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For Immediate Release

September 7, 1988

Undated (AP) _ The following are thumbnail sketches of some of the top gymnasts expected to compete in the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea.


Dmitri Bilozerchev, USSR, 21, 5-7, 150 lbs.

In 1983 became youngest world champion at age 16. Shattered his left leg in 40 places in 1985 auto accident after a night of partying. Leg injury so severe doctors considered amputating it. Had to teach himself to walk again and resumed trained a year after accident. Won world title again in 1987 at Rotterdam. Married to Svetlana Serkeli, a figure skater. Bilozerchev is sports student at military academy.


Scott Johnson, U.S., 27, 5-3, 125 lbs.

Member of 1984 Olympics U.S. men’s gold medal winning team. Has been in gymnastics for 17 years. Considers rings his favorite apparatus. Finished first All-Around at 1987 Pan American Games with record score of 116.25 points. In 1988 was one of nominees for the James E. Sullivan Award.


Yuri Korolev, USSR, 25, 5-5, 134 lbs.

An only child, Korolev began gymnastics in 1972. National team member since 1981. Until Bilozerchev won 87 world title, Korolev had been only gymnast to win two all-around titles (1981 and 1985). Married and father of two children. Voted top athlete among all sports at 86 Goodwill Games.


Sylvio Kroll, East Germany, 23, 5-8, 147 lbs.

Considers horizontal bar his toughest event. Likes to watch track and field and swimming.


Charles Lakes, U.S., 24, 5-8, 155 lbs.

Lives in Chatsworth, Calif. Will be first black gymnast to compete for the United States in the Olympics. Considers parallel bars and horizontal bar his strongest events. Finished first in All-Around at U.S. Trials, first such victory in a major meet. Began gymnastics in 1977. Hobbies include drawing cartoons and song writing.


Valeri Lyukin, USSR, 21, 5-5, 121 lbs.

First gymnast to perform a triple back flip on floor in competition. Enjoys snow skiing and skate boarding. Defeated teammate and two-time world champion Yuri Korolev to win 1987 European Championships. Was also first in 1987 USSR Nationals.


Li Ning, China, 25, 5-5, 127 lbs.

One of three children. Ning in Chinese means peaceful. Began gymnastics classes at age 7 and was competing by age 9. Ning won gold medals in floor exercise and pommel horse at 1984 Olympics. Took silver medal in rings and vault. Was sixth All-Around at 1984 Games.


Lou Yun, China, 24, 5-2, 127 lbs.

Gold medalist at 1984 Olympics in vault. Won silver medal in floor exercise, behind teammate Ning. Father was gymnast who sent Yun to gymnastics school at age 9. Considers floor and vault his strongest events.



Aurelia Dobre, Romania, 15, 5-feet, 88 lbs.

Current world champion, having won title at Rotterdam in 1987. Also first Romanian world champion in women’s gymnastics. Defeated two-time world champion Elena Shushunova of Soviet Union. Began gymnastics training at age 6 at Dynamo Bucharest Club. Father is a lorry driver. Has 17-year-old brother who is a soccer player.


Phoebe Mills, U.S., 15, 5-feet, 90 lbs.

Personal Facts of Interest: Captured 1988 U.S. National Championship; 1988 McDonald’s Cup and was top finisher at U.S. Olympic Trials. Trains under Bela Karolyi, who coached Olympic champions Nadia Comaneci and Mary Lou Retton. Considers uneven bars her top event. Is former speed skating champion and still holds international age group record for 500 meters.


Elena Shushunova, USSR, 19, 5-feet, 90 lbs.

National team member since 1983. Co-world champion with teammate Oksana Omelianchik. Finished second at 1987 World Championships. Wants to be a biologist, chemist or physician. Collects stamps and likes photography. Father drives a taxi and mother works at a hat factory.


Daniela Silivas, Romania, 18, 4-6, 62 lbs.

Finished third in 1987 World Championships All-Around behind Dobre and Soviet Union’s Elena Shushunova. Finished first at World Championships in uneven bars and second in floor exercise. Hobbies include folk songs and bicycling. Has been in gymnastics for 10 years.


Olga Strazheva, USSR, 15, 4-7, 87 lbs.

Finished second in USSR-USA Challenge Meet in Phoenix this year. Also was second All-Around in 1987 McDonald’s American Cup behind American Kristie Phillips. Enjoys science fiction novels. Mother is a bookkeeper; father works as a metal engineer. Favorite food is ice cream.

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