HARTFORD, Conn., July 29, 2009 – USA Gymnastics has awarded the 2010 Visa Championships to Hartford, Conn., marking the first time the event will take place in Connecticut. Scheduled for Aug. 11-14, the XL Center will host men’s and women’s gymnastics, while the Chase Arena at the University of Hartford will hold rhythmic gymnastics, acrobatic gymnastics, and trampoline and tumbling. The USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show, which is held in conjunction with the Visa Championships, will be staged at the Connecticut Convention Center.

“We are very excited to bring this prestigious event to Hartford and the state of Connecticut for the very first time,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “The Visa Championships showcase the USA’s top gymnasts, and this is the perfect place to see both established stars and rising young talent as they move toward the 2012 Olympic Games in London.”

The Visa Championships determine U.S. champions and the U.S. national team for each gymnastics discipline at the junior and senior elite levels. NBC and Universal Sports will broadcast live action from the men’s and women’s gymnastics events. All-session artistic tickets will go on sale today to the general public via Ticketmaster and participating gym clubs in the Hartford area.

“We are honored the State of Connecticut was selected to host such a popular and exciting sporting event. All eyes will be on our state next August as gymnastics fans of all ages, families and business leaders welcome the 2010 Visa Championships to Hartford,” said Governor M. Jodi Rell. “Today’s announcement is the kind of great news Connecticut families and businesses need at this time.”

The kickoff event took place at the XL Center on July 29.

The roster of former U.S. all-around champions includes many of the best-known and well-loved names in gymnastics including women: – Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson, Carly Patterson, Courtney Kupets, Shannon Miller, Dominique Dawes, Kim Zmeskal and Mary Lou Retton; and men – Paul Hamm, Blaine Wilson, John Roethlisberger, Mitch Gaylord, Peter Vidmar and Bart Conner. The Visa Championships traces its history back to 1897 for the men and 1931 for the women.

The 46th Annual USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show is a three day event open to the entire gymnastics community. Held in conjunction with the Visa Championships, National Congress provides a unique opportunity for presentations, demonstrations and educational seminars on a variety of topics and a large exhibitor’s hall with additional business opportunities.

About the venues
The XL Center, which was built in 1975, will host two days of competition for both men’s and women’s gymnastics. The XL Center is home to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League, and the home away from home for the University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball programs. In addition to the resident teams, the XL Center entertains millions of visitors annually with a variety of concerts, family shows, ice-skating spectaculars, consumer events and trade shows throughout the season. The XL Center has been the proud host of the Big East Conference Women’s Basketball Championship for the past five years and has extended its contract until 2011.

Chase Arena, located at the University of Hartford, will host rhythmic gymnastics, acrobatic gymnastics, and trampoline and tumbling. Chase Arena, which seats 3,500, is part of the Reich Family Pavilion in the University of Hartford’s Sports Center and serves as the home of the university’s basketball teams and other intercollegiate programs, as well as a variety of special events. Located in West Hartford, the university enrolls more than 7,000 students.

The Connecticut Convention Center, which has more than 205,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space, is the site for the USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show. The facility offers an outdoor esplanade overlooking the Connecticut River and is connected to both the Hartford Marriott Downtown and the Connecticut Science Center.