Roethlisberger takes seventh in individual all-around finals

Nick Doty

John Roethlisberger’s performance in Wednesday’s gymnastics all-around final at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome wasn’t strong enough to earn him a medal. But it was enough to make Roethlisberger and his dad smile.
Roethlisberger, who was America’s top finisher at seventh place, said he did the best he could and was satisfied. But the former Gopher and four-time national all-around champion was a little upset with some of the judges’ marks.
Roethlisberger’s six-event total score of 57.762 was just .435 away from a bronze medal. His low mark of 9.475 on the parallel bars in particular drew many angry boos from the U.S.-dominated crowd and may have lost him a medal.
Although the American men failed to win a medal in Atlanta, they had their best all-around finish in a non-boycotted Olympics. Blaine Wilson of Ohio State finished 10th and Los Angeles’ John Macready placed 29th.
If you don’t count the 1984 Games in Los Angeles — in which Soviet-bloc teams chose not to attend — Roethlisberger had the highest finish by an American man since Frank Haubold placed sixth in the 1932 Games, also in Los Angeles.
Individual event finals take place this weekend, but no American made the finals. In order to qualify for an event final, a gymnast has to place eighth or higher on a single apparatus during the team competition. Roethlisberger came in ninth on the floor and horizontal bar.
Splichalova fails to qualify
Gophers junior swimmer Olga Splichalova completed her Olympic showing Thursday morning. She placed 15th overall in the 800-meter freestyle preliminaries, which eliminated her from the finals. As a member of the Czech Republic’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay, she also failed to make Thursday night’s final. Her team finished sixth in its heat.
Zikarsky gets DQed in swimoff
Former Gophers swimmer Bengt Zikarsky, who is swimming for Germany, competed in the 50-meter freestyle on Thursday morning and swam an impressive race. His time of 22.68 seconds was tied for the sixth fastest in preliminaries but it forced him into a swimoff, in which he was disqualified. Only eight swimmers are allowed in the finals.
Zikarsky will swim in the 4×100-meter medley relay prelims today.
Gophers have a ‘Happy Gilmore’
Gophers golfers were in abundance at the Men’s Amateur Championship this week at Interlachen Country Club in Edina. But there was also a hockey player in the bunch. Andy Brink, whose college eligibility ran out after last hockey season, nearly showed up Minnesota’s golf team by winning the tourney. Brink finished 16th, but challenged for the lead after the first two rounds. He was just two over par and a few strokes off the lead going into the final round but shot a seven-over-par 80 (228 total) to drop out of the race Wednesday. Joe Stansberry of Hiawatha won by two strokes, shooting a two-over-par 221.
Gophers notes: Gophers golfer Terry O’Loughlin shot a three-round score of 224 to finish third in the state amateur tourney. Teammate James Dolan shot a 225 to finish fifth.