INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 11, 2013 – 2012 Olympic team gold-medalist Kyla Ross of Aliso Viejo, Calif./Gym-Max, and 2012 Olympic all-around bronze-medalist Danell Leyva of Miami/Team Hilton HHonors (Universal Gymnastics), will lead an impressive field at the 2013 American Cup, scheduled for March 2 at 11 a.m. ET at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. Elizabeth Price of Coopersburg, Pa./Parkettes, who won back-to-back World Cup titles in December, and 2012 Olympian Jake Dalton of Reno, Nev./University of Oklahoma, complete the American contingent.
The American Cup, a part of the International Gymnastics Federation's all-around World Cup series, kicks off the road to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and is expected to feature many of the top athletes from last summer's Olympic Games in London.
Joining Ross and Price in the women's field are three top 10 finishers from the 2012 Olympic all-around finals, including Italy's Vanessa Ferrari, the 2006 World all-around champion, Asuka Teramoto of Japan and Larissa Iordache of Romania, who finished seventh, eighth and ninth in London, respectively. Germany's Elisabeth Seitz, who finished sixth on the uneven bars at the 2012 Olympics, will also compete. The two remaining women will be announced in the near future.
Along with Leyva and Dalton, four men who finished in the top 12 in the all-around at the Olympic Games have confirmed their participation: silver-medalist Marcel Nguyen of Germany; Kristian Thomas of Great Britain (seventh); Sergio Sasaki of Brazil (10th) and Oleg Verniaiev of Ukraine (11th). Two-time Olympian Jorge Hugo Giraldo Lopez of Colombia is also participating, and a final man will be added to the complete the eight-man field.
Ross returns to international competition for the first time since contributing solid uneven bars and balance beam routines to The Fierce FiveSM's historic team gold medal win in London. At the U.S. Olympic Trials – Gymnastics, Ross tied for the highest uneven bars score and for third on the balance beam. At the Visa Championships, she was second on the uneven bars and fourth in the all-around. Price, who was a replacement athlete for the 2012 Olympic Games, is fresh off back-to-back wins at the Stuttgart and Glasgow World Cups in December. In 2012, she was fourth and fifth in the all-around at the U.S. Olympic Trials and Visa Championships, respectively.
Leyva has enjoyed considerable success over the past two seasons. Leyva, the 2011 U.S. all-around and World parallel bars champion, won the 2012 American Cup and the U.S. Olympic Trials all-around title, which earned him a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. At the Olympics, Leyva won the bronze medal in the all-around. Dalton was a member of the men's 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, and he competed in the team and floor exercise finals in London. In 2012, he won the U.S. titles in both the floor exercise and vault, and won six medals at the NCAA Championships – all-around and parallel bars gold medals, team and floor exercise silver medals, and still rings and horizontal bar bronze medals. Both Leyva and Dalton were members of the U.S. Team that won the team bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships.
The American Cup format has a field of eight men and eight women, and the invitations to compete are based on the all-around standings from the 2012 Olympic Games.
Tickets for the American Cup range in price from $39.50-$150 and may be purchased by phone at 800-745-3000; online at www.ticketmaster.com; at all Ticketmaster outlets; through participating gym clubs; or at the DCU Center Ticket Office. Ticket prices include facility fees and taxes but do not include convenience fees.
The American Cup, one of the most prestigious international invitationals, features many of the world's top all-around gymnasts. The reigning champions are Jordyn Wieber of DeWitt, Mich./Gedderts' Twistars USA, who was a member of The Fierce Five (2012 Olympic team champion), and Leyva. The American Cup was held in Worcester in 2010 when Rebecca Bross of Plano, Texas/WOGA, won the women's title and Russia's Maxim Devyatovskiy took top honors for the men.
The list of former champions comprises some of the sport's best-known names, including Bart Conner, Paul Hamm, Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Shannon Miller, Carly Patterson, Mary Lou Retton, Peter Vidmar, Leyva and Wieber.
Scheduled for March 1, the Nastia Liukin Cup showcases some of the USA's top Junior Olympic gymnasts. The participants for the Nastia Liukin Cup qualify through 19 of the country's top invitationals that are included in the Nastia Liukin Cup Series, which runs from January through February. The Nastia Liukin Cup is held the night before the American Cup, and its proceeds benefit the Nastia Liukin Fund, a charitable fund within the National Gymnastics Foundation. Tickets for the Nastia Liukin Cup will go on sale at a later date.
The City of Worcester and the SMG-managed DCU Center, in conjunction with Destination Worcester, worked together to attract the American Cup and the Nastia Liukin Cup to central Massachusetts.
Past sites for the American Cup include: New York City (1976-80, 1982-84, 2004, 2008, 2012); Ft. Worth Texas (1981, 1996-98); Indianapolis, Ind. (1985); Fairfax, Va. (1986-90, 2003); Orlando, Fla. (1991-94, 2000-02); Seattle, Wash. (1995); St. Petersburg, Fla. (1999); Uniondale, N.Y. (2005); Philadelphia (2006); Jacksonville, Fla. (2007, 2011); Hoffman Estates, Ill. (2009); and Worcester, Mass. (2010, 2013).
DCU Center. A multi-purpose arena and convention center uniquely designed to accommodate the needs of any size group from 15 to 15,000, the DCU Center is owned by the City of Worcester and managed by SMG, the world's leading private management and developing firm for public assembly facilities. Headquartered in Philadelphia, SMG provides management services to over 200 public assembly facilities internationally and also offers food and beverage operations through SAVOR… Catering by SMG. For more information, please visit www.dcucenter.com.
Destination Worcester. Destination Worcester is a destination marketing organization whose primary focus is on selling the City of Worcester as a destination to meeting and convention planners, and event and sports organizers. Acting as a single point of contact, Destination Worcester provides enhanced communications and a streamlined process for booking events in Worcester.
International Gymnastics Federation (FIG). The International Gymnastics Federation is the governing body for gymnastics worldwide. It is the oldest established international sports federation and has participated in the Olympic Games since their revival in 1896. The FIG governs seven disciplines: gymnastics for all, men's artistic, women's artistic, rhythmic, trampoline, aerobic and acrobatic. It counts 133 national member federations and boasts a 27-person staff at its international seat in Lausanne, Switzerland, host city of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).