Now that Shawn Johnson has routed everyone in her own country, she’s got her eyes on the rest of the world.
Johnson won the U.S. gymnastics championships so handily Saturday night in San Jose, Calif., that the rest of the field might as well have gotten its own division. Her score of 123.650 was 3.450 points ahead of runner-up Shayla Worley, a margin similar to the pastings the University of Florida football team likes to put on its soft nonconference foes.
Not only did Johnson get a couple of shiny new medals to add to the collection she already has at home, she earned a spot on the team for next month’s world championships in Stuttgart, Germany.
And after the show she put on Saturday, she is sure to be a favorite for the world title.
“I remember watching these last year and thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, I could be a senior next year,’” she said. “To be here and win, it’s a dream come true.”
When she finished uneven bars, her last event, coach Liang Chow threw up his arms in triumph and swept her into a hug. She grinned, then waved happily to the cheering crowd.
In addition to the all-around title, she won gold on balance beam and floor exercise.
Worley also secured a spot on the world squad, moving up two spots to finish second. National team coordinator Martha Karolyi will select another five for the group, from which a six-woman team and one alternate will be chosen.
Two-time U.S. champion Nastia Liukin, long considered one of the world’s best, is likely a lock despite finishing a distant third. Liukin has been nursing a nagging ankle injury and had another rough night, with an ugly fall on floor and another bumble on vault. But she finished strong, doing routines on uneven bars and beam that were among the best of the meet.
Hamm not on men’s team
The United States has its men’s team for the world gymnastics championships. And, as expected, Olympic champion Paul Hamm isn’t on it.
National champion David Durante and runner-up Guillermo Alvarez lead the six-man team, which must finish in the top 12 at worlds next month to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.
Also making the squad were Sasha Artemev, the world bronze medalist on pommel horse; Sean Golden; Jonathan Horton; and Kevin Tan.
Sho Nakamori, who finished a surprising third in the all-around at nationals, will be the alternate.
The selection committee met for about 8 hours and put together 18 possible teams, crunching the numbers in a variety of ways to see what their best possible scoring combination was.
Hamm was included on many of those teams, but in the end, he was left off because he is only ready to compete on floor and pommel horse, which would put too much of a burden on the other five gymnasts.
“We wanted to see if there was any way we could use his experience,” national team coordinator Ron Brant said.