First time for OTC to bring team to Westside’s ArtSports

       Dmitri Poliaroush, a Russian trampolinist who won 14 international titles during his 20-year career, will bring five U.S. Olympic Training Center (OTC) athletes to ArtSports for a competition Saturday, Feb. 9.
       Two of them - Senior Elite trampolinists Alaina Williams and Logan Dooley - have at least outside chances to qualify for the Olympics this year, according to Tex Womack of ArtSports. Others on the OTC's entry list are Ryan Walsh and Erin Blanchard (also Senior Elites) and Alaina Hebert, in the top category for younger athletes, called Junior Elite.
       “It's the first time the OTC has come here to compete,” said Womack, head team coach for the Westside tumbling- and trampoline-specializing facility. “It's a breakthrough of sorts.”
       Business owner Mike Zapp described the visit as “a great opportunity for ArtSports,” He added that Poliaroush, now the United States' national coordinator for tumbling and trampoline, “is also training our coaches and judges.”
       Free and open to the public, the event will start at 3 p.m. (warmups at 2) and continue for about three hours.
       ArtSports, also known as Trampoline World, is at 780 Vondelpark Drive, near the Holland Park neighborhood, where the facility was built to international standards about three years ago. The business phone is 531-5867.
       The competition will open with the Senior Elite class, including the trio from the OTC, Womack said. In all, 60 to 70 competitors are expected in the disciplines of tumbling, trampoline and double mini tramp (a cross between running and jumping).
       Among the participants will be juniors as young as age 6. About 50 of the participants will be from ArtSports, with others from around the state, Womack said.
       Before retiring in 2004, Poliaroush represented five countries in international competition: the Soviet Union, the Unified Team, Uzbekistan, Russia and Belarus. In 2004, he took fourth in individual trampoline at the Olympic Games.
       Poliaroush recently came to ArtSports to help with a two-day clinic, Zapp said.
       Womack explained that, based on scores in previous events, the United States is eligible to have one woman compete in the Olympic trampoline event this year in China. A spot on the male side may also be available, depending on a selection committee decision that was due this week. Williams is currently the second highest ranked woman trampolinist in the country, while Dooley is ranked fourth in the men's.

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