Aug. 19, 2000

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State men’s gymnast Jamie Natalie (Sr., Hockessin, Del.) was named the alternate to the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team after the Olympic Trials, today at the FleetCenter in Boston. The top four gymnasts earned automatic spots on the team and Natalie placed fifth (111.775), 1.170 points out of fourth place. OSU’s Raj Bhavsar (So., Houston, Texas) placed 14th at the trials.

Former Buckeye Blaine Wilson, the five-time defending national champion, earned his second trip to the Olympics after finishing first at the trials with a weighted total of 116.545. Other gymnasts named to the team were Paul Hamm (114.125), Sean Townsend (113.090), Stephen McCain (112.945), Morgan Hamm (111.735) and John Roethlisberger (111.445). Hamm and Roethlisberger finished sixth and seventh, respectively, but were placed on the team by the men’s selection committee, headed by current U.S. Olympic Team and former OSU coach Peter Kormann. The committee’s selections were based on the gymnasts’ scores on certain events the committee deemed would compensate for the first four team members’ weaknesses. Natalie also was chosen by the committee.

The weighted totals were determined based on combined scores from the John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships (preliminaries 20 percent/finals 20 percent), held July 26-28 in St. Louis, and the Olympic Trials (preliminaries 30 percent/finals 30 percent).

Natalie posted a score of 56.875, a career high in this type of scoring meet. His previous high was 55.675, set at the national championship preliminaries. In the finals, Natalie posted his highest scores from both nationals and trials in five of six events. He opened the meet with a 9.900 on high bar before scoring 9.625 on floor exercise, 9.325 on still rings, 9.150 on vault and 9.625 on parallel bars. Natalie’s all-around score tied for sixth among the gymnasts in the finals. Bhavsar, who entered the trials in 14th place, ended the event in the same spot. He scored a 54.825 in the finals, a career high in an Olympic-type scoring meet. His high scores of the day were on pommel horse (9.550), parallel bars (9.450), vault (9.250) and high bar (9.125). Bhavsar’s all-around score ranked 11th out of all competitors in the finals.

The men’s gymnastics U.S. Olympic Trials will be broadcast at noon Sunday, Aug. 20 on NBC.