INDIANAPOLIS, April 18, 2013 – The 2013 U.S. Championships, Aug. 15-18 at the XL Center, and the USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show in Hartford, Conn., will not only showcase the best gymnastics has to offer, but they will also provide the backdrop to celebrating USA Gymnastics' 50th anniversary. In addition, three gold-medal women's teams – the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, aka The Fierce Five℠, and the 2007 World Championships Teams for artistic gymnastics and tumbling – will be inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame as the Class of 2013.
"Hartford is the perfect stage for celebrating our first 50 years," said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. "With the championships and the USA Gymnastics National Congress, our gymnastics community will be in Hartford to mark this occasion and the feats of this accomplished Hall of Fame class."
Prior to the 2013 class, only four teams, all gold medalists, have been inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame: 1984 U.S. Olympic Men's Team; 1996 U.S. Olympic Women's Team; 1999 U.S. Men's Double Mini-trampoline World Championships Team; and 2003 U.S. Women's World Championships Team.
Plans for celebrating the 50th anniversary are still being finalized, but the efforts in Hartford are expected to include recognition of the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame inductees, along with current Hall of Fame members from men's and women's gymnastics, at the competition; a dedicated website and publication; themed displays at the venue and Congress; and special hospitality opportunities. Signage for the championships will feature champions from the five decades.
"The organization's first office opened in January 1963 and the first U.S. Gymnastics Championships were held that June," said Penny. "In Hartford, we will recognize both the milestones of USA Gymnastics and the achievements of its athletes during that time, as well as 50 years of championships."
Here's a brief look at the three gold-medal teams that comprise the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame class of 2013.
USA Gymnastics serves as the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States, a designation it has held since 1970, and is recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).
Originally called the U.S. Gymnastics Federation, the USGF was established in Tucson, Ariz., and opened its first office in the home of Frank Bare, the new executive director, in January 1963. The Board of Directors began the task of creating a viable national program for gymnastics in the United States. In June, the fledgling organization held its first national championships in Park Ridge, Ill.
During the mid-1960s, the United States had approximately 7,000 gymnasts competing on a limited schedule. The only major international gymnastics events were the Olympic Games, the World Championships and the Pan American Games. Due to the hard work of U.S. gymnastics pioneers – Frank Bare, Dean McCoy, Gene Wettstone, to name a few – the USGF replaced the Amateur Athletic Union as the sport’s national governing body and gained membership in the International Gymnastics Federation in 1970. The USGF began doing business as USA Gymnastics in 1993. Trampoline and tumbling joined USA Gymnastics in 1999, just prior to trampoline’s addition to the Olympic program, and acrobatic gymnastics became the newest discipline in 2002.
During the last 50 years, the sport has grown by leaps and bounds. Today, approximately 127,000 athletes and professionals and nearly 2,500 clubs are members of USA Gymnastics. That number includes more than 96,000 athletes registered in competitive programs.
As the governing body, USA Gymnastics sets the rules and policies that govern gymnastics in the United States; selects and trains the U.S. Gymnastics Teams for Olympic Games and World Championships, as well as other international competitions; promotes and develops gymnastics on both the grassroots and national levels; and serves as a resource center for member clubs, fans and gymnasts throughout the United States. The organization has programs in men's and women's artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, acrobatic gymnastics, and group gymnastics.
On the field of play, the USA is recognized as a gymnastics leader, winning World and Olympic medals in men's and women's gymnastics, including the women's 1996 and 2012 and the men's 1984 Olympic team titles; and winning internationally in trampoline, tumbling and rhythmic and acrobatic gymnastics.
Throughout the year, USA Gymnastics provides educational opportunities for coaches and judges, as well as gym club owners and administrators, through regional Congresses, the National Congress and Trade Show, and USA Gymnastics University. Nearly 4,000 competitions and events throughout the USA are sanctioned annually.
USA Gymnastics, headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., has expanded from the original staff of three to more than 50 employees that handle member services, competition programs, marketing, communications, events, finance and administration.