© John Cheng / Diane Bidermann

ST. LOUIS, Mo., May 16, 2012 – Fans and St. Louis citizens will have lots of fun opportunities as part of the ancillary activities planned in conjunction with the 2012 Visa Championships, scheduled for June 7-10 at Saint Louis University’s Chaifetz Arena. The opportunities range from morning fitness activities at the St. Louis Arch to the Visa Fan Fest, held next to Chaifetz Arena. The Visa Championships and its accompanying events will kick-off on June 7.

"During the four days of the Visa Championships, not only will spectators be treated to world-class gymnastics, but spectators and fans alike can enjoy a spectrum of fun activities," said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. "The opportunities range from morning fitness to a world record attempt to the popular Visa Fan Fest. There is something for everyone."

The following is a quick overview of the fan activities available during the Visa Championships.

  • Opening Ceremony/World Record Attempt. Gymnastics enthusiasts and the general public are invited to the open ceremony on Thursday, June 7, at 11:30 a.m. outside Chaifetz Arena. Included in the opening ceremony will be setting a world record for the longest balance beam. More information will be available in the coming weeks.

  • Morning fitness. Downtown workers and fans can start the day off right. From Thursday, June 7, through Saturday, June 9, with a 60-minute workout at the Arch. Each day will have a different workout: June 7, yoga, 6:30 a.m.; June 8, Zumba, 7:30 a.m.; and June 9, boot camp, 8:30 a.m.

  • Painting at Chaifetz. Gymnastics fans and citizens of St. Louis can help create an original painting that will become a part of the history of the 2012 Visa Championships. Interested individuals will have the opportunity to dip their hands and/or feet into paint and do handstands, cartwheels or walk across the canvas, developing a communal piece of art. Painting at Chaifetz will be available during the Visa Fan Fest. Those expected to participate include gymnasts competing in the event, local and gymnastics celebrities and dignitaries, gymnastics fans, aspiring gymnasts and residents of St. Louis. The finished canvas will be featured during the final session of the Visa Championships, and pieces of the canvas will be presented as special gifts to selected organizations and individuals affiliated with the event. Painting at Chaifetz is presented by Art of the Olympians, founded by Cathy Oerter and her late husband, Al, who was a four-time Olympic discus champion. Works of Al Oerter provide the background in the signage and visual imagery for the 2012 Visa Championships.

  • USA Gymnastics Fitness Zone. Kids can have fun and gain knowledge about the importance of fitness through the interactive USA Gymnastics Fitness Zone. The zone features activities in building strength, flexibility and cardiovascular exercise. The Fitness Zone will be featured on the concourse at the Chaifetz Arena and the Visa Fan Fest.

  • Visa Fan Fest. Fans can gather for fun between the gymnastics sessions on June 8-10 and post-competition on June 10. The Visa Fan Fest will be a great place to mingle and enjoy music, autographs, food, Painting at Chaifetz, the USA Gymnastics Fitness Zone and other fun activities, as well as buy merchandise.

  • WGYM. Two-time Olympic gold-medalist Shannon Miller and 2007 U.S. all-around champion David Durante will host WGYM, the in-house radio broadcast for men’s and women’s gymnastics. WGYM provides running commentary on the competition, as well as fun facts about the sport and the competitors. Radios will be available at Chaifetz.

  • Merchandise. Fans can purchase everything gymnastics from event-specific tees to the newest adidas leotards at both Chaifetz and the Visa Fan Fest. USA Gymnastics is proud to accept only Visa, along with cash.

Also, it will be easier than ever to follow the competition and fan events online. Schedules and general information for both fan and competition activities, start lists, live scoring and more will be available at www.usagym.org/visa, which is easily viewable on smart phones and other digital devices.

The 2012 Visa Championships, USA Gymnastics’ national championships, features the country’s best gymnasts vying for national titles and spots on the U.S. National Team in men’s and women’s gymnastics, as well as a chance to advance to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, June 28 – July 1, in San Jose, Calif.

