INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., June 16, 2008 – Legendary gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi, 1984 Olympic champion Mary Lou Retton and 2004 Olympic all-around champion Carly Patterson are among the local and gymnastics celebrities who will participate in the family-friendly activities surrounding the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics, June 19-22 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.
The highlight of the fan activities is the Visa Fan Fest, which will be located outside at the southeast corner of the Wachovia Center near the AT&T Pavilion (click here to see map). The Visa Fan Fest will open two hours prior to each competition session on June 19-22, and it will re-open after each weekend session on June 21-22. Fans can come early to enjoy the excitement of the Visa Fan Fest on Thursday, June 19, and Friday, June 20, from 5-7 p.m.; Saturday, June 21, from 1-3 p.m.; and Sunday, June 22, from 4-6 p.m.
The Visa Fan Fest will have family fun for gymnastics fans of all ages, including appearances by gymnastics legends like Patterson and Retton, autograph sessions, samples and giveaways, interactive games and activities, and food and drinks. Patterson also will perform songs from her album that will be released in August. To attend the Visa Fan Fest, fans must have a ticket to that day’s competition.
Kids can have fun and gain knowledge on the importance of fitness through the interactive Tyson Fitness Challenge Zone, which will be held at the Visa Fan Fest. The course features activity in building strength, flexibility, cardiovascular exercise and good nutrition.
At the Visa Fan Fest on Thursday, June 19, Postal Service Board of Governors member Thurgood Marshall, Jr. and USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny will help the United States Postal Service issue the Olympic Games commemorative stamp bearing a gymnast.
In addition to the Visa Fan Fest, other fun activities include:
- Renaming of Broad St., June 16. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny and legendary gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi will be on hand to rename Broad St. in honor of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics coming to Philadelphia. The ceremony will take place at City Hall at the corner of Broad St. and S. Penn Square.
- Free pretzel giveaway, June 17. Fans will see more twists than a Philly pretzel at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, but first they can enjoy free soft pretzels, live entertainment and gymnastics demonstrations at LOVE Park (JFK Plaza).
- In-house radio show. 2004 Olympic team silver-medalist Brett McClure, 2000 Olympian Steve McCain and Shannon Miller, the USA’s most decorated gymnast with 16 Olympic and World medals to her credit, will provide commentary on the competition on WGYM, USA Gymnastics’ in-arena radio show. Receivers for the radio program are sold along with an event program onsite.
Tickets are still available for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics, and may be purchased online at ComcastTIX.com, by phone at 1-800-298-4200, or at the Wachovia Center Box Office. Visa is the only card accepted for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics.
The U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics begins on June 19 at 7 p.m. with the first day of the men’s competition, followed by the women on June 20 at 7 p.m. Competition for the men concludes on June 21 at 3 p.m., and the women wrap up on June 22 at 6 p.m.
Past sites for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for gymnastics are: 2004, Anaheim, Calif.; 1996 and 2000, Boston; 1992, Baltimore, Md.; 1988, Salt Lake City, Utah; and 1980 and 1984, Jacksonville, Fla.
The U.S. Olympic Team Trials for all sports is a collaborative, three-way partnership between the U.S. Olympic Committee, the national governing bodies and the local organizing committees.
About the Wachovia Center
The Wachovia Center, one of the nation’s most premier facilities, has already hosted the l996 World Cup of Hockey, the l997 Stanley Cup Finals, the 1998 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, l999 American Hockey League All-Star Game, the 2000 NCAA Women’s Final Four, the 2000 Republican National Convention, the 2001 NBA Finals, the 2001 NCAA Men’s East Regionals, the 2002 X Games, the 2002 NBA All-Star Game and the 2006 NCAA Men’s First and Second Round Games.
About Comcast-Spectacor Comcast-Spectacor (comcast-spectacor.com) is the Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment company which owns the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL), the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), the Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL), the two arenas in which their teams play, the Wachovia Center and Wachovia Spectrum, four Flyers Skate Zone community ice skating and hockey rinks and Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. In addition, Comcast-Spectacor is also the principal owner of Global Spectrum, the fastest growing firm in the public assembly management field with more than 70 facilities throughout the United States and Canada; Ovations Food Services, a food and beverage service provider; New Era Tickets, a ticketing and marketing company for public assembly facilities; Front Row Marketing Services, a commercial rights sales company; and 3601 Creative Group, a full-service in-house advertising agency. In a partnership with Disson Skating, Comcast-Spectacor annually produces 10 nationally televised figure skating spectaculars on NBC.
About the Philadelphia Sports Congress
The Philadelphia Sports Congress (PSC), a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, www.PhiladelphiaUSA.travel seeks to attract major sporting events and conventions to the Philadelphia area. The Sports Congress, working in conjunction with the City of Philadelphia, the city’s professional teams and universities, has attracted many events to the city and is currently working on bids for future sporting events. The Philadelphia Sports Congress operates the Army/Navy Game on behalf of the City of Philadelphia.
About USA Gymnastics
Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. Its mission is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in the sport. Its disciplines include men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, and acrobatic gymnastics.