Current Illinois men's gymnastics assistant coach Justin Spring earned his seventh overall selection to the U.S. Senior National Team, announced USA Gymnastics today.
Feb. 12, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Current Illinois men's gymnastics assistant coach Justin Spring earned his seventh overall selection to the U.S. Senior National Team, announced USA Gymnastics today. Spring, a 2007 Pan American Games gold medalist on parallel bars, a member of the 2007 Pan American Games Bronze Medal team, the 2007 U.S. High Bar champion and U.S. silver medal getter on floor exercise stands as the only gymnast to earn a spot on the 2008 team as a petitioned athlete.
"This is such a great honor that USA Gymnastics has that much confidence in me," Spring said about his selection on Tuesday afternoon. "It's outstanding that they believe in me and think that I have the potential to help out the U.S. team. Now, I have three months until Visa Championships to get healthy and ready to prove to them that they made the right choice in choosing me for this team."
The national team, which is selected twice a year after both Winter Cup and Visa (U.S.) Championships, is an honor that Spring has had bestowed upon him since the 2005 season, when he earned his first selection after the 2005 Winter Cup Challenge. The feat is something the 2006 Nissen Emery Award recipient has maintained four straight years and running. Spring's selection this season comes despite him sitting out of the 2008 Winter Cup Challenge due to rehab on a torn ACL that he sustained at the 2007 Visa Championships during a vault.
The 15 members on the team retain their national team status until the 2008 Visa Championships in May. Seven gymnasts were named to the senior national team based on performances at the Winter Cup Challenge, along with the seven members of the 2007 World Championships Team, who automatically qualified for the team, and Spring, who petitioned.
The U.S. Senior National Team is the first step towards earning the coveted spot on the 2008 Olympic Team that will travel to Beijing to represent the United States this summer. The next step will be Visa Championships in Houston on May 22-24 at Reliant Park, where the team and other top level gymnasts from around the country will vie for U.S. national titles. USA Gymnastics will again choose a 14-member (only 14 members are fully funded, with extra spots added upon different circumstances) squad to the represent the U.S. on the Senior National Team.
From there, the gymnasts head to Olympic Trials on June 19-22 in Philadelphia, Pa., at the Wachovia Center. The Olympic team is then chosen based on the gymnast's performances at Visa Championships (50 percent) and Olympic Trials (50 percent). The 2008 Beijing Olympics will be held Aug 8-24 at the National Indoor Stadium.
2008 U.S. Senior National Team
Guillermo Alvarez of Denver/Team Chevron
Alexander Artemev of Morrison, Colo./Team Chevron
Raj Bhavsar of Houston/Team Chevron
David Durante of Garwood, N.J./Team Chevron
Sean Golden of Camden, N.J./Team Chevron
Joseph Hagerty of Rio Rancho, N.M./Team Chevron
Paul Hamm of Waukesha, Wis./Team Chevron
Jonathan Horton of Houston/University of Oklahoma
Sho Nakamori of Albany, Calif./Stanford University
David Sender of Arlington Heights, Ill./Stanford University
Justin Spring of Burke, Va./Team Chevron
Kevin Tan of Fremont, Calif./Team Chevron
Yewki Tomita of Tucson, Ariz./Team Chevron
Sean Townsend of Dickinson, Texas/Team Chevron
Blaine Wilson of Columbus, Ohio/Team Chevron