U.S. World Medalists Townsend, Hamm, Schwikert and Yim expected to compete

 Indianapolis – An impressive squad of 2001 World Medalists including 2000 Olympians and reigning national champions Sean Townsend and Tasha Schwikert, 2000 Olympian Paul Hamm and 2001 national runner-up Tabitha Yim, will represent the United States at the 2002 Visa American Cup, March 2, 2002 at 11:30 a.m. at Orlando’s T.D. Waterhouse Centre.
“Orlando will have a chance to preview our country’s rising stars as they compete against the world’s best at this year’s Visa American Cup,” said Bob Colarossi, President of USA Gymnastics. “Thanks to the local Orlando gymnastics clubs and the Central Florida Sports Commission for their support of the Visa American Cup three years in a row. They will play a key role in making this event a success once again.”
U.S. Team members Townsend, Hamm, Schwikert and Yim recently earned medals at the 2001 World Championships last November in Ghent, Belgium. Townsend won a gold medal on parallel bars, the first men’s individual medal won since 1979, and also helped the team to an unprecedented silver medal. Schwikert and Yim led the women’s team to a World Championships bronze.
The countries of Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Cuba, Bulgaria, Japan, France and the Netherlands are expected to send competitors. A complete roster will soon be announced.
The Visa American Cup will award $70,000 in total prize money, making it one of the wealthiest and most respected international gymnastics competitions in the world.
2002 marks the seventh year that Orlando has hosted the Visa American Cup, a testament to the strong community support for gymnastics. Orlando hosted the event in 2001 and 2000, as well as from 1991-1994.
The event brings national attention to Orlando as it will be televised live on NBC Sports from 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Tickets for the 2002 Visa American Cup are $25, $18 and $10. They can be purchased at the T.D. Waterhouse Centre box office, through Ticketmaster at 407-839-3900 or at a participating gymnastics club. For a list of participating gymnastics gyms or link to ticketmaster.com, log-on to www.usa-gymnastics.org [See: TICKET INFO]
The Visa American Cup, which began in 1976 to celebrate the United States Bicentennial, has a rich history that includes the world’s greatest gymnasts among its champions. Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci were crowned the champions in 1976 and other past champions include Mary Lou Retton, Shannon Miller, Kurt Thomas and Peter Vidmar.

American Cup Champions

Year Site Men’s Champion Women’s Champion
1976 New York, NY Bart Conner (USA) Nadia Comaneci (ROM)
1977 New York, NY Mitsuo Tsukahara (JPN) Kathy Johnson (USA)
1978 New York, NY Kurt Thomas (USA) Natasha Tereschenko (URS)
1979 New York, NY Kurt Thomas (USA) Stella Zakarova (URS)
1980 New York, NY Kurt Thomas (USA) Tracee Talavera (USA)
1981 Fort Worth, Texas Bart Conner (USA) Julianne McNamara (USA)
1982 New York, NY Bart Conner (USA) Julianne McNamara (USA)
Zoya Grantcharova (BUL)
1983 New York, NY Peter Vidmar (USA) Mary Lou Retton (USA)
1984 New York, NY Peter Vidmar (USA) Mary Lou Retton (USA)
1985 Indianapolis, Ind. Tim Daggett (USA) Mary Lou Retton (USA)
1986 Fairfax, Va. Alexsei Tikhonkin (URS) Kristie Phillips (USA)
1987 Fairfax, Va. Brian Ginsberg (USA) Kristie Phillips (USA)
1988 Fairfax, Va. Marius Toba (ROM) Phoebe Mills (USA)