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Americans Aim High For Pan American Games
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U.S. national team coordinator Marta Karolyi said the U.S. women's team is prepared to defend its title at the 15th Pan American Games, which will begin July 13 in Rio de Janeiro.

"It will be a pretty tough competition, because some of those countries have improved and have a great ambition," Karolyi told IG. "Actually, the host country has a little bit of advantage of being home and having all the Latin countries judging. So it will be a tough competition, but we'll try to put together a good team and hope everything will go fine."

Held every four years, the Games feature competition in 33 sports for athletes from the Americas. Gymnastics has been contested at every Games since their 1951 inception. The artistic gymnastics competition will be held July 14-17.

The U.S.'s Nastia Liukin, who placed second all-around at the 2003 Games in Santo Domingo, is scheduled to compete in Rio de Janeiro. Joining her on the American team roster are reigning American Cup champion Shawn Johnson, Rebecca Bross, Ivana Hong, Samantha Peszek and Amber Trani.

Absent from the Games will be 2003 all-around gold medalist Chellsie Memmel.

Canada, which finished second to the U.S. in 2003, plans to field a young team including reigning Canadian junior champion Brittany Rogers, Stephanie Desjardins-Labelle, Peng-Peng Lee, Ti Liu, Charlotte Mackie and Emma Willis.

The Brazilian women won the team bronze medal in 2003, and will be represented this year by Jade Barbosa, Khiuani Dias, Daiane dos Santos, Daniele Hypolito, Ana Claudia Silva and Lais Souza.

At the 2003 Games, Brazil won the silver medal in the men's team competition. This year's team is composed of Luis Augusto Anjos, Diego Hypolito, Danilo Nogueira, Mosiah Rodrigues, Victor Rosa and Adan Santos.

In the men's competition, 2003 all-around silver medalist David Durante is among six U.S. gymnasts scheduled to participate. Other members of the U.S. team include 2005 World Championships all-around finalist Guillermo Alvarez, Sean Golden, Joseph Hagerty, Justin Spring and 2005 U.S. all-around champion Todd Thornton.

Four-time Games all-around champion Erick Lopez, who led Cuba to the team title in 2003, has since retired.

The Canadian team, which placed seventh in 2003, will be represented in Rio de Janeiro by Peter Andersen, reigning junior national champion Jayd Lukenchuk, Pat McElroy, A.J. Rayment, Hugh Smith and Jared Walls.

External Link: 2007 Pan American Games Official Site

International Gymnast Magazine's coverage of 2007 Pan American Games participants includes:
"Building Brazil" - Brazilian team cover story (March 2007)
"All-Around Specialist" - Durante interview (April 2005)
"Golden Rules" - Golden profile (November 2005)
"Interview: Marta Karolyi" (September 2006)
Johnson on cover, 2007 American Cup coverage (April 2007)
"A Taste of China" - Johnson profile (November 2006)
Johnson on cover, Johnson center poster (October 2006)
"Shooting Star" - Johnson profile (January/February 2006)
"A Passion For Performing" - Lee profile (June 2006)
Liukin on cover (June/July 2003, April 2005, October 2005, January/February 2006)
Liukin center poster (October 2005)
"An Unstoppable Force" - Liukin profile (November 2002)
"Pride For Family and Canada" - Mackie profile (November 2006)
"IG Profile: Samantha Peszek" (November 2006)
"At Her Best" - Rogers profile (July/August 2007)
"Spring Loaded" - Spring profile (February 2005)
Thornton on cover (October 2005)
"Finding His Form" - Thornton interview (May 2005)
"Star in the Making" - Trani profile (March 2005)

IG Online Related Features
Interview: Guillermo Alvarez
Johnson Aiming To Take On The World (April 8, 2007)
Liukin On The Mend (February 16, 2007)
Family First For Liukin (December 25, 2007)

To subscribe to IG Magazine or order back issues, click here.

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