Event is First Step on the Path to the Olympic Games

Indianapolis, Ind.- The 2000 John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships is the first of two qualifying events for the sport of gymnastics to the 2000 Olympic Team for U.S. male and female gymnasts. The event is July 26-29, at the Kiel Center and showcases the finest gymnasts in the country vying for national titles.

The top 12 women and 14 men from the John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships qualify for the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, August 17-20 in Boston. Combined scores from the John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships and the U.S. Olympic Team Trials will be used to determine members of the Olympic Team. The Olympic Games are September 15-October 1 in Sydney, Australia.
The John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships will crown national champions in both all-around and individual event finals. The event also selects the 2000-2001 Senior and Junior National Teams who will represent the U.S. in international competition throughout the year.
“This competition is crucial for our athletes as it begins our selection for the Olympic Games,” said Bob Colarossi, President of USA Gymnastics. “We expect the competition to be very intense and exciting.”
The John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships has a rich history of past champions, including Olympians Bart Conner, Kurt Thomas, John Roethlisberger, Mary Lou Retton, Kim Zmeskal, Dominique Dawes, Dominique Moceanu and Shannon Miller.

Men’s Competition

Blaine Wilson (Columbus, Ohio), a 1996 Olympian and four-time defending national all-around champion, looks to add an impressive fifth title to his career. Wilson’s top competitors are members of the 1999 World Championships Team, including: John Roethlisberger (Minneapolis, Minn.), a 1992 and 1996 Olympian and four-time national champion; Stephen McCain (Houston, Texas); Yewki Tomita (Tucson, Ariz.) Sean Townsend (Houston, Texas); Jay Thornton (Augusta, Ga.) and Chris Young (Winston-Salem, N.C.). 1996 Olympian John Macready (Los Angeles, Calif.) and 1998 John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships runner-up Jason Gatson (Upland, Ariz.) are expected to compete.

Women’s Competition

Kristen Maloney (Pen Argyl, Pa.), the reigning two-time national champion, will attempt to defend her title against Vanessa Atler (Canyon Country, Calif.), the runner-up in the 1998 and 1999 John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships. Elise Ray (Columbia, Md), the top U.S. finisher at the 1999 World Championships, Jennie Thompson (Cincinnati, Ohio), the 1999 Visa American Cup champion, and Morgan White (Cincinnati, Ohio), the 1999 Pan American Games all-around champion, will compete for their first national title. 1996 Olympic Gold Medalists Amy Chow (San Jose, Calif.) Shannon Miller (Edmond, Okla.) and Dominique Moceanu (Hollywood, Calif.), hope to prove their veteran status against the younger competitors to make another Olympic Team.