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THE UTAH SUMMER GAMES: DAY 1: GYMNASTICS IN THE SPOTLIGHT AS COMPETITION BEGINS.

SHARE THE UTAH SUMMER GAMES: DAY 1: GYMNASTICS IN THE SPOTLIGHT AS COMPETITION BEGINS.

They may have been gold-plated and nickel-plated, but to Sandy's Jason Despain, his six awards were precious medals.

The 1989 Utah Summer Games were less than a day old Monday, and Despain of Murray's Rocky Mountain Gymnastics was the proud bearer of two golds and four silvers for a total of six medals - one for about each month that he has been competing in the sport.No matter that his medals came in the Class V category for ages 5 to 7 - the youngest and the most novice divison. The all-around gold medalist enjoyed a thrill as real as that for any other older or advanced athlete.

"I was hoping for at least one medal . . . I thought I wasn't doing very well, but then I ended up with the six medals," said Jason.

Opening ceremonies

With 1984 gold medalist Peter Vidmar conducting the program and 7-foot-4 prep basketball standout Shawn Bradley lighting the Games' flame with the torch that was hand-carried nearly 400 miles from Logan during the previous week, this year's opening ceremonies went forth under cloud-free skies. That's noteworthy since the '88 program was unceremoniously rained out by a violent thunderstorm.

The 1989 inductees into the Games' Hall of Honor included Annette Cottle, a multi-sport star who concluded her four-year All-American volleyball career at Utah State University; Harry James, the former tennis coach at the Univesity of Utah for nearly three decades; Dick Motta, the Midvale native who has coached basketball at the high school, collegiate and NBA levels; Ralph Roylance, Utah State's first all-American in track and an all-conference running back; and Marion Tree, former executive director of the Utah High School Activities Association.

Fast-pitch softball

In the sport that got the early jump on everybody with a previous-weekend schedule, K-L Sports of Sandy won the men's division gold medal by downing Budweiser of Spanish Fork 13-6. In the women's division, Salt Lake City's Utah Starts edged Logan's High Country 3-2 in the title game, while Rampage of Salt Lake City beat the Provo-Orem Rebels for gold-medal girls honors.

Girls' gymnastics

Two categories were contested Monday in the SUSC Centrum - the Class I and Class I Elite. In the former, Sally Mason of Salt Lake City earned gold in the all-around as well as a gold on the beam. And in the latter, Amber Doi of Salt Lake City took elite golds with the day's two top scores - a 9.35 on the beam and a 9.65 on the vault.

Boys' gymnastics

Despain wasn't the only multi-medalist among the boys. Daniel Smith of USA Gymnastics took the all-around gold medal - plus an additional four medals - honors in the Class V 8-and-older category. USA's Jeffery Barrowman won the all-around gold and six more medals in Class IV, with Jeremy Fenton doing the same in Class II compulsories.

USA's Casey Bryan had the day's top score among the boys with a 9.1 in the Class II optional floor exercise - he finished with a half-dozen medals himself as well as the top spot in the division's all-around. And Jon Fenton took the all-ages' Class III all-around en route to a five-medal finish.

Equestrian

In the sport's inaugural Summer Games appearance, Jenny Green of Salt Lake finished with five medals in the training and first-level dressage competitions, while Carolyn Benson rode to gold- and silver-medal honors in the upper-level dressage.