Seven world medalists, six Olympians from 14 countries set to join U.S. athletes

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., Jan. 31, 2007 — 2006 all-around and vault world bronze-medalist Fabian Hambuechen of Germany highlights the international field of world-class gymnasts who have accepted invitations to compete in the 2007 Tyson American Cup at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla.  2006 women’s team world gold-medalist Zhou Zhuoru of China is also on this year’s international roster that includes six 2006 world medalists and six 2004 Olympians.

In addition to Hambuechen and Zhou, the other 2006 world medalists are:  Canada — Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, balance beam bronze medalist; Japan — Takuya Nakase, men’s team bronze medalist; Russia – Maxim Devyatovsky, men’s team silver-medalist, and Kristina Pravdina, women’s team bronze medalist. The 2004 Olympians in the field are Canada’s Adam Wong, France’s Dimitri Karbanenko, Japan’s Kyoko Oshima, Puerto Rico’s Luis Vargas, Devyatovsky and Hambuechen. Karbanenko is a two-time Olympian (2000, 2004) and two-time world silver medalist (1994, 1997).

“This is truly a world-class lineup for the Tyson American Cup,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “This competition will be an outstanding test for all of the participating athletes, who hail from some of the top gymnastics countries in the world.  It promises to be an exciting competition for both the men and women.”

These athletes join the USA’s Jana Bieger of Coconut Creek, Fla., and Alexander Artemev of Morrison, Colo., who are the U.S. gymnasts who have already been invited to compete at the Tyson American Cup. Bieger won silver medals at the 2006 World Championships in the team, all-around and floor exercise events, the most by any U.S. athlete. Artemev placed third in the pommel horse at the 2006 World Championships, becoming the first U.S. gymnast to earn a world pommel horse medal since 1979. The United States will enter a total of eight athletes, four men and four women. The remainder of the U.S. athletes will be named closer to the event.

Representing 14 countries, this year’s international field includes the following:

Daria Joura, Australia
Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, Canada
Zhou Zhuoru, China
Natalia Sanchez, Colombia
Marie-Sophie Hindermann, Germany
Kyoko Oshima, Japan
Elsa Garcia, Mexico
Andreea Grigore, Romania
Kristina Pravdina, Russia
Danielle Englert, Switzerland
Dariya Zgoba, Ukraine
Dimitri Savitski, Belarus
Adam Wong, Canada
Lu Bo, China
Dimitri Karbanenko, France
Fabian Hambuechen, Germany
Takuya Nakase, Japan
Daniel Corral, Mexico
Luis Vargas, Puerto Rico
Flavius Koczi, Romania
Maxim Devyatovsky, Russia
Eight gymnasts are making at least their second appearance in this prestigious event: China’s Lu Bo and Zhou; Japan’s Kyoko Oshima; Mexico’s Elsa Garcia; Vargas; Hopfner-Hibbs; Hambuechen; and Karbanenko.
On sale now, tickets are $50, $35 and $19.50 and are subject to applicable fees. Tickets may be purchased through Ticketmaster and its outlets; by phone at (904) 353-3309; online at; at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena box office; or through participating gymnastics clubs in the Jacksonville area. The Tyson American Cup held on March 3 at 11:30 a.m. will feature the all-around format, with eight men and eight women in the finals.
In addition to his world bronze medals in 2006, Hambuechen won the floor exercise at the World Cup in Stuttgart, Germany, placed second on the horizontal bar at the World Cup in Cottbus, Germany, and finished fifth at the Tyson American Cup. In 2005, he won the high bar at the European Championships. A 2004 Olympian, his highest finish at the Olympic Games was seventh on the high bar. Hambuechen returns to compete in his third straight Tyson American Cup.
Zhou claimed a team gold medal and placed12th in the all-around at the 2006 World Championships. She won the all-around title at the 2006 Asian Championships, where China also won the team title.  At the 2006 Asian Games, Zhou was second in the all-around and was a member of the Chinese women’s team that placed first. In 2005, she won the uneven bars title at the World Cup in Stuttgart, Germany, and was second on the balance beam at the World Cup in Glasgow, Scotland. 
At the 2006 World Championships, Devyatovsky finished second in the team competition as a member of the Russian men’s team and placed fifth in the all-around.  The Russian team won the team title at the 2006 European Championships.  Nakase was a member of the Japanese men’s team that earned the bronze medal at the 2006 World Championships, where he finished sixth in the all-around.  He was third in the all-around at the 2006 NHK Cup.