© John Cheng

HARTFORD, Conn., Aug. 13, 2010 – Jonathan Horton of Houston, who won his second consecutive U.S. national all-around title at the Visa Championships in Hartford, Conn., took top billing in the newly created Champions Challenge, a $50,000 prize pool sponsored by International Gymnastics Camp for senior men’s gymnastics at the 2010 Visa Championships. Ten men earned prize money for all-around and event results.

Horton, who trains at Cypress Academy, won a total of $17, 500 for his results in the all-around, still rings, floor exercise, and vault.

“I have to say thank you so much to IGC and Bruno Klaus,” said Horton. “This is one of the greatest things anyone has ever done for men’s gymnastics. To donate that kind of money and give it to the athletes who aren’t in school and live on their own like me (I’m married), Danell and Chris. We support ourselves right now so to have somebody donate that and support men’s gymnastics is one of the kindest things.”

Danell Leyva of Miami/Universal Gymnastics, and Chris Brooks of Houston/University of Oklahoma, were the next top earners, collecting $9,500 and $7,500, respectively.

“I don’t do it for the money…but I am extremely grateful for the amazing donation that they did for us,” said Leyva.

“It’s awesome just knowing that there’s somebody out there who appreciates what we do and is supporting what we’re trying to do,” said Brooks.

Other prize winners include: Jesse Silverstein of Spring Valley, N.Y./U.S. Gymnastics Development Center II; Andrew Elkind of Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Olympic Training Center; Wesley Haagensen of Colorado Springs, Colo./USOTC; Alexy Bilozertchev of Colorado Springs, Colo./USOTC; Mel Anton Santander of Southborough, Mass./University of Michigan; Kyson Bunthuwong of El Cerrito, Calif./Golden Bear Gymnastics; and Edward Mesa of Cooper City, Fla./Universal Gymnastics.

The Champions Challenge is designed to meet the ever-increasing demands of training for men’s gymnastics at the elite level, because many of the country’s top athletes are no longer in school and under NCAA regulation. They are working to support themselves while competing to represent the United States on the international stage. The $50,000 Champions Challenge has been established to enhance their athlete funding and assist them in covering the costs of their year-round training regimen.

The prize pool awarded $35,000 for gymnasts who ranked in the top 10 in the all-around, with the champion receiving $10,000. The highest-ranking eligible gymnast for individual event received $2,500. The complete prize list breakdown is listed below.

About IGC
International Gymnastics Camp combines premier gymnastics training and exceptional recreation activities to create the ultimate summer gymnastics camp experience. IGC campers range in age from 7 to 17 and from beginner to advanced gymnasts. Its gymnastics camp program and recreational activities, such as Scary Aerie ropes and climbing course and Recreation Challenge Area, allow campers to gain self-confidence and build self-esteem. IGC creates opportunities for campers to feel positive about themselves and their accomplishments both inside and outside of the gym. It has a 100-acre facility created exclusively for gymnasts; five state-of-the-art, air-conditioned gyms; and a professional, knowledgeable and caring staff with a 1 to 3 overall staff ratio and a 1 to 8 coaching ratio, plus two counselors living in every cabin.

2010 Champions Challenge
Sponsored by International Gymnastics Camp
$50,000 Prize Pool

Winners list

1. $10,000 – Jonathan Horton
2. $7,000 – Danell Leyva
3. $5,000 – Chris Brooks
4. $3,500 – Jesse Silverstein
5. $3,000 – Andrew Elkind
6. $2,000 – Wes Haagensen
7. $1,500 – Alexy Bilozertchev
8. $1,000 – Mel Anton Santander
9. $1,000 – Kyson Bunthuwong
10. $1,000 – Edward Mesa

Individual Events
FX – $2,500 – Jonathan Horton
PH – $2,500 – Mel Anton Santander
SR – $2,500 – Jonathan Horton
VT – $2,500 – Jonathan Horton
PB – $2,500 – Danell Leyva
HB – $2,500 – Chris Brooks

Top Winners
Horton: $17,500
Leyva: $9,500
Brooks: $7,500