Mazeika to coach Olympic team

USA Gymnastics has tapped 2004 Olympic team coach Kevin Mazeika to lead the men’s team in Beijing, the federation announced after a meeting this weekend in Las Vegas, where the 2008 Winter Cup is underway.

Mazeika, who coaches 2007 World Team member Sean Golden, 2001 World parallel bars champ Sean Townsend and 2004 Olympic alternate Raj Bhavsar at Houston Gymnastics Academy, led the U.S. men in 2004, when they sapped a 20-year dry spell by grabbing silver in the team competition.

But he’s come under fire from some in the gymnastics community, who claim he’s encouraged athletes to forgo accepting college scholarships.

Veteran Paul Hamm leads the standings at the Winter Cup with a healthy 92.8 after the first day of competition. Bhavsar, who many feel was jilted four years ago, is second with 89.0, one tenth ahead of 2006 U.S. Champion Sasha Artemev. 2007 U.S. champ David Durante and Stanford standout David Sender round out the top five.

Blaine Wilson, who is trying to make his fourth Olympic team, is currently eighth.

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