INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 15, 2015 – In addition to two-time World all-around champion Simone Biles of Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, the U.S. gymnasts who have accepted invitations to compete in the 2015 AT&T American Cup, scheduled for March 7 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, are 2014 AT&T American Cup champion and World team bronze-medalist Sam Mikulak of Newport Coast, Calif./Team Hilton HHonors (University of Michigan); 2014 World team gold-medalist MyKayla Skinner of Gilbert, Ariz./Desert Lights Gymnastics; and 2014 World team bronze-medalist Donnell Whittenburg of Baltimore, Md./Team Hilton HHonors (U.S. Olympic Training Center). Featuring the world’s best gymnasts in a one-day all-around competition, the AT&T American Cup is the USA’s most prestigious international invitational and part of the International Gymnastics Federation’s all-around World Cup series.
Highlighting the international field are three-time Olympian and past World all-around champion Vanessa Ferrari of Italy; three-time Olympian and nine-time World medalist Fabian Hambuechen of Germany; 2012 Olympian and 2014 World parallel bars champion Oleg Verniaiev of the Ukraine; and 2012 Olympic team medalists Daniel Purvis of Great Britain and Japan’s Ryohei Kato and Yusuke Tanaka.
“Having just seen the showcase that college football with its first national championships was able to create at AT&T Stadium, I am even more excited about bringing the AT&T American Cup and the world’s best gymnasts to this fantastic arena,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “These athletes will have an unbelievable experience and a once-in-a lifetime memory.”
The field for the AT&T American Cup features 12 Olympians and nine World medalists who have combined for a total of five Olympic (three silver; two bronze) and 33 World medals (nine gold, nine silver and 15 bronze). In addition, seven gymnasts have already competed in a previous American Cup.
Belarus: Andrey Likhovitskiy
Brazil: Arthur Oyakawa Mariano (withdrew)
Colombia: Jossimar Calvo
Germany: Fabian Hambuechen (withdrew)
Great Britain: Daniel Purvis
Japan: Ryohei Kato
Japan: Yusuke Tanaka
Puerto Rico: Alexis Torres
Ukraine: Oleg Verniaiev
USA: Sam Mikulak, Newport Coast, Calif./Team Hilton HHonors (University of Michigan)
USA: Donnell Whittenburg, Baltimore, Md./Team Hilton HHonors (U.S. Olympic Training Center)
Australia: Emily Little
Canada: Elsabeth Black
Great Britain: Claudia Fragapane
Great Britain: Ruby Harrold (withdrew)
Italy: Erika Fasana
Italy: Vanessa Ferrari
Japan: Natsumi Sasada (replaced Ruby Harrold)
USA: Simone Biles, Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre
USA: MyKayla Skinner, Gilbert, Ariz./Desert Lights Gymnastics
Venezuela: Jessica Lopez
The AT&T American Cup is the third and final stop in the FIG’s 2014-15 all-around World Cup Series. Verniaiev won the all-around at both of the other World Cup Series events in Stuttgart, Germany, and Glasgow, Scotland. Other medalists from those events who are competing in March are: Tanaka (second in Glasgow; fifth in Stuttgart); Black (second in Glasgow; seventh in Stuttgart); Lopez (second in Stuttgart; third in Glasgow); Whittenburg (third in Stuttgart); Ferrari, (fifth in Stuttgart); Hambuechen (fifth in Stuttgart); and Fasana (seventh in Glasgow). The World Cup Series champion for men and women will be determined at the conclusion of the AT&T American Cup.
Here’s a brief snapshot of the accomplishments of the gymnasts competing in March.
Colombia: Jossimar Calvo. At the 2014 Worlds, Calvo was 10th in the all-around and eighth on the high bar, and in 2013, he was fifth for the horizontal bar and 24th in the all-around. In London at the Olympic Test Event, Calvo was sixth for both the floor exercise and high bar.
Great Britain: Daniel Purvis. At the 2012 Olympic Games, Purvis assisted his team in winning the team bronze medal and finished 13th in the all-around. He has competed in four World Championships, winning the floor exercise bronze in 2010 and finishing in the top 10 in the all-around three times (2013, seventh; 2011, fourth; 2010, fifth). At the 2014 World Championships, he was 11th in the all-around and the team was fourth. He won the all-around at the 2012 Olympic Test Event. Competing in his fourth AT&T American Cup, Purvis was the bronze medalist at the 2014 AT&T American Cup, as well as fourth in 2012 and eighth in 2011.
