USA Gymnastics announces 2012 class of inductees to the Hall of Fame
posted on 04/02/2012

INDIANAPOLIS, April, 2, 2012 -- Six gymnasts and one coach comprise the 2012 class of inductees for the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame: two-time Olympian Marshall Avener of Boca Raton, Fla.; six-time World tumbling champion Jon Beck of Blue Springs, Mo.; 1982 U.S. rhythmic gymnastics all-around champion and Athlete of the Year Lydia Bree of Torrance, Calif.; 1982 World synchronized trampoline gold-medalist Mark Calderon of Corpus Christi, Texas; 1968 Olympian Wendy Cluff Perez of San Diego, Calif.; 2000 Olympic team bronze-medalist Tasha Schwikert of Los Angeles, Calif.; and World Championship and World Games trampoline coach Paul Swafford of Lee's Summit, Mo. The luncheon and induction ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, June 30, as part of the USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show in San Jose, Calif.

"We are proud to welcome the 2012 inductees to the Hall Fame and give them this well-deserved recognition for their accomplishments and contributions to gymnastics," said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. "Congratulations to each and every one of our honorees."

Marshall Avener, artistic gymnastics - men
Avener is a two-time Olympian, competing in the Olympic Games in 1972 in Munich and in 1976 in Montreal, where the U.S. men finished seventh. He also was a member of the men's team at the 1970 World Championships. Avener won the U.S. all-around title in 1973, where he also placed first on pommel horse and parallel bars, with a second place on still rings. He was the 1975 Pan American Games bronze medalist on vault. Avener also had a successful collegiate career at Pennsylvania State University. After finishing third at the 1972 NCAA Championships, he was the 1973 NCAA all-around champion and helped his team to a second-place finish. Avener was also a finalist for the Nissen Award. Following his collegiate career, he became the Penn State women's gymnastics coach. Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., Avener currently resides in Boca Raton, Fla.

Wendy Cluff Perez, artistic gymnastics - women
Cluff Perez, who was originally from Santa Clara, Calif., was a member of the USA's 1968 Olympic Team. She went first for the U.S. women at the Olympics seven times and is credited with earning the USA's highest starting scores at an Olympic Games at that time. Cluff Perez also represented the United States at the 1970 World Championships in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia, and was fifth in the all-around at the USA-USSR Invitational at Penn State University. One of the original SCATS athletes, she participated in the 1969 World Gymnaestrada in Berne, Switzerland, and performed throughout Europe, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom. At 20, she retired from competitive gymnastics to start Gymnastics Internationale, where she coached for 10 years before moving to the San Diego Aztecs for three years. Cluff Perez is currently in her 16th year as an elementary school teacher and lives in a small community in San Diego County. She earned a Bachelor of Science in interior design from California State University - Long Beach and both her Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts/teaching and her Masters of Arts in education curriculum and instruction at San Diego State University.

Tasha Schwikert, artistic gymnastics - women
Schwikert was a member of the 2003 U.S. women's team that won the USA's first World team title and the 2000 U.S. women's team that won the 2000 Olympic team bronze medal. She was the 2001-02 U.S. all-around champion and won the 2002 U.S. title for the uneven bars and floor exercise. Schwikert's other accomplishments include: captain of the 2003 World Championships gold medal team; 2002 American Cup champion; 2002 all-around Pacific Alliance champion; 2001 World team bronze medalist; and alternate for the 2004 Olympic Women's Team. She went on to an accomplished collegiate career with the University of California - Los Angeles, including becoming the first UCLA and only the seventh woman to win multiple all-around NCAA titles (2005 and 2008). Schwikert has been a TV commentator for Olympic, national and collegiate gymnastics events. Originally from Las Vegas, she currently resides in Los Angeles and works at Wasserman Media Group in the Olympic Sports Division. She plans on attending law school in the fall of 2012.

Lydia Bree, rhythmic gymnastics
One of America's most accomplished rhythmic gymnasts, Bree was the 1982 U.S. all-around champion and USA Gymnastics Athlete of the Year. She was an alternate for the 1984 Olympic Team. She also earned five U.S. all-around silver medals, as well as won the all-around crown at the 1981 U.S. Olympic Festival. She competed at four World Championships and many other international events. In addition to her athletic achievements, Bree has also been a highly successful rhythmic coach. She is one of the few individuals to win both a national title and to coach a national champion. Bree was named the 1992 USA Gymnastics Rhythmic Gymnastics Coach of the Year. In addition to serving as a rhythmic gymnastics judge, she also has been a club owner and an elementary school teacher. Bree holds a master's degree in educational curriculum development and a liberal arts bachelor's degree. Currently, she resides in Torrance, Calif., with her husband and two daughters.

Jon Beck, trampoline/tumbling
Beck won two tumbling titles at the World Games (1989, 1993), the 1992 World tumbling crown, two World team tumbling titles (1992, 1994) and the 1988 World team double mini-trampoline title. He also earned national and World Age Group titles in tumbling and double mini. A coach for more than 20 years, Beck was a part of the the USA Gymnastics trampoline and tumbling national coaching staff from 1992-2009. He currently resides in Blue Springs, Mo, and is the assistant coach for competitive tumbling and gymnastics at Xtreme Gymnastics in Lee's Summit, Mo.

Mark Calderon, trampoline
Calderon, who represented the USA at four World Championships from 1980-86, won the 1982 World synchronized trampoline title with Stuart Ransom. In 1978, he was second at the World Age-Group Competition in Honolulu. He competed in the AAU Junior Olympics from 1976-79 and USTA national competitions, winning national titles both in age-group and national team qualifying competitions. Calderon was serving in the U.S. Navy when he qualified for the U. S. Trampoline Team for a fourth time in 1986. He earned a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology from the University of Texas at Austin and was commissioned as an ensign in the Navy in August 1992. He received his naval aviator "Wings of Gold" in September 1995 and was promoted to his current rank of commander. He is currently stationed at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, where he serves as the requirements officer on the staff of the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA).

Paul Swafford, trampoline coach
Swafford coached 114 national champions: 47 senior elite, 19 junior elite, 46 Level 10, and 1 Level 9 and 1 Level 8 age group athletes. He was the national team coach for both the World Championships and World Games seven times, and was the first coach the USA to a gold medal team performance. Swafford coached Karl Heger, who won 18 national and two World titles, set three World records, and competed in 11 World Championships; and world-record holder John Sturdivan. A native of New York and resident of Lee's Summit, Mo., Swafford founded the Kansas City Trampoline Club in 1972, and had 10 athletes named to World Championships teams and 33 to the World Age Group Competition. He won the Milton Davis Award as senior elite coach of the year four times. Swafford served as an FIT international trampoline judge for multiple World Championships and World Games, as well as the head of delegation to the first World Games and the U.S. representative to the FIT Congress. Swafford earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Missouri State University and a Master of Education from the University of Missouri. He was an NCAA swimmer, diver and trampolinist.

For more information on the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame and the 2012 luncheon and induction ceremony, go to www.usagym.org/hof.


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