INDIANAPOLIS – Six positions on the 2004 U.S. National Team are up for grabs when the nation’s top men’s gymnasts gather in Las Vegas for the 2004 Men’s Winter Cup Challenge, Feb. 6-7 at the Sports Center.

"The Men’s Winter Cup Challenge is the first step toward making the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team," said Ron Galimore, USA Gymnastics Men’s Program Senior Director. "The Winter Cup is the first competition of the year for the top athletes and up-and-comers to show their physical preparedness, and to demonstrate their desire to represent the United States in 2004. It’s a highly competitive, elite caliber event."

Six gymnasts will be named to the 2004 U.S. National Team based on Friday’s all-around sessions, and will become eligible to represent the United States in international competitions leading up to the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, June 2-5 in Nashville.

The Winter Cup Challenge also serves as the warm-up event for the four athletes – Jason Gatson, Morgan Hamm, Paul Hamm and Blaine Wilson – scheduled to represent the United States at the 2004 VISA American Cup, Feb. 28 in New York.

The men’s program is riding high following one of the USA’s most successful seasons. Paul Hamm won the United States’ first-ever men’s all-around gold medal at the 2003 World Championships, plus a floor exercise gold. The men’s team also captured its second consecutive team silver, highlighted by Jason Gatson’s eighth-place all-around finish, and event finals appearances by Gatson and Wilson.

Following is the Winter Cup Schedule of events:
Friday, Feb. 6 All-Around session I competition 3:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 6 All-Around session II competition 8 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 7 Individual Event Finals 8 p.m.

The Sports Center is located at 121 E. Sunset in Las Vegas. Tickets are available at the Sports Center beginning Thursday, Feb. 5.