

>> Women's AA results, Day 1