Top U.S., international rhythmic gymnasts head to Walt Disney World in June
posted on 05/06/2011

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., May 6, 2011 – Rhythmic gymnasts from the United States and around the world will head to the HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World in suburban Orlando, Fla., to compete in the 2011 U.S. Rhythmic Classic, formerly known as the Chicago Cup, on June 11-12. The two-day event, which is part of the inaugural ESPN RISE Girls Showcase, will feature some of the top international rhythmic gymnasts and the USA's best. The U.S. Rhythmic Classic will feature competition in the all-around and individual events for both juniors and seniors and senior group. The Junior Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics Optional Championships and Invitational for Levels 7-10 will be held June 8-12 in conjunction with the U.S. Rhythmic Classic.

The USA Gymnastics Open Championships, a national event for women's gymnastics (Levels 4-8) and rhythmic gymnastics (Levels 4-6), will be held one week earlier at the Jostens Center at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. All of the gymnastics events held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex are part of the ESPN Rise Girls Showcase, the three-week sports festival celebrating female sports that will involve nearly 15,000 elite and recreational female athletes competing in basketball, gymnastics, softball, taekwondo and volleyball June 2-22.

The basic competition schedule at the HP Field House at Disney for the U.S. Rhythmic Classic and Junior Olympic Optional Championships and Invitational is as follows:

June 8-9: Junior Olympics, Levels 7-8
June 10: Junior Olympics and Invitational, Levels 9-10, and Junior Olympic group
June 11: Junior Olympics and Invitational, Levels 9-10
June 11: U.S. Rhythmic Classic, all-around finals for junior/senior divisions, senior group
June 12: Junior Olympics and Invitational, Levels 9-10
June 12: U.S. Rhythmic Classic, junior and senior individual event finals

For the U.S. Rhythmic Classic, the first day of competition determines the junior and senior all-around champions, the junior and senior gymnasts with the highest aggregate score after four events, as well as the top eight gymnasts who advance to the individual event finals. For group gymnastics, the junior group all-around is on June 10, with the senior group all-around on June 11.

The four events for individual rhythmic gymnastics at the U.S. Rhythmic Classic are hoop, clubs, ball and ribbon, and the all-around competition includes routines in all four apparatus. Individual event finals feature qualified gymnasts competing with each apparatus for a score. For group, five gymnasts perform a routine in two events, ball (all five) and hoop (2)/ribbon (3). Rhythmic gymnasts coordinate very difficult body movements with each apparatus in synch with the music, which requires strength, power, flexibility, agility, dexterity and endurance. The group discipline combines those skills in a choreographed routine with five group members.

The Junior Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics Optional Championships showcases the country's best Level 7-9 gymnasts, and the Level 10 Invitational provides a similar opportunity for that level's top competitors.

Just prior to the U.S. Rhythmic Classic, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will play host to the 2011 USA Gymnastics Open Championships from June 2-5 at the Jostens Center. The USA Gymnastics Open is the first time female Junior Olympic gymnasts in women's Levels 4-8 and Prep-op may compete for a national title. For rhythmic, the competition is for Levels 4-6. Individual and club team champions will be named for each level for both women's and rhythmic gymnastics, and the overall club team champion will be determined at the conclusion of the event. A women's National Elite Qualifier also will be staged at this time to provide gymnasts with an opportunity to advance to the elite level and/or to qualify for the U.S. Classic.

Participation in each Junior Olympic level is determined by skills mastered not by age. Levels 4, 5 and 6 require compulsory elements and may include compulsory routines, while Levels 7-10 feature optional routines with certain technical requirements (each gymnast performs her own unique routine).

Background information

  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosts more than 300 events a year, is the leading multi-sport venue for amateur and professional sports in the United States, accommodating 70 different sports and athletes from more than 70 countries. Designed to take youth sports to the next level, the 230-acre facility features the ESPN Innovation Lab, a real-world testing ground for the ESPN Emerging Technology Group to develop ground-breaking on-air products like Ball Track and ESPN Snap Zoom, as well as development of its new 3-D television channel. In addition, the complex features 56 high-definition cameras (42 robotic, 10 hand-held and four studio) and 40 high-definition video screens, including three jumbo screens, that can capture and display footage from any event taking place at the complex. The camera and video screens, as well as a 20-zone audio system, are controlled through the state-of-the-art HD and 3-D Broadcast Center that features eight edit bays and links to ESPN facilities in Bristol, Conn., New York and Los Angeles. For more information, visit for press releases, photos and videos. Follow us on Twitter at @DisneySports.

  • 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, and acrobatic gymnastics. For more information, log on to