INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., June 29, 2010 – USA Gymnastics today announced the newly created USA Gymnastics Open Championships at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which will feature both individual and club team champions for women’s Levels 4-8, as well as an overall club team champion. The inaugural event is scheduled for June 2-5, 2011, inside the Fieldhouse at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in suburban Orlando, Fla.
“This is a big step forward for our Junior Olympic program,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is the perfect place to host this event. This event is designed to showcase the efforts being made by athletes and coaches every day at the most fundamental levels of the sport.”
“ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is excited to have many of the country’s top Level 4-8 gymnasts compete at our complex and immerse themselves in the one-of-a-kind sports experience that can only be found at Walt Disney World,” said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. “This new gymnastics event adds to the wide variety of quality sports events we host annually for athletes of all ages and skill levels.”
Participation in each Junior Olympic level is determined by skills mastered not by age. Levels 4, 5 and 6 use compulsory routines (every gymnast performs the same routines), while Levels 7 and 8 feature optional routines (each gymnast performs her own unique routine).
Individual and club team champions will be named for each level, and the overall club team champion will be determined at the conclusion of the event.
A National Elite Qualifier also will be held in conjunction with the Open Championships. This will serve as an opportunity for gymnasts to advance from the Junior Olympic Level 10 to elite and/or to qualify for the U.S. Classic and the Visa Championships, the elite level national championships for USA Gymnastics.
More than 66,000 gymnasts compete in the women’s Junior Olympic program, which includes Levels 1-10. The majority of the female gymnasts registered with USA Gymnastics compete in the Junior Olympic program. The Junior Olympic National Championships for Level 10 and an East and West National Championships for Level 9 are held separately.
About ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosts more than 300 events a year, is the leading multi-sport venue for amateur and professional sports in the United States, accommodating 60 different sports and athletes from more than 70 countries. Designed to take youth sports to the next level, the 220-acre facility features: The Fieldhouse, a 165,000-square-foot field house which seats 5,500 for basketball; Champion Stadium ballpark (cap. 11,500); Hess Sports Fields, which include multiple baseball, softball and soccer fields; Jostens Center, an 80,000-square-foot multi-sport fieldhouse; and the Innovation Lab, a real-world testing ground for the ESPN Emerging Technology group to develop ground-breaking on-air products like Ball Track and ESPN Snap Zoom. In addition, the complex features 56 high-definition cameras (42 robotic, 10 handheld and four studio) and 40 high-definition video screens, including three jumbo screens, that can capture and display footage from any event taking place at the complex. The camera and video screens, as well as a 20-zone audio system, are controlled through the state-of-the-art Production Center that features eight edit bays and links to ESPN facilities in Bristol, Conn., New York and Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.wdwnews.com for releases, photos and videos. Follow us on Twitter at @DisneySports.