Gymnastics’ Triple Cup weekend starts Friday in the Chicagoland area
posted on 03/01/2018

HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILL., Feb. 28, 2018 – 2017 World all-around champion Morgan Hurd of Middletown, Del./First State Gymnastics, and World bronze-medalist Yul Moldauer of Arvada, Colo./University of Oklahoma, headline the 2018 American Cup, scheduled for March 3 at the Sears Centre Area in Hoffman Estates, Ill. In addition to the American Cup, some of the nation’s best Junior Olympic gymnasts will compete at the Nastia Liukin Cup and men’s Elite Team Cup as part of the Triple Cup weekend. The American Cup is the USA’s most prestigious international invitational and part of the International Gymnastics Federation’s all-around World Cup series.

In addition to Hurd and Moldauer, Team USA will be represented by two-time U.S. junior all-around champion Maile O’Keefe of Las Vegas/Salcianu Elite, and U.S. all-around silver medalist Allan Bower of Chandler, Ariz./University of Oklahoma. The international field includes Olympic and World champion Kenzo Shirai of Japan and his teammate Mai Murakami, who is the 2017 World floor champion.

The American Cup showcases many of the world’s best gymnasts, in a one-day, all-around competition on March 3 at 10:30 a.m. CT. On March 2, the Nastia Liukin Cup features some of the USA’s top Junior Olympic female gymnasts and kicks off the big weekend at 7 p.m. CT. The Elite Team Cup, a team event with many of the USA’s top junior men, wraps up the weekend’s events on Saturday evening at 5 p.m. CT.

Single-session tickets for each of the three events are available, and the price ranges listed are plus applicable fees: American Cup, $59-$79; Nastia Liukin Cup, $39-$49; and Elite Team Cup, $29-$39. All-session ticket packages are still available and range in price from $89-$149, plus applicable fees, and include tickets to all three of the weekend’s events. Ticket prices vary according to the event and seat location. To purchase tickets, visit www.SearsCentre.com, call 1-888-SEARS-TIX, or visit the Wintrust Box Office at the Sears Centre Arena. Group tickets may be purchased by calling 773-327-3778.

Nastia Liukin Cup, March 2, 7 p.m. CT

Three former Nastia Liukin Cup champions are set to compete in Chicago. 2016 senior champion Rachael Lukacs of Hillsborough, N.J./North Stars Gymnastics Academy, is making her fifth-straight appearance at the Cup. Last year, Lukacs placed second in the senior division. Kiya Johnson of Desoto, Texas/Texas Dreams, who claimed the junior title in 2015, returns for her fourth Nastia Liukin Cup, and 2016 junior champion Andrea Li of Aurora of Illinois/Legacy Elite, who finished third as a senior in 2017, is making her third trip.

The ninth-annual Nastia Liukin Cup will take place Friday, March 2, at 7 p.m. CT at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. Featuring 18 junior and 18 senior Level 10 Junior Olympic gymnasts, the Nastia Liukin Cup will showcase gymnasts from 18 states. Sixteen athletes are making return trips to the Nastia Liukin Cup, which is held the night before the American Cup.

Held annually in conjunction with the 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. Past sites for the Nastia Liukin Cup: 2016-17, Newark, N.J.; 2015, Arlington, Texas; 2014, Greensboro, N.C.; 2013 and 2010, Worcester, Mass.; 2012, New York City; and 2011, Jacksonville, Fla.

American Cup, March 3, 10:30 a.m. CT

The American Cup is the first of four International Gymnastics Federation all-around World Cup events. The other three take place in Stuttgart, Germany; Birmingham, Great Britain; and Tokyo. Representing 10 countries, the gymnasts who have accepted invitations to compete are listed below.

Men
Brazil: Francisco Barretto Junior
China: Sun Wei
Great Britain: James Hall
Germany: Philipp Herder
Japan: Kenzo Shirai
Spain: Joel Plata Rodriguez
Ukraine: Petro Pakhniuk
USA: Allan Bower
USA: Yul Moldauer

Women
Brazil: Fabiane Brito
Canada: Brooklyn Moors
China: Mao Yi
France: Lorette Charpy
Great Britain: Kelly Simm
Germany: Elisabeth Seitz
Japan: Mai Murakami
USA: Morgan Hurd
USA: Maile O’Keefe

USA’s Ragan Smith and Moldauer won the titles at the 2017 American Cup. The impressive list of former American Cup champions also includes Simone Biles, Bart Conner, Tim Daggett, Gabby Douglas, 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); Arlington, Texas (2015); and Newark (2016-17).

Elite Team Cup, March 3, 5 p.m. CT

The Elite Team Cup features nine men’s Regional Teams, each consisting of six junior elite gymnasts. Team scores for the Elite Team Cup will be based on five athletes competing on each event with the top four scores on each event counting. The country’s best junior elite male gymnasts compete, representing their respective regions.

