INDIANAPOLIS – Olympic silver medalist Jason Gatson and 2001 World Champion Sean Townsend highlight the list of U.S. men’s participants headed for the 2005 American Cup at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum at 2:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 26.
The men’s roster, announced following the 2005 Winter Cup in Las Vegas on Saturday, also includes Alexander Artemev, David Sender, Eric LaMorte and Justin Spring.
“The U.S. men’s line-up includes a good mix of veteran guys and newcomers whom we expect great things from over the next few years,” said USA Gymnastics President Bob Colarossi. “The American Cup field is shaping up to be an outstanding international competition that will really identify some of the names to watch during the upcoming Olympic quadrennium.”
Gatson (Upland, Calif./USOTC) was a part of both the 2003 World Championships and 2004 Olympic Games silver medal-winning U.S. teams. Townsend (Dallas/HGA) competed for the silver medal-winning U.S. team at the 2001 World Championships, and also won a world title on parallel bars. Artemev (Lakewood, Colo.) finished fifth all-around at the Athens Olympic Test Event and won the parallel bars title at the 2004 Visa Championships.
Sender (Chicago/Stanford) helped the U.S. to a team bronze medal at the 2003 Pan Am Games and won the vault title at the 2004 Visa Championships. LaMorte (Ronkonkoma, N.Y./Eastern Gymnastics Center) will be making his U.S. National Team debut at the American Cup, though his brother, Chris, competed for the U.S. at the 1998 Goodwill Games on Long Island. Spring (Burke, Va./Illinois), originally from Houston, is a former U.S. Junior champion, was the 2004 NCAA Champion on high bar and won gold on high bar at the 2005 Winter Cup.
The United States committed the talented women’s squad of Mohini Bhardwaj (Cincinnati/Colorado Aerials), Chellsie Memmel (West Allis, Wis./M&M), Alicia Sacramone (Winchester, Mass./Brestyan’s) and Nastia Liukin (Plano, Texas/WOGA). The women’s roster will be confirmed following a verification of readiness at the women’s team training camp prior to the American Cup.
Several international stars made their intentions to compete known in January. Among them, Olympic all-around fifth-place finisher Rafael Martinez of Spain, five-time World Cup rings gold medalist Yuri Van Gelder of the Netherlands, nine-time World Cup parallel bars gold medalist Mitja Petkovsek of Slovenia, World Cup Final floor bronze medalist Robert Gal and two-time pommel horse World Cup gold medalist Krisztian Berki of Hungary, five-time World Cup floor gold medalist Diego Hypolito of Brazil, and Olympic team gold medalist Hisashi Mizutori of Japan.
Among the international women planning to participate are Olympic all-around bronze medalist Zhang Nan and Olympian Cheng Fei of China, Brazilian Olympian and nine-time World Cup medalist Daniele Hypolito, and her teammate, World Champion and World Cup Final champion on floor Daiane dos Santos, Olympic floor bronze medalist Patricia Moreno of Spain, and World Cup floor gold medalist Suzanne Harmes of the Netherlands.
Tickets for the American Cup on Feb. 26 range from $15-75 and are on sale now through www.ticketmaster.com, by calling (631) 888-9000 or (212) 307-7171, by visiting the Nassau Coliseum box office, or through local gymnastics clubs listed at | TICKETS |. Spectators holding a ticket for the Feb. 26 American Cup will be admitted to the event prelims on Feb. 25.
The new American Cup format, which features individual event finals only, allows athletes placing among the top eight on each apparatus to earn World Cup points toward qualification to the bi-annual World Cup Final. Also at stake in the 30th American Cup is approximately $46,000 in prize money.
From 1976 through 2004, the American Cup served as the most prestigious international all-around competition on the gymnastics calendar. The event launched the international careers of many world-class competitors, such as Bart Conner, Kurt Thomas, Mary Lou Retton, Peter Vidmar, Shannon Miller, Blaine Wilson, Kerri Strug and Carly Patterson.
The 2005 American Cup will be televised live on NBC Sports from 4-6 p.m. on Feb. 26.