Publish date:

Semisweet Vindication

For the past six weeks, U.S. gymnast Todd Thornton has slept in an altitude tent simulating 9,000 feet above sea level to boost his endurance during training sessions. Last Friday night Thornton's career reached new heights as he beat the field by a healthy 1.4 points to win his first U.S. all-around title. For Thornton (right) the result was vindication after being left off last summer's six-man Olympic team despite finishing fourth at the 2004 nationals. (Coaches passed him up in favor of individual-apparatus specialists.) "It's hard to put in all that work and then have to watch," says Thornton, 22, who could face the same fate during the world championships in Melbourne in November: He'll undergo an MRI this week for soreness in his right shoulder--the fear is that it's the result of a torn labrum or rotator cuff. --B.C.