ATHENS, Greece -- Pamela Anderson's investment in Mohini
Bhardwaj keeps paying off.
Bhardwaj, whose quest to make the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team
was bankrolled by the former "Baywatch" actress, was chosen as a
surprise all-around candidate Friday when the Americans released
Bhardwaj joins Courtney McCool and co-national champions
Courtney Kupets and Carly Patterson in doing all four events during
Sunday's team qualifications.
Bhardwaj would be eligible to compete for the all-around title
if she finishes high enough. The top 24 individual gymnasts advance
to the all-around, though each country is limited to two
Bhardwaj was once one of the most promising young gymnasts in
the United States. She burned out on the long hours of training,
and went through a rebellious stage that hurt her career. She
regained her love of the sport at UCLA, where she was an 11-time
All-American and helped the Bruins win two national championships.
Though the 25-year-old is at an age where gymnasts trade their
leotards for a coach's warm-up jacket, she decided she had to try
one more time to make the Olympic team. Anderson stepped in, giving
Bhardwaj $20,000 after she heard the gymnast was selling raffle
tickets to help fund her training.
She was chosen unanimously by her teammates as the U.S. captain.
"It's definitely been a long road," Bhardwaj said earlier this
week. "I'd say very life-fulfilling for me. That's the best way I
can put it."
Bhardwaj will go first on three of the four events, responsible
for getting a solid score to set the tone for the rest of the team.
She'll go second-last on vault, her strongest event. In
preliminaries, five gymnasts compete on each event and four scores
The lineup is:
Uneven bars: Bhardwaj, Terin Humphrey, McCool, Patterson, Kupets
Balance beam: Bhardwaj, Kupets, Humphrey, McCool, Patterson
Floor exercise: Bhardwaj, Kupets, Humphrey, McCool, Patterson
Vault: McCool, Kupets, Patterson, Bhardwaj, Annia Hatch