London, Pesaro and Puurs World Cups take center stage this weekend
posted on 04/06/2017

© John Cheng / Lisa Estep

INDIANAPOLIS, April 6, 2017 – U.S. athletes, including 2016 Olympic alternate Donnell Whittenburg of Baltimore, Md./U.S. Olympic Training Center, and 2016 Olympian Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, will compete in World Cup competitions this weekend in London, Pesaro, Italy and Puurs, Belgium.

Fans in the United States will be able to watch the finals from London and Pesaro live. For London, NBC Sports will provide live coverage online at NBCSports.com/Live or through the NBC Sports app at 8 a.m. ET, women, and 2 p.m. ET, men, on Saturday, April 8. NBCSN will televise the competition on Tuesday, April 11 at 7 p.m. ET.

Coverage of the rhythmic World Cup in Pesaro will stream live on the USA Gymnastics YouTube channel. Coverage begins at 7 a.m. ET on April 9.

London World Cup
The third of three International Gymnastics Federation all-around World Cups for artistic gymnastics, Whittenburg and Victoria Nguyen of West Des Moines, Iowa/Chow's Gymnastics, will represent Team USA. The field for the women’s competition includes Olympic team silver medalist Angelina Melnikova of Russia and Olympic floor bronze medalist Amy Tinkler of Great Britain. For the men, Olympic parallel bars champion and all-around silver medalist Oleg Verniaiev leads the field.

Earlier this year, 2016 Olympic alternate Ragan Smith of Lewisville, Texas/Texas Dreams Gymnastics, and Yul Moldauer of Arvada, Colo./University of Oklahoma, won the all-around titles at the AT&T American Cup in Newark, N.J. Morgan Hurd of Middletown, Del./First State Gymnastics, was the bronze medalist at the Stuttgart World Cup.

Pesaro World Cup
Zeng will be joined by North Shore teammates Evita Griskenas of Orland Park, Ill., who finished second in the all-around at the recent Rhythmic Challenge, and the U.S. senior group of Dasha Baltovick of Highland Park, Ill.; Natalie Bourand of Burr Ridge, Ill.; Ugne Dragunas of Darien, Ill.; Connie Du of Deerfield, Ill.; Yelyzaveta Merenzon of Buffalo Grove, Ill.; Nicole Sladkov of Vernon Hills, Ill.; and Kristina Sobolevskaya of Deerfield, Ill., at the Pesaro World Cup in Pesaro, Italy.

Competition begins on Friday, April 7, with all-around competition for hoop and ball for individuals and five hoops for group. On Saturday, the all-around concludes with clubs and ribbons for individuals and three balls/two ropes for group. Apparatus finals for both individual and group are scheduled for Sunday.

Russia’s Aleksandra Soldatova leads an impressive field of international competitors. Soldatova won three medals – team, gold; clubs and hoop, silver – at the 2015 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

Puurs World Cup
The women’s pair of Maren Merwarth and Jessican Renteria both of San Antonio, Texas/Acrobatic Gymnastics of San Antonio, who finished fourth at last year’s World Acrobatic Gymnastics Championships in Putian, China, lead the U.S. delegation to the Puurs (Belgium) World Cup. West Coast Training Center’s Morgan Sweeney of Danville, Calif., Amanda Waterson of San Ramon, Calif., and Sophie Gruszka of San Ramon, Calif., will join Merwarth and Renteria in Puurs.

Qualification competition is scheduled for Friday, April 7, and Saturday, April 8. The finals are set for Sunday, April 9. Live streaming will be available on the event website.