Japan: Ryohei Kato. Kato was third in the parallel bars and helped his team take the team silver at the 2014 World Championships. In 2013, he was the all-around World silver medalist. He also was a member of the Japanese team that won the team silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Japan: Yusuke Tanaka. Tanaka was third in the all-around and helped his team take the team silver at the 2014 World Championships. He was a member of the Japanese team that won the team silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games and at the 2011 World Championships.
Ukraine: Oleg Verniaiev. A 2012 Olympian, Verniaiev won the parallel bars title at the 2014 World Championships, where he was also fourth in the all-around. He is competing in his third AT&T American Cup and was the silver medalist in 2013.
USA: Sam Mikulak. Mikulak is the defending AT&T American Cup champion. At the 2014 World Championships, he helped Team USA win the team bronze medal and took 12th place in the all-around. Mikulak won back-to-back U.S. all-around titles in 2013-14, as well as the U.S. pommel horse crown in 2014 and the parallel bars and horizontal bar U.S. titles in 2013. In 2014, Mikulak wrapped up his collegiate career with his second straight NCAA all-around title and helped his University of Michigan team clinch its second consecutive team title. He also won the horizontal bar title, floor exercise silver and the parallel bars bronze at the Anadia (Portugal) World Cup. Mikulak finished fifth for vault and team at the 2012 Olympic Games.
USA: Donnell Whittenburg. The 2014 World Championships were Whittenburg’s first, and he helped Team USA capture the team bronze medal. He also finished in seventh place in the parallel bars final. Whittenburg won the all-around bronze medal at the DTB World Cup in Stuttgart. At the P&G Championships, he won the U.S. vault gold and still rings silver medals.
Australia: Emily Little. Little was member of the 2012 Australian Olympic team and finished 15th in the all-around in London. Little also represented Australia at the 2010 and 2011 World Championships.
Canada: Elsabeth Black. At the 2014 Worlds, Black was ninth in the all-around and finished seventh on the balance beam. In 2013, she was 13th in the World all-around finals and placed eighth for floor exercise. At the 2012 Olympic Games, Black and the Canadian team took fifth in the team competition, and she landed in eighth for the vault.
Great Britain: Claudia Fragapane. The 2014 World Championships were Fragapane’s first, and she placed 10th in the all-around, as well as fifth on vault and eighth on floor. The British team was sixth.
Italy: Vanessa Ferrari. Ferrari won the World all-around title in 2006, when she also claimed two World bronze medals (uneven bars and floor exercise). At the 2014 Worlds, she was sixth in the all-around and placed fifth for both the floor and team. In 2013, she garnered the floor exercise silver World medal and was sixth in the all-around. Ferrari also was the all-around World bronze medalist in 2007. She finished in the top 15 in all of the Worlds she has competed in, and has been in the top 10 four of the six. Ferrari competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. In 2012, she was eighth in the all-around, fourth for the floor, and seventh for team. In 2008, she was 11th in the all-around. This will be her fourth AT&T American Cup, and has finished fifth in all of her appearances (2012-14).
Italy: Erika Fasana. Fasana was part of the Italian team that finished seventh at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. At the recent 2014 World Championships in Nanning, China, Fasana helped lift Italy to a fifth place finish. Individually, she recorded a 17th place finish in the all-around and was ranked seventh on the floor exercise.
Japan: Natsumi Sasada. Sasada was a member of the Japanese teams at the last two World Championships, helping Team Japan to an eighth place finish in 2014. She finished 20th in the all-around at the World Championships last year.
