USA Gymnastics announces international field for 2016 AT&T American Cup
posted on 01/12/2016

© John Cheng

Note: Park Minsoo has replaced Junho Lee for Korea and Andreas Bretschneider has replaced Fabian Hambuechen from Germany

NEWARK, N.J., Jan. 12, 2016 – Olympic medalists Fabian Hambuechen of Germany and Ryohei Kato of Japan are among the 14 international gymnasts who have accepted invitations to compete at the 2016 AT&T American Cup at Prudential Center at 11:30 a.m. on March 5, 2016. The international gymnasts have garnered 15 World and three Olympic medals, and they join the USA’s World team gold-medalists Gabrielle Douglas of Virginia Beach, Va./Buckeye Gymnastics, who is also the reigning Olympic all-around champion, and Maggie Nichols of Little Canada, Minn./Twin City Twisters; three-time U.S. all-around champion and 2012 Olympian Sam Mikulak of Newport Beach, Calif./Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center); and two-time World medalist Donnell Whittenburg of Baltimore, Md./Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center), in the field for the AT&T American Cup, the USA’s most prestigious international invitational and part of the International Gymnastics Federation’s all-around World Cup series.

Representing 11 countries, the gymnasts who have accepted invitations are listed below by country.

Men
Brazil: Lucas De Souza Bitencourt
China: Sun Wei
Great Britain: Nile Wilson
Germany: Andreas Bretschneider
Japan: Ryohei Kato
Korea: Park Minsoo
Switzerland: Pablo Braegger
USA: Samuel Mikulak
USA: Donnell Whittenburg

Women
Brazil: Lorrane Oliveira
Canada: Elsabeth Black
Great Britain: Amy Tinkler
Germany: Tabea Alt
Italy: Carlotta Ferlito
Japan: Mai Murakami
Netherlands: Tisha Volleman
USA: Gabrielle Douglas
USA: Margaret Nichols

Kato, who was second at the 2015 AT&T American Cup, was a member of Japan’s 2012 Olympic Team that won the men’s team silver. He also has four World medals (one gold, two silver and one bronze). Hambuechen, who won the 2009 American Cup, won the Olympic horizontal bar silver in 2012 and bronze in 2008. He has nine career World medals (one gold, two silver and six bronze), including the 2007 horizontal bar title and an all-around silver (2007) and bronze (2013). Wilson was a member of Britain’s men’s team that won the country’s first World team silver medal in 2015. Tinkler was a member of Britain’s women’s team that claimed the World team bronze in 2015, the Brit’s first women’s World team medal. Black won the all-around title at the 2015 Pan American Games and has competed in three World Championships and the 2012 Olympic Games. Volleman helped the Netherlands women’s team secure the country’s first team berth to the Olympics in women’s gymnastics since 1976. Also competing in previous World Championships are Braegger (2010-13, 2015), de Souza Bitencourt (2015), Ferlito (2011, 2013, 2015; 2012 Olympics), Murakami (2013-15), Oliveira (2015) and Park (2013, 2015).

Tickets for the AT&T American Cup range in price from $35-$250. The platinum ($250) ticket also includes a reserved seat for the Nastia Liukin Cup. Tickets may be purchased through ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-745-3000, at all Ticketmaster outlets, as well as at Prudential Center’s box office. For group sales (10+ people) information, please call Prudential Center’s Group Sales department at 973-757-6250. Discounted tickets are also available through local gym clubs that participate in the Club Ticket Sales Program. For additional information, please go to attamericancup.com.

The AT&T American Cup features the world’s best gymnasts in a one-day all-around competition. Invitations to compete in the 2016 AT&T American Cup, which became an International Gymnastics Federation all-around World Cup event in 2011, are based on performances at the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain. USA’s Simone Biles and the Ukraine’s Oleg Verniaiev won the titles at the 2015 AT&T American Cup.

The impressive list of former American Cup champions also includes Bart Conner, Tim Daggett, Paul Hamm, Jonathan Horton, Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Carly Patterson, Danell Leyva, Shannon Miller, Mary Lou Retton, Kurt Thomas, Peter Vidmar, Jordyn Wieber and Kim Zmeskal-Burdette. Past sites for the American Cup include: New York, N.Y. (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, Pa. (2006); Jacksonville, Fla. (2007, 2011); Hoffman Estates, Ill. (2009); Worcester, Mass. (2010, 2013); and Arlington, Texas (2015).

Held annually in conjunction with the AT&T American Cup, the Nastia Liukin Cup is named after Nastia Liukin, the 2008 Olympic all-around champion who has five Olympic and nine World medals to her credit. The annual event features 36 gymnasts who qualify through the Nastia Liukin Cup Series, which includes many of the country’s top invitationals held throughout January and February. The Nastia Liukin Cup made its debut in 2010 in Worcester and returned in 2013. Other sites for the Nastia Liukin Cup are Jacksonville, Fla. (2011), New York City (2012), Greensboro (2014) and Arlington, Texas (2015).

Background information

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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.

  • USA Gymnastics. Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. Its mission is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in the sport. Its disciplines include men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, acrobatic gymnastics and Gymnastics for All (formerly known as group gymnastics). For more complete information, log on to www.usagym.org.

  • Prudential Center. Prudential Center is a world-class sports and entertainment venue located in downtown Newark, New Jersey. Opened in October 2007, the state-of-the-art arena is the home of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) three-time Stanley Cup Champion New Jersey Devils, Seton Hall University’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball program, and more than 175 concerts, family shows and special events each year. Ranked in the Top 10 nationally by Pollstar, Billboard and Venues Today, Prudential Center is recognized as one of the premier venues in the United States, and welcomes 1.75 million guests annually. For more information about Prudential Center, visit PruCenter.com and Facebook, and follow @PruCenter on Twitter.