Thursday, July 27, 2000


Injured Miller may skip some events

The Associated Press

        ST. LOUIS — Shannon Miller wants to compete at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships. Now it's up to USA Gymnastics to decide if it will let her.

        Miller is still nursing a hairline crack in her right leg and won't be able to do all four events when competition begins Thursday night. But she'd like to do something, said her coach, Steve Nunno.

        Nunno would like Miller to do one or two events, probably the uneven bars and the vault. But she's scheduled to start on the balance beam Thursday night, an event she might not be ready to do, and the uneven bars are her last event.

        So Nunno wants USA Gymnastics to tell him whether Miller can just do an event or two.

        “If they want to pull us out of the meet, they can pull us out,” Nunno said Wednesday. “But they'll have to pull us out, because we want to compete.”

        Bob Colarossi, president of USA Gymnastics, said Nunno hasn't made any official requests.

        “I'm not going to speculate on anything until something happens,” he said. “Shannon was petitioned into this meet. Right now, she's in the meet.”

        Another possibility is letting Miller skip Thursday night's event and compete Saturday. Yet another would be to let her simply touch the apparatus she's not competing on, take a score of 0.00 and let her move on to Saturday.

        “Typically, when a gymnast touches an apparatus, they can go go forward,” Colarossi said.

        Miller is getting better with each day, Nunno said. She did dismounts off the uneven bars and vault for the first time since she was injured, and she ran faster during practice Tuesday night than she has in three weeks.

        Nunno said he'll have Miller warm up with the other athletes, and make a decision at the last second on whether she can go or not.

        “She'll be warming up with everybody else,” he said. “If she does a good routine at the 30-second touch, I'll say, "She can do it, it's safe, let's go.”'

        ENERGIZED ATLER: Even for an athlete training for the Olympics, Vanessa Atler knew she was way too tired.

        She was exhausted all the time, she didn't have any energy and her legs were dead after only one floor routine.

        “Something was wrong,” the 1997 co-national champion said. “I knew something wasn't balanced out. We just got the idea, why don't we go to a nutritionist and see what's going on. And he's fixing everything.”

        The nutritionist told Atler she was lacking vital nutrients and minerals, like magnesium. He made some changes to her diet, and she's now eating three to four servings of fruit and vegetables a day, two servings of bread and a handful of nuts. She also eats beans three times a week.

        She's been on the new diet for 11/2 months, and is amazed at the change.

        “Now I'm never tired,” she said. “The day he started me on it, I felt it right away. It was such a big difference. I couldn't believe it. I was like, "How was I doing this before?”'

        That Atler's body revolted wasn't a complete surprise. She admits she had “really bad” eating habits when she was younger, and she didn't do anything to change them as she got older.

        Besides making her feel better physically, Atler said the changes to her diet have helped her mentally, as well.

        “I feel a lot more confident. I feel healthy,” she said. “I just feel better. You know when you look better, you feel more confident.”

        BELLICOSE BELA: Women's national team coordinator Bela Karolyi pulled back from the criticism he levied last month against USA Gymnastics, when he voiced his displeasure with the makeup of the selection committee.

        Karolyi was upset because two members of the committee, U.S. judge Marilyn Cross and former Olympic gymnast Tracee Talavera, had not seen the gymnasts work in the number of training camps he has held this year.

        “I was a little concerned and I think I expressed it more than I was supposed to,” Karolyi said. “But I do have respect for all these people. Marilyn Cross is an excellent judge. Tracee Talavera is a wonderful person.”

        The other member of the committee will be former gymnast Shari Knight-Hunter. At one point, she considered making a comeback and entering the national championships, but she didn't, which means her spot on the committee is secure.

        “I was definitely concerned about it,” Karolyi said. “But I think, overall, these people are going to watch the competition and they're going to be able to make good decisions.”

        The four will not have votes, per se, when they decide on the team in the minutes following the Olympic trials. They will simply meet and try to reach a consensus.

Continuing coverage from Associated Press

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