Indianapolis – Two positions on the 2003 U.S. National Team are up for grabs when the nation’s top men’s gymnasts gather in Las Vegas for the 2003 Men’s Winter Cup Challenge, Feb. 7-8 at the Sports Center.

"The Men’s Winter Cup Challenge is a very important opportunity for the U.S. men’s program," said Ron Galimore, USA Gymnastics Senior Director for Men’s Programs. "The Winter Cup is the first competition for the top athletes to show their intentions to make the teams headed for the 2003 World Championships in Anaheim and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens."

Two gymnasts will be named to the 2003 U.S. National Team based on Friday’s all-around standings, and will become eligible to represent the United States in international competitions leading up to the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, June 19-22 in Milwaukee.

The Winter Cup Challenge also serves as the final evaluation for athletes seeking to represent the United States at the 2003 VISA American Cup, March 1 in Fairfax, Va. Three of four U.S. athletes – two-time Olympian Blaine Wilson, 2001 Parallel Bars World Champion Sean Townsend, and 2002 U.S. National Champion Paul Hamm – have already been named to the VISA American Cup squad.

(Columbus, Ohio/Team Chevron-Ohio State) and Townsend (Dallas/Team Chevron-HGA) will compete in the Cup, along with 2002 World Championships Team member Brett McClure (Mill Creek, Wash./Team Chevron-USOTC), 2000 Olympian Steve McCain (Houston/Team Chevron-USOTC), 2002 NCAA all-around champion Raj Bhavsar (Houston/Ohio State), and 2002 U.S. Championships junior all-around champion Sho Nakamori (Albany, Calif./USOTC), among others.

Following is the schedule of events:

Friday, Feb. 7 All-Around session I competition 3 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 7 All-Around session II competition 8 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 8 Individual Event Finals 7:30 p.m.

The Sports Center is located at 121 E. Sunset in Las Vegas. Tickets are available at the Sports Center beginning Thursday, Feb. 6.