McClure, Young Complete U.S. Roster

Indianapolis – The roster is complete for the 2003 VISA American Cup following the announcement of an impressive international lineup that includes World and Olympic Champion Elena Zamolodchikova and six-time World Championships medalist Jordan Jovtchev.

“USA Gymnastics is very pleased to have such a strong international field at the VISA American Cup,” said USA Gymnastics President Bob Colarossi. “This will give our top athletes a solid challenge to gauge their progress as we prepare for the 2003 World Championships in Anaheim.”
The 2003 VISA American Cup, one of the most prestigious international competitions on the gymnastics calendar, is scheduled for March 1 at the Patriot Center on the campus of George Mason University. This world-class event, held for the sixth time in Fairfax, Va., is the first stop on the road to the 2003 World Championships in Anaheim and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
The VISA American Cup competition features America’s rising stars challenged by the world’s best for the coveted all-around title, and a total prize purse of $45,000. Each male and female all-around champion will win $10,000.


Topping the list of female competitors is Elena Zamolodchikova, 19, of Russia, a double Olympic gold medalist on vault and floor in Sydney. Zamolodchikova also won gold on the vault at the 2002 World Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, and captured the vault title, placed second in beam, fourth on the uneven bars, and fifth in the floor exercise at the World Cup Final in Stuttgart, Nov. 30-Dec. 1.
Romania is represented by 2002 senior national all-around champion Florica Leonida. Leonida, 16, competed at the junior level for most of 2002, finishing first on the beam, and second in the all-around, team and floor events at the 2002 Romanian junior national championships. She also won the silver medal in the all-around at the 2002 European Junior Championships.

Elizabeth Tweddle
achieved more in 2002 than any female gymnast in British history. The 17-year-old from Liverpool won Great Britain’s first European Championships medal ever – a bronze on the uneven bars. She later won gold on the uneven bars at the Commonwealth Games, and finished fourth on the apparatus at the 2002 World Championships.
Canada’s Heather Purnell, 16, finished second in the all-around at the 2002 Canadian national championships before moving on to take fifth in the Commonwealth Games. Most recently, she finished first in the all-around and vault, plus third on the beam, fifth on the bars and seventh on the floor at the Elite Canada meet.


On the men’s side, Bulgaria’s Jovtchev also enjoyed a strong showing at the 2002 World Championships. Jovtchev, who turns 30 on Feb. 24, finished second on the rings and third on the floor in Debrecen, plus took first on the rings and third on the floor at the World Cup Final. Jovtchev earned bronze medals on the floor and rings at the 2000 Olympic Games, and has won a total of six World Championships medals, having competed in all 10 World Championships since 1991.
Romania’s Dan Potra, 24, is a formidable opponent having captured gold in the all-around at the 2002 European Championships, and fourth in the all-around at the 2001 World Championships.

Dzianis Savenkou
, 19, is an up-and-comer who helped Belarus to team gold at the 2001 World Championships in Ghent. Savenkou also finished fourth on the floor and fifth on the pommel horse at the 2002 European Championships. Finally, Japan’s Hiroyuki Tomita, 22, finished fourth on the rings at the 2002 World Championships, fourth in the all-around at the 2002 Asian Games, and first in the all-around at the 2002 Chunichi Cup.

U.S. Roster Update

Completing the U.S. line-up is Brett McClure of Mill Creek, Wash. (Team Chevron-USOTC). McClure, who turns 22 on Feb. 19, earned his spot on the team by winning the all-around title at the 2003 Men’s Winter Cup Challenge on Feb. 7 in Las Vegas. McClure is a two-time World Championships team member.

Guard Young
of Norman, Okla. (Team Chevron-Oklahoma) is the final addition to the men’s roster. Young, 25, also a two-time World Championships team member, finished third in the all-around at the 2002 U.S. National Championships. Young replaces Paul Hamm, who withdrew on Thursday due to a minor shoulder injury. Though x-rays indicated no serious damage, Hamm’s withdrawal is a precautionary measure.
Anchoring the U.S. men’s squad is Blaine Wilson, the 2001 VISA American Cup all-around champion and rings and high bar gold medalist at the 2002 U.S. National Championships, and Sean Townsend, the 2001 parallel bars World Champion and 2002 parallel bars National Champion.
The U.S. women’s line-up features Ashley Postell, who took gold on the balance beam at the 2002 World Championships; Courtney Kupets, a 2002 World Championships gold medalist on the uneven bars; two-time U.S. national champion and defending VISA American Cup champion Tasha Schwikert; and Carly Patterson, the reigning U.S. Junior National all-around gold medalist.

The 2003 Visa American Cup will be televised live on NBC Sports from 4-6 p.m. March 1. Tickets are on sale now through, (202) 432-SEAT (D.C., Md.), (703) 573-SEAT (Va.), the Patriot Center Box Office or participating gymnastics clubs listed at

2003 VISA American Cup Rosters

  • Courtney Kupets, 16, Gaithersburg, Md./Hill’s Gymnastics
  • Carly Patterson, 15, Allen, Texas/World Olympic Gym. Acad.
  • Ashley Postell, 16, Mitchellville, Md./Capital Gymnastics NTC
  • Tasha Schwikert, 18, Las Vegas, Nev./Gym Cats
  • Florica Leonida, 16, Romania
  • Heather Purnell, 16, Metcalfe, Ontario, Canada
  • Elizabeth Tweddle, 17, Liverpool, England
  • Elena Zamolodchikova, 19, Moscow, Russia
  • Brett McClure, 21, Mill Creek, Wash./ Team Chevron-USOTC
  • Sean Townsend, 24, Houston, Texas/Team Chevron-HGA
  • Blaine Wilson, 28, Columbus, Ohio/Team Chevron-OSU
  • Guard Young, 25, Norman, Okla./ Team Chevron-OU
  • Jordan Jovtchev, 29, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
  • Dan Potra, 24, Timisoara, Romania
  • Dzianis Savenkou, 19, Gomel, Belarus
  • Hiroyuki Tomita, 24, Chiba, Japan