Reigning Elite Team Cup all-around champion Brandon Briones of Gilbert, Ariz./Aspire Kids Sports Center, 2017 U.S. junior all-around gold medalist Brody Malone of Summerville, Ga./Cartersville Twisters, and 2017 junior elite Level 10 all-around champion Paul Juda of Deerfield, Ill./Buffalo Grove Gymnastics Center, are among the 10 members of the U.S. men’s junior national team taking part in the event. The remaining seven are Justin Ah Chow of Miami, Fla./Universal Gymnastics Inc.; Lazarus Barnhill of Houston, Texas/Cypress Academy of Gymnastics; John Chou of Cypress, Texas/Cypress Academy of Gymnastics; Vitaliy Guimaraes of Arvada, Colo./5280 Gymnastics; Riley Loos of El Dorado Hills, Calif./Technique Gymnastics; Kevin Penev of Penfield, N.Y./RGA; and Colt Walker of Cedar Park, Texas/AcroTex Gymnastics.

Fan activities

Here’s a quick overview of the available opportunities at each of the events. Doors to Sears Centre open 60 minutes before the ticketed start time for the AT&T American Cup and Nastia Liukin Cup and 30 minutes before the ticketed start time for the Elite Team Cup.

  • GK Selfie Station. New to the concourse this year is the GK Selfie Station, embellished with radiant Swarovski crystals! Be sure to stop by Section 109 on the concourse to get a selfie with your friends and family, and then share on your social media channels using the event hashtags #NastiaCup, #AC2018 and #EliteTeamCup.
  • GK Retail Booth. The GK retail booth will be selling a great selection of GK-branded leotards, shorts and other fun and fashionable gymnastics wear. GK has been manufacturing the best fitting gymnastics apparel in the world for over 35 years. Shop the retail booth on the concourse, outside of Section 110, to see what GK has to offer. GK. Choice of Champions.
  • USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Booth. USA Gymnastics is committed to athlete safety and creating an environment of empowerment for its members and athletes. USA Gymnastics Safe Sport Informational Table will be outside of Section 112 on the concourse.
  • AAI Booth. AAI is committed to fostering a safe, fun and healthy environment for the sport of gymnastics. For every case of gym chalk purchased online, AAI will donate 10% of sales back to the Safe Sport Initiative and Athlete Assistance Fund. Check out the booth on the concourse outside of Section 112 to order and be entered to win a case of chalk while helping support Safe Sport. You can also order yours today at www.aaigymstore.com and give back to the sport.
  • 2018 Men’s NCAA Gymnastics Championships. The 2018 National Collegiate Men’s Gymnastics Championship is coming to Chicago! Share the experience with your family and friends April 20-21 at UIC Pavilion. Visit the booth on concourse, outside of Section 108 on the concourse, for more information.
  • Merchandise Booth. Be a Part of the Team and visit the USA Gymnastics store, where you will find something for every gymnastics fan, including men’s, women’s and junior sizes. Stop by the official merchandise booth outside of Section 111 on the concourse.

Background information

  • American Cup. 2017 U.S. all-around champion Ragan Smith of Lewisville, Texas/Texas Dreams, and Moldauer won the women’s and men’s titles at the 2017 American Cup at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The impressive list of former American Cup champions includes: Simone Biles, Bart Conner, Tim Daggett, Gabby Douglas, Paul Hamm, Jonathan Horton, Shawn Johnson, Danell Leyva, Nastia Liukin, Sam Mikulak, Shannon Miller, Carly Patterson, 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); Greensboro, N.C. (2014); Arlington, Texas (2015); and Newark, N.J. (2016-17).
  • Nastia Liukin Cup. The 36 participants in the Nastia Liukin Cup are selected through the Nastia Liukin Cup Series, which features many of the country’s top gymnastics invitationals held throughout the United States. A total of 18 junior and 18 senior gymnasts advance to the Nastia Liukin Cup. Senior athletes must be 16 years of age or older, and junior athletes must be 15 or younger. Gymnasts who compete in the Nastia Liukin Cup receive a Nastia Liukin-designed leotard and a warm-up from GK Elite; two tickets to the Nastia Liukin Cup; and the opportunity to meet Liukin and participate in a team photo. 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 is held the night before the American Cup and made its debut in 2010. Past sites include 2016 and 2017, Newark, N.J.; 2015, Arlington, Texas; 2014, Greensboro, N.C.; 2013 and 2010, Worcester, Mass.; 2012, New York City; and 2011, Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Elite Team Cup. In its third year, the Elite Team Cup features nine men’s Regional Teams. The country’s best junior elite male gymnasts compete, representing their respective regions. The junior elite gymnasts must be between 13-18 years of age as of Sept. 1, 2017, and will be selected from the Regional Elite Team Program. The junior elite gymnasts will follow the USA Gymnastics/International Gymnastics Federation competition rules. The event was first held in 2016 in Newark, which also hosted the 2017 edition.
  • International Gymnastics Federation. The International Gymnastics Federation is the governing body for Gymnastics worldwide. It is the oldest established international federation of an Olympic sport and has participated in the Olympic Games since their revival in 1896. The FIG governs eight sports: gymnastics for all, men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline – including double mini-trampoline and tumbling -, aerobics, acrobatics, and parkour. It counts 148 national member federations and has its headquarters in the Olympic capital of Lausanne, Switzerland.
  • Sears Centre Arena. Sears Centre Arena is an 11,000-seat multipurpose family entertainment, cultural, and sports arena located in Hoffman Estates’ Prairie Stone Business Park. The Sears Centre Arena, which opened in 2006, is designed to accommodate a variety of events including concerts, family shows and sporting events. For more information regarding the Sears Centre Arena and upcoming events, please visit the arena’s website at www.searscentre.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, visit www.usagym.org.