Ashley Hargis, Kristin Weidmaier and Chelcea Riegel

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., Oct. 11, 2007—Des Moines, Iowa, will showcase the nation’s best in acrobatic gymnastics when it hosts the 2008 Acrobatic Gymnastics National Championships, July 27-31, at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Approximately 650 athletes are expected to compete in the five-day event.


“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.”


The Acrobatic Gymnastics National Championships features competition in men’s pair, women’s pair, mixed pair, women’s group and men’s group in Levels 5-10, junior elite and senior elite. An acrobatic gymnastics pair consists of a base and a top. A womens group is comprised of a base, middle and top partner, while a mens 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.


The 2008 Acrobatic Gymnastics National Championships crowns U.S. champions, is part of the selection process for the junior and senior national teams, and determines the members of the Junior Olympic National Team (Levels 8-10). It also is the selection event for the 2008 Winterthur Cup, an international competition in Winterthur, Switzerland.


“We are incredibly excited to host the 2008 Acrobatic Gymnastics National Championships in Des Moines,” said Al Lorenzen, director of sports, Des Moines Area Sports Commission. “We look forward to partnering with USA Gymnastics to make the event a memorable one for everyone involved. We are proud of Des Moines and look forward to performing with the same level of excellence that the competitors will bring to their routines.”


“We are excited to partner with USA Gymnastics and the Des Moines Area Sports Commission to host the 2008 Acrobatic National Championships at Vets Auditorium,” said Global Spectrums Matt Homan, general manager of the Iowa Events Center. “It is an honor to be a part of such a prestigious event, with athletes from across the United States striving to reach their goals in Des Moines.”


At the 2007 Visa Championships, the trio of Mariah Henninger of Walnut Creek, Calif., Ally Kidd of Livermore, Calif., and Tisa Penny of San Leandro, Calif., successfully defended its senior elite women’s group title. Savannah Shields and Mallory Henthorn, both of Blue Springs, Mo., won women’s pair, while in mixed pair, the duo of Andre Solodar of San Jose, Calif., and Xiau-Ling Wee of Monte Sereno, Calif., earned the all-around gold medal.


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.