Jonathan Horton
© Minkus

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., Jan. 11, 2008 — The 2008 Tyson American Cup, March 1, at New York’s Madison Square Garden boasts an all-star field, setting the stage for an exciting all-around showdown between the USA’s top stars and some of the best from around the world.  2007 all-around world champion Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines, Iowa, and Jonathan Horton of Houston, who finished fourth in the world in the all-around, are set to defend their 2007 Tyson American Cup titles.  2004 Olympic all-around champion Paul Hamm of Waukesha, Wis.; 2007 balance beam world champion Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas; and 2007 team world champion Shayla Worley of Orlando, Fla., are also representing the red, white and blue.


Fabian Hambuechen of Germany and Hisashi Mizutori of Japan, the 2007 all-around world silver and bronze medalists from the 2007 World Championships, have already accepted their invitation to compete. The men’s and women’s international field is being finalized and is expected to include gymnasts from Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Romania, Russia and Venezuela. Hambuechen, a 2004 Olympian, won the all-around world bronze medal in 2006. Mizutori was the 2005 all-around silver medalist and a member of the 2004 Olympic gold-medal team.


“This incredible line-up continues the Tyson American Cup’s tradition as a showcase for the world’s top gymnasts,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “An exciting competition, Madison Square Garden, New York City – this is going to be a great kick off for our Olympic year.”


A third U.S. man will be named to the squad following the 2008 Winter Cup Challenge, and as in the past, the U.S. athletes will demonstrate competition readiness prior to the event. 


About the U.S. gymnasts

Hamm returned to competitive gymnastics at the 2007 Visa Championships and won the floor exercise, his 10th career national title. He became the first U.S. male gymnast to win the Olympic all-around title when he won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Just one year earlier, Hamm made history by winning the United States’ first-ever men’s world all-around title at the 2003 World Championships, where he also tied for first on floor and won a team silver medal. He claimed a world bronze medal on floor exercise in 2002. Hamm was a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team and the 2001 U.S. World Team that won an unprecedented team silver medal. Hamm won three national all-around crowns and six national individual event titles between 2002 and 2004. Hamm took time off after the 2004 Olympic Games to earn his college degree at Ohio State University, where he trains.


Horton became just the fifth U.S. man to finish in the top four at an Olympic Games or a World Championships with his fourth-place finish at the 2007 World Championships. He also was a member of the U.S. Men’s Team that finished fourth. Horton’s successful career includes back-to-back Tyson American Cup crowns in 2006-07, a national title on the floor exercise i