USA Gymnastics awards Visa Championships to St. Paul, San Jose
posted on 07/19/2005

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., July 19, 2005 – USA Gymnastics has awarded the Visa Championships, the national governing body's premier annual championship, to St. Paul, Minn., and San Jose, Calif., in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Both events will have coverage on NBC Sports.

The Visa Championships determines the national champion for men's and women's artistic championships and rhythmic gymnastics each year. For 2006, the Visa Championships, which showcases men's and women's artistic gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics, are scheduled for Aug. 16-19 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. For 2007, the three-day event is set for Aug. 16-18 at the HP Pavilion. The 2007 Visa Championships in San Jose is currently scheduled to feature women's and rhythmic gymnastics; details on the men's competition will be determined at a later date. In addition, the annual National Congress and Trade Show for USA Gymnastics is held in conjunction with the Visa Championships.

"USA Gymnastics is excited to have two such great cities and partners for our most prestigious domestic event," said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. "The Visa Championships showcase the USA's best gymnasts, on both the junior and senior levels, and it is the perfect chance for fans to see first hand the next gymnastics stars in action as they prepare for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing."

"Visa's support of USA Gymnastics and the Visa Championships continues to be a cornerstone of our ongoing commitment to America's Olympic athletes," said Michael Lynch, senior vice president, Visa USA. "The journey for America's summer Olympic hopefuls begins long before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and the Visa Championships are a vital step towards helping our current and future athletes achieve their dreams."

The Visa Championships traces its history back to 1897 for the men and 1931 for the women. Since 1963, this will be only the second time the championships have been held in the Twin Cities area and in the state. Minneapolis was the site of the 1989 competition. In contrast, California has played host to the national event for men, women or both together a total of six times, with the last in 1999 in Sacramento. "We are very excited to bring the premier national gymnastics competition to the city of St. Paul," said Xcel Energy Center Vice President and General Manager Jack Larson. "We continually strive to bring high-profile events like the Visa Championships to our city, and the commitment of our staff, the convention and visitor's bureau, city of St. Paul and the local gymnastics community has made this a reality."

Dean Munro, executive director of the San Jose Sports Authority, said, "This is great news for the city and the Sports Authority. This event is one of the premier championships in the Olympic family of events and hosting it is a first for San Jose. Jim Goddard of HP Pavilion deserves the city's gratitude for his efforts and a special thanks to Dan Fenton of Team San Jose for his support."



The five-year-old Xcel Energy Center and the St. Paul Convention and Visitor's Bureau have been very successful in a short period of time at bringing high-profile events, such as the Visa Championships, to the Twin Cities community. Since opening in September 2000 with the first-ever Minnesota Wild hockey game, the Xcel Energy Center has hosted the 2002 NCAA Frozen Four, 2001-05 WCHA Final Five Hockey Tournaments, 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 2003-04 TJ Maxx Tour of Gymnastics Champions, 2004 Campbell's International Figure Skating Classic and 2004 NHL All-Star Game.

he San Jose Sports Authority is the sports marketing agency for the City of San Jose. Since its inception in 1991 the organization has brought 150 events to the City including six NCAA Championships, the NHL and MLS All Star Games and the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Visa USA is the nation's leading payment brand and largest payment system, enabling banks to provide their consumers and business customers with a wide variety of payment alternatives tailored to meet their evolving needs. Visa USA is committed to increasing the choice, convenience, acceptance, and security of Visa payments for all stakeholders in the payments systems - Members, cardholders and merchants. Through its 14,000 Member financial institutions, more than 463 million Visa-branded cards have been issued to cardholders in the United States. Last year, U.S.-based financial institutions relied on Visa's processing system, VisaNet, to facilitate $1.3 trillion in transactions with virtually 100 percent reliability. Worldwide, cardholders in over 150 countries carry more than 1 billion Visa-branded cards, accounting for more than $3 trillion in annual transaction volume. Visa offers a trusted, reliable and convenient way to access and mobilize financial resources - anytime, anywhere, anyway.