July 3, 1999
Palma de Mallorca, Spain - Led by UCLA All-Americans Heidi Moneymaker and Mohini Bhardwaj, the USA women's gymnastics team finished fifth in the team competition at the World University Games in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Moneymaker was the day's top American finisher, placing ninth with a score of 37.037. Bhardwaj placed 14th with a 36.225.
A star-studded Russian team, headed by defending world champion Svetlana Khorkina, placed first in the team competition Saturday at Principes de Espana.
The U.S. squad, made up of university-level gymnasts with start values around 9.5, found themselves at a disadvantage. Saturday's top four teams - Russia, Ukraine, China and Belarus - all showcased lineups for next October's World Championships. The Russians came to Palma with higher start values - a handicap that required the U.S. women to be near-perfect just to keep pace with the eastern Europeans.
"We're proud of these kids, they're working so hard," said team leader Kathy Feldman, who praised Moneymaker's work on the uneven bars and balance beam. Feldman was also pleased with the work of Bhardwaj.
"What a trooper," Feldman exclaimed after Bhardwaj scored 9.350 in the vault competition. "She hasn't done a vault like that since she hurt her arm at a training session in Chicago. We didn't even know if she'd be able to compete here."
Team results: 1. Russia - 113.487; 2. Ukraine - 112.974; 3. China - 111.174 ... 5. USA - 109.012.
Individuals: 1. Svetlana Khorkina (RUS), 38.112; 2. Elena Produnova (RUS), 38.025; 3. Inha Shkarupa (UKR), 37.887 . . . 9. Heidi Moneymaker (USA), 37.037 . . . 14. Mohini Bhardwaj (USA), 36.225 . . . 17. Heather Brink (USA), 35.600 . . . 39. Wendy Ellsberry (USA), 25.975.