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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., July 9, 2009 – Nearly 160 acrobatic gymnasts from Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Monaco, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia and the United States are vying for gold medals at the 2009 Freedom Cup July 10-12 at The Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium in Saint Paul, Minn. 2008 world mixed pair silver-medalists Michael Rodrigues and Kristin Allen of Livermore, Calif./West Coast Training Center, are among the USA’s acrobatic gymnasts competing in the 2009 Freedom Cup, which has International Gymnastics Federation World Cup status. For the first time, fans may witness the action from the comfort of their own homes via a live webcast available by clicking here.

The 2009 Freedom Cup live webcast provides free coverage of each event session, beginning at 3 p.m. CT Friday. Scores of the current performance will appear during the video stream, and complete results will be posted at the conclusion of each session.

Rodrigues and Allen, the reigning U.S. mixed pair champions, join a senior U.S. delegation that includes: 2008 U.S. mixed pair silver-medalists Sarah Radcliffe of Ellicott, Md., and Kevin Grear of Columbia, Md., from Emilia’s Acro Gymnastics Club; Sienna Martinez of Riverside, Calif., and Ryan Ward of Corona, Calif./Realis Gymnastics Academy; Kailey Maurer of Fontana, Calif., Holli Morris of Beaumont, Calif., and Crystal Johnston of Riverside, Calif./Empire; Mallory Shields of Independence, Mo., and Brooke Handy and Megan Muehlberger of Blue Springs, Mo./Acro Explosion.

Some of the up-and-coming stars to watch in the 12-19 age group are: women’s pair Valerie Bryant and Hayley Lemmons of Boerne, Texas/Boerne Gymnastics Center; women’s pair Allison Traina and Devin Jones of San Antonio, Texas/ USA Aerial Athletics; mixed pair and 2009 Maia Cup silver-medalists Eirian Smith and Jake Kanavel of San Jose, Calif./Aerial Tumbling & AcroGymnastics; and women’s group – Brooke Mummaw, Chloe Wait and Brooke Handy of Blue Springs, Mo./Acro Explosion; Chelcea Reigel of Blue Springs, MacKenzie Porter of Kearny, Mo., and Krissy Weidmaier of Holt, Mo./Rising Star Acrobatic Club; Alexa Vitale, Kelly Phillips and Jessica Picone of San Jose/Aerial Tumbling & AcroGymnastics; Tiana Terry, Lanie Davis and Elika Sudo of San Jose/Aerial Tumbling & AcroGymnastics; Liesl Ziegenhals, Danielle Hovey and Madison Pechacek of Boerne/Boerne Gymnastics Center; and Anna Grafov of Ellicott City, Md., Melisa Noriega of Columbia, Md., and Carissa Marcelle of Glenelg, Md./Emilia’s Acro gym & Cheer.

For the age group 11-16, the U.S. representatives include the women’s group and 2009 Maia Cup bronze-medalists Kendall Meyer of Silver Springs, Md., Erica Prestipino of Rockville, Md., and Mackenzie Meyer of Silver Springs/Xtreme Acro and Cheer. The women’s pairs are: Kennedy Swanson of Blue Springs, and Mariah Cockshell of Summit, Mo./Acro Explosion; Alana Floyd of Mt. Airy, Md., and Helena Hall of Monrovia, Md./Skyview Gymnastics; Olivia Niva and Gabriella Titinger of San Jose/Aerial Tumbling and Acro Gymnastics; and BreeAnna Saur and Harley Elliott of Lawson, Mo./Northwest Gymnastics Academy. The mixed pair groups are: Kiley Boynton of Riverside, Calif., and Ryan Smethers of Mira Loma, Calif./Realis; and Kendall Meyer of Silver Springs and Chris Ball of Rockville/Xtreme Acro and Cheer. The other women’s groups are: Kaitlyn Plata, Jenna Provazek and Monika Terry of San Jose/Aerial Tumbling and Acro Gymnastics; Jesse Kelly and Brooke Rhoades of San Jose, and Alyssa Liardon of Morgan Hill, Calif./Aerial Tumbling and Acro Gymnastics; McKenzie Bloom, Allison Tokunaga and Whitney Clement of San Jose/Aerial Tumbling and Acro Gymnastics; Jenna Frazer, Danica Hegeman and Molly Rye of Riverside/Empire Acrogymnastics Sports; and Olivia Bunton, Abigail Warden and Kyli Pruitt of Owensville, Mo./Mid-America Acro Tumbling.

Among the international teams to watch are: Belgium’s mixed pair of Julie Van Gelder and Menno Vanderghote; Portugal’s men’s pair of Joao Maia and FigueiredoTiago, who will compete in the 2009 World Games after finishing fifth at 2008 World Championships and third at the 2007 World Cup Final; and Russia’s mixed pair Alexandr Barleben and Anastasia Gorbatyuk, who tied with Rodrigues and Allen for second at the 2008 World Championships.

The Freedom Cup includes three competition divisions: senior, junior, and age-group. Preliminary rounds are scheduled for Friday, July 10, and Saturday, July 11, with the final round on Sunday, July 12. A complete list of the entire field will be available online.

Tickets for the Freedom Cup are $50 for an all-session package and $15-25 for a single-day. Tickets are available at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com. For group ticket information, call (651) 312-3486. Tickets for the Junior Olympic National Championships will be available onsite.

The U.S. Acrobatic Gymnastics Junior Olympic National Championships, which showcases the nation’s top acrobatic gymnasts, will be held July 12-16 in conjunction with the Freedom Cup. The Junior Olympics features competition in Levels 5-10, junior elite and senior elite, and serves as a qualifying event for the 2009 Visa Championships, scheduled for Aug. 12-15 in Dallas, Texas.

Acrobatic gymnastics combines the beauty of dance with the strength and agility of acrobatic and gymnastic skills with intense acrobatic balance showing 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.

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.