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September 22, 2000

Canadian bounces to bronze

By BEVERLEY SMITH
Globe and Mail Update

Sydney — You never know what will happen in trampoline. Karen Cockburn of Toronto won an unexpected Olympic bronze medal in trampoline Friday when her toughest competitor stepped off the canvas of the trampoline.

Anna Dogonadze of Germany had led the competition throughout the compulsory and optional routines, but when it came to the final event, she made a minor miscalculation and stepped off the mat, ending her routine and earning her embarrassing scores as low as .8 out of 10.

Cockburn had been in fourth place all the way and expected to end up that way. But Dogonadze had fallen ill with a flu bug, and had resumed training only the day before the event. And it wasn't what you would call training. She only messed around with the trampoline a little bit. Her power was missing, and she said she was lucky to finish the first routine. She had laid in bed for four days with a temperature of 38.5 degrees.

“It was very hard for me” she said through an interpreter. “I need a little time now for myself.”

The high-flying Irina Karavaeva of Russia won the gold medal, while Oxana Tsyhuleva of Ukraine won the silver.

“I'm pretty happy,” Cockburn said afterward. “I'm most happy with my last routine. All day today I've been bouncing around, and I feel really good. It's pretty impressive being here with trampoline for the first time, and to win a medal is just incredible to me.”

Cockburn said the German girl is usually very consistent. “I wasn't expecting that,” Cockburn said. “I was happy with my fourth. I thought this was good. It's too bad.” Cockburn said she felt badly for Dodonadze. “Trampoline is a small community,” she said. “All the competitors have become friends.”

Coach Dave Ross said her compulsory routine wasn't that important, because if she did a good optional routine, she would make it to the final, the top eight competitors. “It was a strong routine, but not as strong as she is able to do,” Ross said. “But certainly good enough to put her fourth, which is where she is ranked in the World Cup series. Concerning the pressure we're all feeling here, being the first Olympics, it's fantastic for her to do that.”

Cockburn came third in a World Cup event in Vienna earlier this year.

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