Sept. 19, 2001
NORMAN, Okla. - Two members of the Oklahoma gymnastics squad will indeed get to take part in the Pan American Gymnastics Championships, after the event was nearly canceled due to the recent national tragedies. The event was to be held from Sept. 18-23 in Cancun, Mexico, however it will now take place on Oct. 5-6. Sooner assistant coach Guard Young will compete while OU head coach Mark Williams will serve as the head coach of the U.S. team at the event.
The event takes place every four years and Williams will lead the American team, which will consist of Young, Todd Thornton, Daniel Diaz-Long, Kris Zimmerman and San Juan Jones. Young was chosen to the team based on his excellent performance at the U.S. National Championships in August, which also earned him a spot on the World Championships team.
"After what's gone on in our country recently," said Young, "it's going to mean a lot to represent the United States. I know the team will have a lot of American pride so it should be fun. I'm glad Mark is getting the opportunity to lead this team."
Williams will be adding another accomplishment to his already impressive resume by serving as head coach. He has coached in numerous international events, including as an assistant coach at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
"I think postponing the event for a couple weeks was the right thing to do," said Williams. "I'm sure the team is going to be very unified and will represent the United States very well. It's always an honor to represent your country. This will be an important preview for Guard as he prepares for the World Championships at the end of October."
The World Championships will take place in Ghent, Belgium, Oct. 28 through Nov. 4. Oklahoma begins its quest for the 2002 national title on Jan. 20 when it takes on Iowa and Air Force at Norman's Lloyd Noble Center. The Sooners will host the NCAA National Championships April 4-6, 2002.