Friday, June 16, 2000

Injury ends gymnast's Olympic bid

Thompson forced to retire

By Scott MacGregor
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Jennie Thompson
(AP file photo)
| ZOOM |
        Cincinnati's hopes to put a gymnast on the U.S. Olympic team took a hit Thursday when 19-year-old Jennie Thompson retired because of an ankle injury.

        Thompson, the 1999 American Cup champion who trained at the Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy in Fairfield, was considered a strong contender for one of the six slots on this year's Olympic team.

        But an ankle injury suffered at the Pan Am Games in October — and surgeries in December and May — left her in too much pain to train and compete at an Olympic level.

        “I know I did everything I possibly could,” Thompson said, “and it's just not holding up. I have no regrets, really. I accomplished almost everything I wanted to.”

        Except the Olympics.

        “I knew if I could do gymnastics the way I wanted to, I could make the team,” she said.

        Thompson's retirement, sealed Thursday when a doctor told her she'd need at least 6 to 8 weeks of rest to heal, leaves Cincinnati with four Olympic hopefuls.

        Three of them — Morgan White, Alyssa Beckerman and 1996 Olympian Dominique Moceanu — are healthy and training at full strength for the summer season and the August Olympic trials. The fourth, Sierra Sapunar, is just returning from an arm injury and is under “a major crunch” to be ready, coach Mary Lee Tracy said.

        Thompson's loss hurts both the Cincinnati contingent and the depth of the U.S. field. She had been a member of the U.S. national team since 1992, but it was her American Cup win that vaulted her to international stature as a contender. She was also a member of two U.S. teams that competed at the World Championships.


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