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Olympics Worth the Wait for Bhavsar
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Two-time U.S. Olympic alternate Raj Bhavsar said Saturday competing in the Olympics in Beijing was "absolutely worth the wait."

The U.S. men competed in the first of three qualification subdivisions Saturday, finishing sixth to advance to Tuesday's team finals.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," he told IG. "It's been such a tumultuous journey for me — I'm sometimes feeling [I'm going] uphill. I'm at the peak right now. Internally I couldn't be more satisfied to be an Olympian. It was absolutely worth the wait — no regrets."

Bhavsar was a member of the U.S. team that won silver at the 2001 and 2003 World Championships. He watched the 2004 Olympics in Athens from the stands as one of three alternates, though many experts felt he should have competed.

In June, he was again named one of three Olympic alternates, but moved into the lineup July 28 after the withdrawal of Paul Hamm.

On Saturday, Bhavsar competed five events, earning the team's highest individual score, a 16.175 on vault.

"I could actually feel the momentum from each guy," said Bhavsar, who turns 28 next month. "Even when I was going up, in gymnastics you tend to get a little nervous... you think 'I gotta hit this set, I gotta do this....' Something that was resonating for me was there is no way this can go wrong. The way this team is doing — it was just boom one guy after another. It's just feeding off each other, it was absolutely awesome."

Bhavsar said he was most proud of his performance on parallel bars and least satisfied with pommel horse.

"On pommel horse I can do better," he said. "In training my sets have been going really well, and that is why they put me up second to last. [I had] a little bobble here and there and going into the dismount I got a little rushed.

"I was honestly the most proud of parallel bars. It is a very intricate event to me, a lot like pommel horse. For some people it's easier to hold back, there's a lot of hand placements. For me to go out there and hit a longer routine with a higher start value is a great feeling. It was awesome."

The U.S. team will compete in finals along with top qualifiers China, defending champions Japan, Russia, Korea, Germany, France and Romania.

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