The Road to Beijing for Olympic Gymnasts Begins in Houston

The country’s best gymnasts are in Houston to compete on the road to Beijing. The event at Reliant Park plays a big part in making the men’s team. Pat Hernandez has more.

The USA Gymnastics VISA Championships serve as a qualifying event for the
US Olympic Team trials. Coach Kevin Mazeika says there is a great deal of

“Absolutely, it all starts here. The athletes will do the VISA Championships here in
Houston. They’ll be at competition Thursday and Saturday and out of that competition
we’ll select 14 athletes that move on to Philadelphia for their trials. It’s weighted 40 percent
of their selection process, and Philadelphia is weighted 60 percent. So basically, it sets the
groundwork, sets the table for who will make this Olympic team.”

Competing in the event is a 2000 Olympian, 2001 world champion and Houstonian
Sean Townsend:

“It’s basically four years gearing up to this moment. And there’s four competitions that are
going to make up the Olympic team, so they’re going to choose the first 14 guys here in
Houston and in Philly. They’ll pick the six guys that are going to represent the USA in Beijing.”

USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny is high on the team:

“This team could be the best in the world as far as I’m concerned. They have the talent and
we have the depth, and it’s just all about putting it all together on the right day at the right
time. That’s really what the Olympics comes down to. It’s that one moment in time where you’ve
got to hit. Our guys are as good as anybody.”

The competition begins Thursday at Reliant Park.

reliant park

Pat Hernanadez, KUHF- Houston Public Radio News.