INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 26, 2013 – Last year's champion Charity Jones of Miami, Okla./Dynamo Gymnastics, headlines the 34-gymnast field for the fourth annual Nastia Liukin Cup this Friday at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. at 7 p.m. ET. 2012 silver-medalist Alex McMurtry of Midlothian, Va./Richmond Olympiad Gymnastics, returns for her third Nastia Liukin Cup and will look to challenge Jones. The roster also includes seven other returning competitors from the past three years.
"It's hard to believe what this event has become – so many of these athletes have gone on to become Junior Olympic champions and successful collegiate gymnasts," said Nastia Liukin, the 2008 Olympic all-around gold medalist. "I cannot wait to watch these terrifically talented athletes compete and hope they have an incredible experience."
"The Nastia Liukin Cup has proven to be one of springboards to gymnastics success in the United States," said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. "We are thrilled to continue to showcase some of the best and brightest Junior Olympic athletes, as well as continue our partnership with Nastia."
Two athletes will make their third Nastia Liukin Cup appearance, Ashleigh Gnat of Lake Mary, Fla./ACE Gymnastics (2010, 2012) and McMurtry (2011, 2012). Other returning competitors include: Alicia Boren of Franklin Lakes, N.J./North Stars Gymnastics Academy (2012); Mackenzie Brannan of Cedar Park, Texas/Capital Gymnastics (2011); Felicia Hano of San Gabriel, Calif./West Coast Elite Gymnastics (2012); Jones (2012); Kari Lee of Peoria, Ariz./Flames Gymnastics Academy (2012); Kendal Moss of Cornelius, N.C./Everest Gymnastics (2012); and Lauren Ramirez of Chandler, Ariz./Gold Medal Gymnastics (2012).
A complete list of the 34-gymnast field is available below, alphabetically by state.
The 2013 Nastia Liukin Cup Series featured 19 of the top gymnastics invitational meets held throughout the United States between mid-January and February 2013. A designated number of gymnasts from each invitational advanced to the Nastia Liukin Cup.
This year's Nastia Liukin Cup will be televised live on Universal Sports from 7-9:30 p.m. ET. Universal Sports is available nationwide on DirecTV and Dish Network as part of their sports packages in addition to select local cable providers. To find out if Universal Sports is available in your area, click here. Additional non-broadcast routines will be posted on the USA Gymnastics YouTube channel.
For more information on qualifiers and results from each invitational, go to www.nastialiukincup.com.
Tickets for the Nastia Liukin Cup are $30 for general admission, plus applicable fees or $10 when purchased with AT&T American Cup tickets. Tickets may be purchased by phone at 800-745-3000; online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.dcucenter.com; at all Ticketmaster outlets; or at the DCU Center Box Office.
Gymnasts who compete in the Nastia Liukin Cup will receive a Nastia Liukin-designed leotard and a warm-up from GK Elite; two tickets to the American Cup and recognition during the event; and the opportunity to meet Liukin and participate in a team photo.
A portion of the proceeds from the Nastia Liukin Cup benefits the Nastia Liukin Fund, a charitable fund in partnership with the National Gymnastics Foundation (www.usagym.org/foundation).
Nastia Liukin. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Liukin's total of five medals tied the U.S. gymnastics record for most medals in one Olympic Games, held by Mary Lou Retton (1984) and Shannon Miller (1992). Liukin's Olympic medals are: gold – all-around; silver – team, balance beam and uneven bars; and bronze – floor exercise. Liukin was the third of four U.S. women to win the Olympic all-around crown. She also won nine World medals in her career. Liukin has graced many magazine covers and appeared on various shows, including "Gossip Girl," "Make It or Break it," and the feature film, "Stick It." She was also chosen as one of 2009's most influential women by MSN Lifestyle. Liukin is now attending college in New York City. Last fall, she was a member of the creative team and a cast member for the Kellogg’s Tour of Olympic Champions, a national, 40-city tour that followed the 2012 Olympic Games. Liukin was coached by her father, Valeri, who has four Olympic medals from 1988 including two gold.
2013 Nastia Liukin Cup participants
Kari Lee, Flames Gymnastics, Peoria, Ariz.
Lauren Ramirez, Gold Medal, Chandler, Ariz.
Miranda Cabada, Winners Gymnastics, Chino, Calif.
Felicia Hano, West Coast Elite Gymnastics, Arcadia, Calif.
Alma Kuc, All Olympia, Los Angeles, Calif.
Bridget Dean, Orlando Metro, Fort Meyers, Fla.
Bailey Ferrer, Orlando Metro, Orlando, Fla.
Ashleigh Gnat, ACE Gymnastics, Longwood, Fla.
Sydney Johnson-Scharpf, Brandy Johnson's, Groveland, Fla.
Aja-Monet Sims, Brandy Johnson's, Clermont, Fla.
Amanda Wellick, Legacy Elite, Wheaton, Ill.
Lindsey Lemke, R Athletics, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Lexy Ramler, KidSport Dynamos, Winona, Minn.
Ashton Locklear, Everest Gymnastics, Huntersville, N.C.
Kendal Moss, Everest Gymnastics, Cornelius, N.C.
Emily Schild, Everest Gymnastics, Huntersville, N.C.
Alicia Boren, North Stars Gymnastics, Boonton, N.J.
Brianna Brown, Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy, Fairfield, Ohio
Sydney Doggette, Buckeye Gymnastics, Westerville, Ohio
Emily Gaskins, Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy, Fairfield, Ohio
Jenna Swartzentruber, Buckeye Gymnastics, Westerville, Ohio
Charity Jones, Dynamo, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Kaytianna McMillan, National Academy of Artistic Gymnastics, Eugene, Ore.
Alexis Mattern, ASAP Gymnastics, Harrisburg, Pa.
Mackenzie Brannan, Capital Gymnastics, Cedar Park, Texas
Reagan Campbell, Texas Dreams Gymnastics, Coppell, Texas
Rachel Daum, Stars Houston, Houston, Texas
Kyanna George, Metroplex, Allen, Texas
Samantha Partyka, Champions Gymnastics Academy, Katy, Texas
Drew Watson, Texas East, Tyler, Texas
Hannah Miller, Olympus School of Gymnastics, Sandy, Utah
Mariah Peterson, USA Gymnastics World, Woods Cross, Utah
Kiera Brown, World Class Gymnastics, Newport News, Va.
Alexandra McMurtry, Richmond Olympiad, Midlothian