INDIANAPOLIS, June 15, 2015 – Since its debut in 1999, National Gymnastics Day has evolved into a national celebration and promotion of gymnastics that includes local outreach, social media activation and charitable activities. Scheduled for Sept. 19, this year’s National Gymnastics Day will focus on fitness and gymnastics, as well as providing opportunities for children who do not have access to gymnastics. Also in 2015, National Gymnastics Day will take on a new dimension by going global and encouraging gymnasts and gymnastics fans from around the world to participate in the “Show Your Salute Challenge.”
2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin and 1984 Olympic gold-medalist Peter Vidmar have signed on as National Gymnastics Day co-chairs for the year.
“The U.S. gymnastics community has embraced National Gymnastics Day as an opportunity to celebrate the sport and to give back to their communities,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “The year before the Olympics is the ideal time to invite the world to join us in promoting gymnastics as a fun way to help youth become physically active and learn skills that will help them throughout their lives. We hope more countries will adopt National Gymnastics Day, and the ‘Show Your Salute Challenge’ will be a fun way for people of all ages to be a part of the worldwide celebration.”
The international outreach for National Gymnastics Day is a natural outgrowth of USA Gymnastics’ Global Ambassador Program, which provides gymnastics expertise to developing nations in the sport, and its involvement in the Pan American Gymnastics Union and International Gymnastics Federation. Australia is the first country to register to participate.
“Gymnastics has been an integral part of my life since I was a young man,” said Vidmar, who is also chairman of the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors and a member of the International Gymnastics Federation Executive Committee. “National Gymnastics Day is the perfect opportunity for people in our country and around the world to share their love of this great sport. The ‘salute’ is known at every level of the sport and will be a fun way to see the creativity of our community.”
Liukin said, “I am honored to join Peter as a co-chair of National Gymnastics Day. I participated in National Gymnastics Day when I was on the national team, and I look forward to being a part of this special day once again. I hope gymnasts around the globe will participate in the salute challenge because it is a fun way to celebrate gymnastics and to demonstrate its popularity on all levels.”
The “Show Your Salute Challenge” is set for 1 p.m. local time for participants, gymnasts and fans alike to submit photos by using #NGD2015 when posting images on social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Prizes will be awarded for the most creative photos showing his or her salute after executing a skill. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, September 23.
Visit GymnasticsDay.com for updates and more information. All clubs holding National Gymnastics Day celebrations are encouraged to register on usagym.org/ngd as an official participant. Clubs hosting events can promote plans via the USA Gymnastics website.
“USA Gymnastics is committed to helping grow gymnastics internationally,” said Penny, “and hosting National Gymnastics Day programming in countries around the globe can help bring awareness, build involvement and raise the talent pool in each country. And, in today’s world, social media initiatives go a long way in building awareness.”