USA: Simone Biles. When she won the World all-around gold earlier this year, Biles became the first U.S. woman since Miller (1993-94) and the first woman since Svetlana Khorkina (2001, 2003) to win back-to-back World all-around titles. At the 2014 World Championships, she helped the U.S. Team to its second consecutive and fourth overall World team title, as well as won the balance beam and floor exercise gold medals and the vault silver. She is the first woman to win four gold medals at a single World Championships since the Soviet Union’s Ludmilla Tourischeva in 1974. Biles’ six World gold medals surpass the five owned by Shannon Miller, and her career total of nine World medals ties the U.S. record held by Nastia Liukin and Miller, which is exceeded only by Alicia Sacramone’s 10 medals. Biles’ World medals are: gold – all-around (2013-14), balance beam (2014), floor exercise (2013-14) and team (2014); silver – vault (2013-14); and bronze – balance beam (2013). Domestically, Biles captured her second straight U.S. all-around title, as well as added the U.S. vault and floor exercise titles, at the 2014 P&G Championships. She also was the co-silver medalist for the balance beam. This will be Biles’ second AT&T American Cup appearance; she was the silver medalist in 2013.
USA: MyKayla Skinner. Skinner was a member of the U.S. Women’s Team that won the team gold at the 2014 World Championships. She also captured the bronze vault medal and was fourth on floor. At the 2014 Pan American Championships, she won the gold medal for the all-around, vault and floor exercise, as well as helped the USA to the team title. At the 2014 P&G Championships, Skinner garnered the vault and floor silver medals.
Venezuela: Jessica Lopez. Lopez has finished in the top 10 in the World all-around finals 10 in the World all-around finals twice: 2014, eighth; and 2010, 10th. She also competed in the all-around finals at the 2012 Olympic Games, finishing 18th. This will be Lopez’s fifth American Cup appearance. In 2014, she won the uneven bars and balance beam at the World Cup in Anadia, Portugal.
Invitations to compete in the AT&T American Cup are based on performances at the 2014 World Gymnastics Championships, held last October in Nanning, China. The AT&T American Cup became an FIG all-around World Cup event in 2011. This year’s AT&T American Cup is the third and final event in the 2014-15 FIG All-around World Cup Series. The two other events in the World Cup Series were the DTB-Pokal World Cup in Stuttgart, Germany, Nov. 29-30, and the Glasgow (Scotland) World Cup, Dec. 6, 2014. The Nastia Liukin Cup, which showcases many of the country’s top Junior Olympic female gymnasts, also will be held at AT&T Stadium on March 6, 2015, in conjunction with the AT&T American Cup.
About the 2015 AT&T American Cup
Tickets for the 2015 AT&T American Cup are on sale and range in price from $35-$250. Tickets may be purchased online through Ticketmaster at ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000. For group (10+ people) sales information, please call AT&T Stadium group sales at (817) 892-8688. Discounted tickets are also available through local gym clubs that participate in the Club Ticket Sales Program. For more information, go to attamericancup.com.
2015 marks the first time this iconic event has been held in a football stadium. Several past American Cup champions hail from the Dallas area: 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin, who won the American Cup in 2006 and 2008; 2004 Olympic all-around champion Carly Patterson, who won the American Cup in 2003-04; three-time World champion Kurt Thomas, who won the American Cup in 1978-80; and 1991 World all-around champion and 1992 Olympic bronze-medalist Kim Zmeskal, who won the American Cup in 1990 and 1992.
The 2014 AT&T American Cup champions were Elizabeth Price of Coopersburg, Pa./Parkettes, and Mikulak. In addition to Liukin, Patterson, Thomas and Zmeskal, the impressive list of former American Cup champions also includes Bart Conner, Tim Daggett, Paul Hamm, Jonathan Horton, Shawn Johnson, Danell Leyva, Miller, Mary Lou Retton, Peter Vidmar and Jordyn Wieber. 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); Worcester, Mass. (2010, 2013); and Greensboro, N.C. (2014).
Held in conjunction with the AT&T American Cup, the Nastia Liukin Cup is named after Liukin, who has five Olympic and nine World medals to her credit. The annual event features gymnasts who qualify through the Nastia Liukin Cup Series, which includes 25 of the country’s top invitationals held in January and February. Past sites for the Nastia Liukin Cup are Worcester, Mass. (2010, 2013), Jacksonville, Fla. (2011), New York City (2012) and Greensboro (2014). Tickets for the Nastia Liukin Cup will go on sale to the public later this month.
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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 142 national member federations and boasts a 27-person staff at its international seat in Lausanne, Switzerland, host city of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). For more information, go to www.fig-gymnastics.com.