The "Pro Gymnastics Challenge," a new event created by Brent Klaus, CEO of International Gymnastics Camp, will take place May 10-11 at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, Pa. Fans will see some of the greatest current and future male and female gymnasts. The inaugural event will air on ESPN2 as a three-part series from May 20-22. Tickets for the event are now on sale via the Professional Gymnastics Challenge website, professionalgymnastics.com.
The PGC features a team format with a very unique twist of the competitors doing a "skill vs. skill" challenge, with men competing against women for points and prize money.
Several current and past national team members are included on the U.S. team. The men are led by two time Olympian and silver medalist Jonathan Horton and the team includes 2012 Olympic alternate Chris Brooks; 2012 Olympian Jacob Dalton; Josh Dixon; six time NCAA champion, Steven Legendre; 2012 Olympic alternate Alexander Naddour; Paul Ruggeri; Jesse Silverstein; and Brandon Wynn. The U.S. women's team features three time World Championship silver medalist Jana Bieger; 2008 Olympic team silver-medalist and 2005 World all-around champion Chellsie Memmel; 2012 SEC Gymnast of the Year and 2007 World Team champion Shayla Worley from the University of Georgia and UCLA's 2013 AAI Award winner Vanessa Zamarripa.
The competition will include two of the University of Florida's 2013 NCAA Champions, Marissa King of the United Kingdom and Ashanee Dickerson of the United States. Dickerson was SEC Freshman of the Year and a 10-time All American for Florida, earning a total of nine NCAA Regional event titles, the second highest ever for the Gators. King, a 2008 Olympian for Great Britain is an eight-time All American and was the 2011 NCAA Vault Champion in addition to helping lead UF to its first event title at the 2013 NCAA Championships. Zamarripa is a 19-time All American and helped lead UCLA to the 2010 NCAA Championship while winning the vault title that same year.
The coaches are well-known gymnasts: five-time World Champion and three-time Olympic gold-medalist Svetlana Boguinskaia; 2008 Olympic All-Around and four time world champion Nastia Liukin; 1996 Olympic team gold-medalist Dominique Moceanu; and three time Olympian Blaine Wilson.
The world team has athletes from 12 nations and will be led by 2012 Olympic bronze-medalist Sam Oldham of Great Britain, five-time Olympic medalist (three gold medals) Catalina Ponor, six-time Olympian and gold-medalist Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan, Brazil's 2016 hopefuls Petrix and Jade Barbosa, and two- time Olympian Anna Pavlova of Russia, among others.