SPORT: TUMBLING'S NEW TITANS

TUNING UP FOR THE 1996 ATLANTA OLYMPICS, THE AMERICAN PIXIES OF '92 DISPLAY MATURITY, EXPERIENCE AND A BIT MORE POUNDAGE

One could breathe easier this time, without the uncomfortable sense that if a gymnast fell, she might shatter physically or crumble emotionally. Most of the top competitors at last week's National Gymnastics Championships in New Orleans' Superdome were sturdy, poised high-school graduates. Three were veterans of Olympic competition, Shannon Miller, 18, who placed second in the all-around competition; Dominique Dawes, 18, who came in fourth; and Kerri Strug, 17, who finished fifth. The intervening years have added height and weight to their frames and a maturity to their faces that lent new elegance and expressiveness to their performances. The only Lilliputian...

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