INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., July 23, 2008 — The USA’s best in acrobatic gymnastics will meet in Des Moines, Iowa, for the 2008 Acrobatic Gymnastics Junior Olympic National Championships, July 27-31 at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. The Acrobatic Gymnastics Junior Olympic National Championships showcases the nation’s top acrobatic gymnasts vying for national titles, as well as spots on their respective Junior Olympic National Team, and junior and senior national teams.

The 2008 Acrobatic Gymnastics National Championships will also serve as the World Team Trials, which will determine who will represent the United States at the 2008 International Age Group Games and the 2008 World Acrobatic Gymnastics Championships, Sept. 29- Oct. 12, in Glasgow, Scotland.

“We are happy to take this dynamic sport to Des Moines,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “This is a great opportunity for fans to see the United States’ top acrobatic gymnasts compete in what we expect to be an exciting event.”

Defending U.S. senior women’s pair and 2008 Maia International Acro Cup gold-medalists Savannah Shields and Mallory Henthorn of Blue Springs, Mo., are among the more than 600 gymnasts from 49 clubs who will compete in the 2008 Acrobatic Gymnastics Junior Olympic National Championships. Also expected to compete in mixed pair is 2006 U.S. bronze-medalist Michael Rodrigues of Livermore, Calif., and his new partner, 2007 U.S. champion Kristin Allen of Livermore, Calif.

The Acrobatic Gymnastics Junior Olympic National Championships features competition in Levels 5-10, junior elite and senior elite in five events: men’s pair, women’s pair, mixed pair, women’s group and men’s group.

Competition begins at 7:30 p.m. on July 27. There are three sessions of competition each day from July 28-30 at 8:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Competition concludes on July 31 with the final session at 8:30 a.m.

Tickets, which are available at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium box office on the days of competition, are $25 per day for adults and $15 per day for children. Spectators can purchase an all-session package for $70 for adults and $30 for children.

The Acrobatic Gymnastics Junior Olympic National Championships is the premier event for the acrobatics gymnastics program in the United States. This event represents the highest level of competition many acrobatic gymnastics athletes ever achieve; and for many athletes, this is the highlight of a long season of competition. For more information on the 2008 Acrobatic Gymnastics Junior Olympic National Championships, click here.

Acrobatic gymnastics, previously referred to as sport acrobatics, combines the beauty of dance with the strength and agility of acrobatics. Gymnastics skills add excitement to the exercises, while intense acrobatic balances show grace, strength and flexibility. Routines are choreographed to music and consist of dance, tumbling, and partner skills. At the elite level, each pair or group performs a balance, dynamic and combined routine. Pyramids and partner holds characterize the balance routine, while synchronized tumbling and intricate flight elements define the dynamic exercise. The combined routine unites elements of balance and dynamic.

An acrobatic gymnastics pair consists of a base and a top. A women’s group is comprised of a base, middle and top partner, while a men’s group has a base, two middle partners and one top partner. Bases generally are older athletes who display strength and balance and top partners generally are younger athletes who display flexibility and agility. Middle partners often are required to show a combination of all attributes.

Acrobatic gymnastics gained valuable exposure and fans across the country when former world champions Arthur Davis and Shenea Booth made it to the finals of “America’s Got Talent” on NBC in 2006. The duo received praise and a following for their inventive and dynamic routines.

Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. Its mission is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in the sport. Its disciplines include men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, and acrobatic gymnastics.