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Glen Ishino, Danell Leyva are on USA Gymnastics' assignment list

October 20, 2008 |  3:17 pm

Ivana Hong competes in the floor exercise during the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Here are some gymnastics tidbits to keep gym addicts going. (I'm suffering gymnastics withdrawal after covering the sport seriously starting with the 2007 World Championships.)

The assignments that USA Gymnastics announced for upcoming international competitions give some indication as to who is starting to be groomed for 2012 teams in London.

For example Glen Ishino of Santa Ana and Danell Leyva of Miami are being sent to the Pan American Gymnastics Union Individual Event Championships in Rosario, Argentina, Nov. 19-24.

Ishino won the 2008 junior all-around title and is considered a potential star for future U.S. men's teams. Ishino is a freshman at California. Leyva is young enough to have been on the 14- to 15-year-old national team this year, but good enough to have finished eighth on the high bar at senior nationals.

Jana Bieger, an alternate on the 2008 Olympics team, and team member Bridget Sloan are in the women's pool for the Pan-Am championships along with Rebecca Bross of Plano, who trains at the same gym as the last two Olympic all-around gold medalists (Nastia Liukin and Carly Patterson). Other Pan-Am team members are Mackenzie Caquatto (Naperville, Ill.), who made it to the Olympic trials; Corrie Lothrop (Danvers, Mass.), another Olympic alternate; and Oliva Courtney (Orlando, Fla.).

The surprise here is that Bieger is still in the pool. She went to the first post-Olympics training camp at the Karolyi ranch. Bieger, once a world all-around silver medalist, was heartbroken when she didn't make the Olympic team and seemed unlikely to continue in the sport, considering her teary reaction when the final selections were made.

There were some other surprises at the first camp, including the fact that Ivana Hong, another disappointed Olympic alternate who had been on the gold-medal winning championship team in 2007, is without a gym or coach at the moment. Insider gossip suggests that Hong, whose father never moved from Laguna Hills when she and her family went to Blue Springs, Mo., to train with Al Fong, may join emerging star Mattie Larson and upcoming junior Samantha Shapiro at All Olympic Gymnastics Center in Los Angeles.

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Ivana Hong competes in the floor exercise during the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for gymnastics at the Wachovia Center on June 20 in Philadelphia. Credit: Nick Laham / Getty Images

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