Posts Tagged ‘Sean Townsend’

U.S. men’s Olympic trials, night one

June 20, 2008

Results from International Gymnast Magazine (this is the combined scoring, taking day one and day two of the U.S. Championships into account):

1. Jonathan Horton 63.255
2. Joseph Hagerty 63.165
3. Sasha Artemev 62.825
4. Raj Bhavsar 62.800
5. David Durante 62.430
6. Guillermo Alvarez 57.910
7. Tim McNeill 57.230
8. Justin Spring 47.335
9. Morgan Hamm 42.645
10. Kevin Tan 42.225
11. Yewki Tomita 33.870
12. Sean Golden 32.675
13. Sean Townsend 26.415

But on this night, Artemev and Horton were the real 1-2, Associated Press reports:

Paul Hamm isn’t the only American gymnast with skills. With the reigning Olympic champion recovering from a broken hand, Sasha Artemev and Jonathan Horton made their cases for trips to the Beijing Games on Thursday night. Artemev and Horton finished 1-2 Thursday night, the first of two competitions at the Olympic trials, and Horton has the lead when scores — including those from last month’s national championships — are weighted and combined.

Justin Spring overcame immense back pain (since when was he having back pain?) to put up a very impressive showing on five events. But the depth — or is it the specialization? — of the U.S. men’s team showed in the event placings: Sean Golden won vault, Artemev was the best on pommels, Kevin Tan placed first on rings,

Three of the top five, plus two of the specialists, will likely make the Olympic team (that Paul Hamm will be on the team seems to go without question.) Question is, which three, and which two?

Seems that Morgan Hamm and Jonathan Horton, by virtue of past performances and difficulty, will also make the team. Joseph Hagerty is a darkhorse who has little international experience but seems to be peaking when it counts.

Sean Townsend out of U.S. Championships

May 22, 2008

Sean TownsendThe 2001 World parallel bars champ has a shoulder injury, USA Today reports, and will petition to the U.S. Trials.

Too bad — Townsend, who shares digs with Raj Bhavsar and Sean Golden and trains under Kevin Mazeika at Houston Gymnastics Academy, would likely have been one of the home crowd favorites.

Mazeika to coach Olympic team

February 10, 2008

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.

‘The state of Men’s Gymnastics in the USA is the worst it’s ever been’: Team Gattaca takes a stand

November 2, 2007

2001 World parallel bars champion Sean Townsend, also a member of Team Chevron, was Team Gattaca's first big-name competitor.

Some in the gymnastics community are decrying USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny, 2007 World Team Coach Kevin Mazeika and the state of men’s gymnastics in the United States as a whole.

No, they’re not talking about the 2006 World Championships, where the U.S. men’s team finished in an alarming 13th place. What’s being discussed is a petition to “Stop Kevin Mazeika,” alleging that Mazeika encourages prospective Olympians to forgo college scholarships in favor of training full-time with him and accepting money from organizations that strip athletes of NCAA eligibility has been making the rounds of gymnastics messageboards.

Kevin Mazeika purposely advises these athletes to stay at his gym to train for a fairly tale of making the Olympic Team instead of having them go off to college on athletic scholarships to earn their degree and experience NCAA gymnastics. Kevin Mazeika understands that if he keeps the athletes at his gym, keeping them financially strapped and in need, he will get more sponsorship dollars from USAG along with maintaining control over his athletes.

The petition supposedly comes from Team Gattaca, a corporate-sponsored organization that gives money to top gymnasts whose training is affecting their ability to work and earn a living. The difference between Gattaca and Team Chevron, a similar organization, is that Chevron’s corporate sponsors give their money to USA Gymnastics, who funnels it to athletes it deems deserving. Gattaca, on the other hand, handpicks its athletes and cuts out the middleman.

Allegedly, USA Gymnastics doesn’t like that one bit. The petition accuses the organization of being prejudiced against Gattaca’s athletes when it comes time to hand out World and Olympic team placements.

Only two weeks after Team Gattaca signed a one year contract with Sean Townsend, Steve Penny made a face to face appointment with Manuel Galarza, founder of Team Gattaca…The meeting took place at the Team Gattaca office in Manhattan, NY in the spring of 2003 and was highlighted by a verbal threat made by Mr. Steve Penny, VP of USA Gymnastics at the time and current President of USAG. After trying to convince Mr. Manuel Galarza to direct the Team Gattaca funding to USAG it became clear to Mr. Penny that Manuel’s motive were to establish something more than just giving money to USAG. After it became clear to Mr. Penny that he could not convince Mr. Galarza to hand over funding directly to USAG Mr. Penny proceeded to threaten Mr. Galarza, his organization, and his athletes. Mr. Penny’s exact comment was “I can’t promise you that your guys will get the scores.”

Townsend, who trains with Mazeika in Houston, was left off the 2004 Olympic team despite placing third in the all-around at the 2004 Olympic Trials, while Mazeika went on to coach the squad in Athens.

It’s led some to question whether Townsend was overlooked because others were more capable of bringing in bigger scores in Athens or because he was a member of Team Gattaca. His all-around performance may have been solid, but Townsend was not in the top three on any single event except rings at the 2004 U.S. Championships, where he was fifth overall.

A brilliant Sean Townsend vault at a tri-meet with Russia and Ukraine, unspecified year:

It’s important to note that although a poster has signed up on International Gymnast Magazine’s messageboard identifying himself as Gattaca GM Manuel Galarza and verifying the already posted grievances against USA Gymnastics, the petition is nowhere to be found online and no statement has been posted on Team Gattaca’s website. Likewise, USA Gymnastics has not posted any statement on the matter.

In a slightly related problem, men who do want to compete in NCAA gymnastics are finding fewer and fewer programs to choose from. An article published today in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer details the efforts of men’s teams like the University of Washington’s, who have been technically eliminated due to budget cuts and have to turn to other sources of funding in order to keep competing and awarding scholarships.

In 2001, there were 24 U.S. colleges and universities that had men’s gymnastics programs. This year there will be 17, the result of Title IX compliance and budget cuts. Expensive equipment and strong but relatively small fan bases mean NCAA gymnastics is not financially lucrative. In 2007, James Madison University in Virginia cut its men’s team, joining a long list that includes UCLA, Michigan and Brigham Young.