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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 10, 2006

Memmel highlights Hawai'i competition

 •  Rolling for fitness, fun at home and abroad

By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer


WHEN: April 13-15

WHERE: Neal Blaisdell Center, artistic gymnastics; Hawai'i Convention Center, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline

WHO: Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Russia and the United States

TICKETS: $15 to $75. Tickets at Neal Blaisdell Box Office, www.ticketmaster.com or (877) 750-4400 (charge by phone).

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Hawai'i's youth gymnasts received a treat this week when 2005 world all-around champion Chellsie Memmel paid them a visit.

"I can definitely relate to them," said Memmel, who became the first U.S. woman to win the all-around gold medal since 1994 when Shannon Miller won her second straight title. "You name it, I have probably been through it."

Memmel, who toured various gymnastic clubs this week, will be one of the top gymnasts in the Pacific Alliance Gymnastic Championships, April 13 to 15, at the Neal Blaisdell Center and Hawai'i Convention Center.

The competition features top international gymnasts from the Pacific Rim countries competing in artistic and rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline.

The 17-year-old from West Allis, Wis., missed the 2004 competition in Honolulu with a broken left foot.

Now recovered, Memmel wants to earn a spot on the U.S. team for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

"It's definitely a goal of mine," said Memmel, who was a 2004 Olympic Team alternate.

"She has really positioned herself in the best of the world," said USA Gymnastics representative Ron Galimore. Winning the 2005 world all-around title, Galimore said, is "like being the Olympic champion, but it doesn't happen in an Olympic year."

Memmel, who is a senior at West Allis Central High School, said she enjoys speaking with youth gymnasts. Galimore said youngsters have asked Memmel about her training, diet and school, and other topics such as, "can you fix my cartwheel?"

"It's great to go and talk to them, and have them ask me questions," said Memmel, who would like to coach gymnastics in the future. "I can try to help them with their training, and help them through a problem. It makes me really happy they want to learn from me."

Memmel's parents, Andrew and Jeanelle, are both former All-America gymnasts. The family owns M&M Gymnastics, where Chellsie is coached by her father.

Reach Brandon Masuoka at bmasuoka@honoluluadvertiser.com.