Single-session tickets range in price from $20-$99.50, including facility fees. Ticket prices vary according to seat location and session. In addition, the multi-session tickets (men’s package that features both days of competition; all-day women’s package that features both junior and senior sessions for day one; and a women’s finals package that features the final day of competition for both junior and senior women) and all-session ticket packages are still available. Multi-session ticket packages for men’s and women’s gymnastics range from $60 to $125, and all-session ticket packages go from $105 to $325.

All tickets may be purchased by phone at 314-534-1111 or 800-293-5949; online at www.thechaifetzarena.com; or at the Chaifetz Arena Box Office. Group discounts are available by calling 314-977-5008. In recognition of Visa’s sponsorship of USA Gymnastics, USA Gymnastics is proud to accept only Visa at the 2012 Visa Championships, along with cash.

The competition schedule for the 2012 Visa Championships is below. All times are central.

    Thursday, June 7

    • 1 p.m. – Junior Men Competition – Day 1 – Order Tickets
    • 6:30 p.m. – Senior Men’s Competition – Day 1 – Order Tickets

    Friday, June 8

    • 1 p.m. – Junior Women’s Competition – Day 1 – Order Tickets
    • 6:30 p.m. – Senior Women’s Competition – Day 1 – Order Tickets

    Saturday, June 9

    • 11:30 a.m. – Senior Men’s Competition – Final Day – Order Tickets
    • 6:00 p.m. – Junior Men’s Competition – Final Day – Order Tickets

    Sunday, June 10

    • 10 a.m. – Junior Women’s Competition – Final Day – Order Tickets
    • 2:30 p.m. – Senior Women’s Competition – Final Day – Order Tickets

The Visa Championships determine the U.S. champions and the national team for both the junior and senior elite levels for men’s and women’s gymnastics. NBC Sports and Universal Sports will broadcast and webcast the action from St. Louis.

Carly Patterson visited North Kirkwood Middle School this week to promote the 2012 Visa Championships.

Background information

  • Chaifetz Arena at Saint Louis University. Chaifetz Arena (TheChaifetzArena.com) is a 10,600-seat multipurpose venue on the campus of Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Mo. Chaifetz Arena is the home to the Saint Louis University Billikens Men’s and Women’s Basketball and 150 concerts, family shows and special events per year. The $81-million arena opened in April 2008 and features a 20,000 square foot event floor, 14 suites, two party decks, two multi-purpose rooms, and a 4,700 square foot club on the event floor. Global Spectrum (global-spectrum.com) manages Chaifetz Arena, as well as more than 100 other public assembly facilities around the world. Nearly 20-million people attended more than 11,000 events in Global Spectrum venues last year. Based in Philadelphia, Pa., Global Spectrum is part of Comcast-Spectacor, one of the world’s largest sports and entertainment companies. Comcast-Spectacor also owns the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, Ovations Food Services, a food and beverage services provider, New Era Tickets, a full-service ticketing and marketing product for public assembly facilities, Paciolan, the leading provider of venue establishment ticketing, fundraising and marketing technology solutions, Front Row Marketing Services, a commercial rights sales company, and Flyers Skate Zone, a series of community ice skating rinks.

  • St. Louis Sports Commission. The St. Louis Sports Commission is the privately funded nonprofit organization that makes St. Louis a better place to live, visit, work and play through sports. Its efforts focus on attracting, creating and managing major sporting events for the St. Louis region – and contributing to its quality of life. Since its inception in 1989, the organization has produced a diverse lineup of high-profile events that excite area sports fans, generate revenue for the region and garner positive exposure for St. Louis. The Sports Commission hosted the Visa Championships in 2000 and has played integral roles in other recent Olympic events staged in St. Louis. A catalyst for civic benefit, economic development and charitable good, the Sports Commission has been recognized as a leader in its industry and its community.