The Desert News, one of two outlets that covers the University of Utah gymnastics team thoroughly, is reporting that Utah sophomore Daria Bijak has been named to the German Olympic team.
Long time coming. Bijak missed the 2000 Games with an injury, and Germany did not qualify a full team in 2004.
Germany named four men’s athletes: Fabian Hambuchen, Philipp Boy, Marcel Nguyen and Eugen Spiridonov — and three women: German champion Oksana Chusovitina, Katya Abel and Marie-Sophie Hindermann. The Deseret News article does not name who the other two female Germans named to the team were.
Bijak joins other Ute Olympic team members like Cheryl Weatherstone (Great Britain 1984), Missy Marlowe (USA 1988) and current teammate Gael Mackie (Canada 2004).
Bijak, 16th all-around at this year’s NCAA Championships, is one of the few (if not the only) NCAA vaulters to do a handspring laid-out front.
Daria Bijak, 2008 German Championships, Vault:
Daria Bijak, 2008 German Championships, Floor Exercise: