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MARIETTA, Ga., May 9, 2011 – More than 80 gymnasts competed in the first USA Gymnastics Special Olympics Championships, held May 7, 2011, at the Cobb County Gymnastics Center in Marietta, Ga. The one-day event featured competition in artistic gymnastics (men, women and unified), rhythmic gymnastics (individual, group and unified) and TeamGym. The competition wrapped up with a gala, which involved all of the athletes.
Gymnasts from 10 states participated – California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Six gymnasts who will represent Team USA at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece, participated in Marietta. The field included 29 athletes for artistic gymnastics, 60 (including three unified partners) in rhythmic and 18 (representing three squads) in team gymnastics.
The artistic competition was for skill Levels A, 1, 2, 3 and 4, with rhythmic gymnastics for Levels A, B, 1, 2, 3 and 4. Competition included both individual and unified gymnasts. A unified gymnast is a partner without intellectual disabilities who competed the same routine as the Special Olympics athlete, and the pair's scores will be combined for a team total. For rhythmic group, there were an equal number of Special Olympics athletes and unified partners in each group. TeamGym had both unified partners and Special Olympics athletes.
TeamGym is a competitive version of group gymnastics that features squads of athletes performing together in two events – group floor exercise and group jump.
The USA Gymnastics Special Olympics Championships was hosted locally by Chattooga Gymnastics, Special Olympics Georgia and Cobb County Special Olympics.
About 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 group gymnastics. For more information, log on to www.usagym.org.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to nearly 3.5 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition health screenings, and other related programs. Special Olympics now takes place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in all regions of the world and in community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood's backyard. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org.