University of Minnesota senior gymnast Jake Lee competed in the U.S. Qualifier at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and scored well enough to advance to the 2006 Visa U.S. Championships, which will be held Aug. 16-19 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
Lee qualified as the seventh-highest ranked overall gymnast in the qualification point system with a score of 86.95. Within that system a gymnast receives points on each event based on his placement on that event. The top 20 gymnasts on each event receive points. Lee finished second on parallel bars with a score of 15.35, only one-tenth of a point behind top qualifier Sean Townsend, who was the 2001 World Champion on parallel bars.
Lee also finished third on vault with a score of 15.60, tied for eighth on high bar with a mark of 14.60 and took 10th place on pommel horse with a score of 14.10.
Minnesota head men’s gymnastics coach Mike Burns was ecstatic with Lee’s performance.
“Jake looked great on the parallel bars at the qualifier,” Burns said. “He is in the top echelon of parallel bar workers in the country and his second-place finish really displayed his abilities to the whole gymnastics community. Qualifying for the 2006 VISA Championships in St. Paul will give Jake a great opportunity to make a strong run for a spot on the 2006-2007 Senior National Team.”
Lee joins former Gopher gymnasts Guillermo Alvarez and Clay Strother, who previously qualified for the competition, as Visa Championship participants with a link to the University of Minnesota gymnastics program.
The Visa Championships feature the United States' best gymnasts vying for national titles in men's and women's artistic gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics, as well as qualifying for the respective U.S. national teams.