USA Gymnastics' 'Countdown to Rio' continues this week in Hartford
posted on 06/01/2016

INDIANAPOLIS, June 1, 2016 – The "Countdown to Rio" continues for USA Gymnastics this week in Hartford, Conn., when the XL Center plays host to the 2016 Secret U.S. Classic and the P&G Men’s Gymnastics Championships. Competition gets underway Friday, June 3, and runs through Sunday, June 5. Three-time World all-around champion Simone Biles of Spring, Texas/World Champions Centre, is expected to participate in the Secret Classic, while Sam Mikulak of Corona del Mar, Calif./Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center), will vie for his fourth straight U.S. all-around title at the P&G Championships.

With the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, just two months away, fans and spectators alike will not only have a chance to see Team USA before they head off to the Olympics, but also participate in fun fan activities from International Gymnastics Camp and Kellogg’s on the concourse of the XL Center. Two-time Olympic silver medalist Jonathan Horton will sign autographs on Sunday, June 5.

Fan activities

Here’s a quick overview of the activities for fans prior to competition. Doors open one hour before the ticketed time for the sessions at the XL Center.

  • P&G autograph signing. Two-time Olympic silver medalist Jonathan Horton will be on hand at the P&G booth to sign autographs from 12-1 p.m. on Sunday, June 5. Approximately 300 individuals will have the opportunity for an autograph during the allotted time.
  • International Gymnastics Camp. Fans can stop by the International Gymnastics Camp booth to learn about the IGC difference, to take home exciting camp information and cool giveaways, and to meet Olympic and World champion Svetlana Boguinskaia! Staff members are available to speak about the premier gymnastics training opportunities at IGC, the benefits of summer camp for children, and IGC’s incredible recreation activities.
  • Kellogg's Fitness and Nutrition Zone. Kids can have fun and gain knowledge about the importance of fitness through the interactive Kellogg's Fitness and Nutrition Zone that features physical challenges in building balance, strength, flexibility and cardiovascular exercise, all of which are fundamental to gymnastics. Participants get coaching tips from local gymnasts, can snap a photo on the Kellogg’s podium and share what gets them started each day on their way to greatness!
  • Merchandise. Fans can purchase everything gymnastics, including event-specific tees, Under Armour and GK leotards, and more, at merchandise booths on the concourse. Autographed copies of 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin’s book, “Finding My Shine,” are available for just $25. In her book, Liukin talks about her personal journey of challenges and success, sharing tips for reaching goals and overcoming obstacles.

Women’s gymnastics
Seven gymnasts who have won World Championships or Olympic gold medals, including athletes who helped Team USA win the World team titles in 2011, 2014 and 2015 and the team gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games, are expected to compete. In addition to Biles, Olympic champions Gabby Douglas of Virginia Beach, Va./Buckeye Gymnastics, and Aly Raisman of Needham, Mass./Brestyan’s American Gymnastics, have registered to compete. Another five women in the field have claimed World Championships gold medals: Alyssa Baumann of Plano, Texas/WOGA; Brenna Dowell of Odessa, Mo./Great American Gymnastics Express; Madison Kocian of Dallas/WOGA; Ashton Locklear of Hamlet, N.C./Everest Gymnastics; and MyKayla Skinner of Gilbert, Ariz./Desert Lights.

In addition, MG Elite’s Lauren Hernandez and Jazmyn Foberg, both of Morganville, N.J., who finished first and second, respectively, at the 2015 P&G Championships junior competition, are expected to participate.

Men’s gymnastics
In addition to Mikulak, three of his 2012 Olympic teammates are in the field for the P&G Gymnastics Championships: Jake Dalton of Sparks, Nev./Team Hilton (University of Oklahoma); Danell Leyva of Miami/Team Hilton (Universal Gymnastics); and John Orozco of the Bronx, N.Y./Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center).

With national titles and berths to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Men’s Gymnastics in St. Louis (June 23-26) on the line, all seven members of the 2015 World Championships team that finished fifth in Glasgow, Scotland, are participating this week. They are Chris Brooks of Houston/Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center); Marvin Kimble of Milwaukee, Wis./Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center); Leyva; Alexander Naddour of Queen Creek, Ariz./Team Hilton (USA Youth Fitness Center); Paul Ruggeri of Manlius, N.Y./Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center); Donnell Whittenburg of Baltimore, Md./Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center); and Brandon Wynn of Voorhees, N.J./Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center).

Secret U.S. Classic and P&G Championships information
Scheduled for June 3-5, Hartford is the site for the two-day P&G Championships, the national championships for senior men’s gymnastics, and the one-day Secret U.S. Classic, the final women’s qualifier for the P&G Women’s Gymnastics Championships.

The 2016 P&G Championships will determine the men’s senior national champions and national team, as well as the men who will advance to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials – Men’s Gymnastics in St. Louis, June 23 and 25. The Secret U.S. Classic, which has athletes competing on the junior and senior levels, serves as the last opportunity for female gymnasts to qualify for the P&G Women’s Championships in St. Louis (June 24 and 26), as well as a tune-up for many of the country’s top women leading into their national championships.

Single, multi- and all-session ticket packages are available. Tickets can be purchased online at XLCenter.com, by phone at 877-522-8499 or at the XL Center Box Office. For Group Sales information, please contact groupsales@xlcenter.com or call 860-548-2000. For more information, go to hartford2016.com.

The competition schedule is: P&G Championships – June 3 at 7 p.m. and June 5 at 1 p.m.; and U.S. Secret Classic – June 4 at 1 p.m. for juniors and 7 p.m. for seniors. The Hopes Championships, which features young, aspiring female gymnasts, is held in conjunction with the Secret U.S. Classic and is scheduled for June 3 at 2:30 p.m.

The Hopes Championships has two age groups, 10-11 year-old and the 12-13 year-old. The Hopes classification is just below the elite level, and the Hopes Championships, previously known as the U.S. Challenge, is the culmination of the Hopes athletes’ season.

The XL Center staged the national men’s and women’s gymnastics championships in both 2010 and 2013, but the Secret U.S. Classic is making its first visit to Hartford.

Background information

  • XL Center. The XL Center (XLCenter.com), is a 16,000 seat multipurpose arena located in downtown Hartford, CT, and operated by Spectra Venue Management. The arena, home to the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL), University of Connecticut Men’s Ice Hockey, and Men’s & Women’s Basketball, was built in 1975 and underwent major renovations in 2014. The XL Center entertains millions of visitors annually with a variety of concerts, family shows, sports, consumer events and trade shows throughout the season.

  • Spectra. Spectra manages the XL Center, Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field, and the Business Operations of the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL), as well as more than 130 other public assembly facilities around the world. Spectra by Comcast Spectacor is the expert in hosting and entertainment, partnering with over 300 clients at 400 global properties to create memorable experiences for millions of visitors every year. Spectra’s expertise is embodied within three divisions: Venue Management (formerly Global Spectrum), Food Services & Hospitality (formerly Ovations Food Services), and Ticketing & Fan Engagement (formerly Paciolan). Learn more at SpectraExperiences.com. Comcast Spectacor is part of Comcast Corporation, a Fortune 50 media and technology company that operates Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. Headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, in addition to Spectra, Comcast Spectacor owns and operates the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center venue. Visit us at ComcastSpectacor.com, PhiladelphiaFlyers.com, and WellsFargoCenterPhilly.com for more information.