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GYMNASTICS // WOMEN

Dates: July 21-30

Venue: Georgia Dome, Atlanta

TV sessions:

July 21 _ noon-6 p.m., 7 p.m.-midnight

July 23 _ 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 7:30 p.m.-midnight

July 25 _ 7:30 p.m.-midnight

July 28 _ 7 p.m.-midnight

July 29 _ 7:30 p.m.-midnight

July 30 _ 7:30 p.m.-midnight

Daily schedule:

July 21 _ Team compulsories.

July 23 _ Team optionals and finals.

July 25 _ Individual all-around finals.

July 28 _ Individual finals in vault, uneven bars.

July 29 _ Individual finals in beam, floor.

July 30 _ Exhibition.

U.S. team:

Amanda Borden, Cincinnati

Amy Chow, San Jose, Calif.

Dominique Dawes, Silver Spring, Md.

Shannon Miller, Edmond, Okla.

Dominique Moceanu, Hollywood, Calif.

Jaycie Phelps, Greenfield, Ind.

Kerri Strug, Tucson, Ariz.

About the sport: Women's gymnastics consists of four events: vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. In the Olympics, there are three phases of competition: team, individual all-around and event finals.

How the competition works: Each of the 12 teams has seven gymnasts. Six compete in each apparatus and the top five scores after compulsory and optional exercises count toward the team score. From this initial phase of Olympic competition, athletes (no more than three per country) earn spots in the all-around and apparatus finals, which feature only optional exercises.

Scoring: The competitor starts with a 9.40. Judges make deductions for flaws in execution and for any missing requirements in the composition of the exercise. The judges may award bonus points up to 0.60, producing the elusive perfect 10.

All-time U.S. Olympic team: Mary Lou Retton (one gold, two silver, two bronze in 1984), Julianne McNamara (one gold, two silver in 1984), Shannon Miller (two silver, three bronze in 1992), Phoebe Mills (one bronze in 1988), Kathy Johnson (one silver, one bronze in 1984). Except for a team bronze in 1948, these have been the only five medal winners from the United States. Cathy Rigby, who vaulted to fame through gymnastics, earned a silver in the balance beam at the 1970 world championships but never won an Olympic medal.

_ ERNEST HOOPER

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