Paul Hamm and Courtney Kupets Earn Silver


Orlando – Eric Lopez (CUB) earned his second Visa American Cup title today at Orlando’s T.D. Waterhouse Centre with a score of 56.375, while U.S. National Champion Tasha Schwikert claimed her first championship with 36.899.

“I feel very happy about this title since it’s the second time I’ve won the championship,” said Lopez.
“I’m happy I won and everything, but this is definitely a great lesson for me,” said Schwikert, who slipped on floor exercise. “It encourages me to go back to the gym and work harder to get in shape for Championships and Worlds.”
Earning all-around silver medals were 2001 World Championships Silver Medalist Paul Hamm with 56.000 and U.S. national team member Courtney Kupets with 36.805. Hiroyuki Tomita (JPN) and Verona Van De Leur (NED) placed third with 55.800 and 36.786, respectively.
“I’m very happy with my performance today,” said Hamm. “Small mistakes cost me the championship, but I did better in some events than I thought I would. The success of the United States at the World Championships motivated me to do well.”
“I had so much fun competing today and it was an awesome learning experience,” said Kupets.
The 2002 Visa American Cup field was one of the most impressive ever established, with over forty Olympic and World Championship medals earned among the group. Following was the complete roster of athletes:


Sean Townsend (USA)- 2001 World Championships Gold and Silver Medalist, 2000 Olympian
Paul Hamm (USA)- 2001 World Championships Silver Medalist, 2000 Olympian
Alexei Nemov (RUS)- 2000 Olympic Games All-Around Gold Medalist, twelve total Olympic medals earned throughout career (four gold)
Jordan Jovtchev (BUL)- 2000 Olympic Games Double Bronze Medalist, 2001 World Championships Double Gold Medalist and All-Around Bronze Medalist
Alexander Beresh (UKR)- 2000 Olympic Games All-Around Bronze Medalist, 2001 World Championships Silver and Bronze Medalist
Eric Lopez (CUB)- 2001 World Championships Silver Medalist, Three-time Pan American Games All-Around Champion, 2000 Visa American Cup Champion
Yann Cucherat (FRA)- 2001 World Championships and 2000 Olympic Games Team Member
Hiroyuki Tomita (JPN)- 2001 World University Games Gold and Silver Medalist


Tasha Schwikert (USA)- 2001 World Championships Bronze Medalist, 2000 Olympian
Tabitha Yim (USA)- 2001 National Runner-up, 2001 World Championships Bronze Medalist
Courtney Kupets (USA)- USA National Team Member
Oksana Chusovitina (UZB)- 2000, 1996, and 1992 Olympian (Gold Medalist in 1992), 2001 World Championships Silver Medalist
Danielle Hypolito (BRA)- 2001 World Championships Silver Medalist
Verona Van De Leur (NED)- 2001 World Championships Team Member (9th place all-around)
Tatiana Yarosh (UKR)- 2001 World Championships Team Member and 2000 Olympian
Lisa Bruggemann (GER)- 2001 and 1999 World Championships Team Member
The Visa American Cup awarded $70,000 in total prize money, making it one of the wealthiest and most respected international gymnastics competitions in the world. First place finishers for both men and women earn $15,000 followed by $10,000 and $5,000 for second and third place, respectively. Each individual event winner claims $1,000 per event.
The event, which began in 1976 to celebrate the United States Bicentennial, has a rich history that includes the world’s greatest gymnasts among its champions. Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci were crowned champions in the inaugural year and other past champions include Mary Lou Retton, Kurt Thomas, Peter Vidmar, Shannon Miller, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug and Blaine Wilson.