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Originally published Monday, June 23, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Olympic Trials | Top gymnasts are 1-2 punch for U.S. team

Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin are taking their rivalry to the Beijing Olympics, where it will have golden overtones. Johnson and Liukin earned...

2008 Olympics Video Coverage at NBC Olympics.com!

PHILADELPHIA — Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin are taking their rivalry to the Beijing Olympics, where it will have golden overtones.

Johnson and Liukin earned guaranteed spots on the U.S. women's gymnastics team Sunday night after finishing 1-2 at the Olympic trials — the same places they had at the national championships two weeks ago.

"We looked at each other for the longest time," Liukin said. "Shawn said to me, 'Can you believe it?' She's like, 'We made it.' I don't know. It's so crazy. Everything's gone by so fast. Sitting here being an Olympian, it's just amazing. I don't even have the words. It's a dream come true."

The remaining four members of the team and three alternates will be named after a July 20 selection camp at the Karolyi ranch in Houston. The training squad for the final selection camp is Chellsie Memmel, Samantha Peszek, Jana Bieger, Chelsea Davis, Ivana Hong, Mattie Larson, Corrie Lothrop, Alicia Sacramone, Bridget Sloan and Shayla Worley.

Memmel continues to make her case, finishing second in the all-around Sunday night and third overall — just as she did at nationals two weeks ago.

"Did I want to be named? Yeah, of course," Memmel said. "I feel that I belong. I finished the last four competitions in the top three, so I hope they think of me as part of the team."

Two Hamms make team

The men's gymnastics selection committee named a U.S. Olympic team Sunday.

The American team: returnees Paul and Morgan Hamm, as well as first-timers Joe Hagerty, Jonathan Horton, Justin Spring, and Kevin Tan.

The three alternates are Raj Bhavsar — who missed automatically qualifying on Saturday by 0.09 of a point — Alexander Artemev, and David Durante.

Even now, however, at least one major question remains: Will Paul Hamm's broken hand be healthy enough by July 22, when he must prove to the selection committee he can compete in Beijing on Aug. 9?

"Paul's hand is still up in the air," said Bhavsar, who also was an alternate in 2004 and who likely would replace Hamm should America's top male gymnast be unable to go. "My job is to stay ready."

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Cycling

Todd Wells and Georgia Gould were the first two racers to clinch spots on the U.S. Olympic mountain biking team, after no Americans secured an automatic bid Sunday in the world championships in Trentino, Italy.

Each made the Olympic team based on having the best cumulative placing in international races this year.

USA Cycling will finish its Olympic selection in all disciplines — BMX, road, track and mountain biking — by July 1.

Triathlon

Hunter Kemper, the 32-year-old athlete from Colorado Springs, Colo., earned the last of three berths on the U.S. team by finishing well ahead of his top rival for that spot, Andy Potts, at the Hy-Vee Triathlon in West Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday.

"It's tremendous," Kemper said. "This is what we live for. I'm a very blessed boy."

Sarah Haskins beat Sarah Groff to earn the final spot on the U.S. women's team.

Diving

With the first perfect dive of her long career, Laura Wilkinson locked up a third — and final — trip to the Olympics, holding off teenage phenom Haley Ishimatsu on 10-meter platform at the U.S. diving trials in Indianapolis on Sunday.

"It's kind of bittersweet knowing this will be the last one," said the 30-year-old, who won gold on the big tower at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and plans to retire after Beijing.

Nineteen-year-old David Boudia beat 18-year-old Thomas Finchum, his close friend and longtime training partner, in a battle of 10s on the men's platform.

Note

• China should win one more medal than the United States at the Beijing Olympics — 88 to 87 — and top the overall table for the first time, according to a survey released by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

McClatchy newspapers contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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