Top U.S. gymnasts compete in LA Lights 2007 International Rhythmic Gymnastics
posted on 01/18/2007

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – 2006 U.S. rhythmic gymnastics all-around champion Lisa Wang of Buffalo Grove, Ill., and U.S. national team members Julie Zetlin of Bethesda, Md., and Ava Gehringer of Evanston, Ill., are competing in the LA Lights 2007 International Rhythmic Gymnastics Tournament, Jan. 19-21, at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Culver City, Calif. Also, Belarus’ Inna Zhukova, a two-time world team and ball bronze medalist, is returning to defend her all-around title for the tournament.


Also competing are Rachel Girma of Los Angeles, and Delaney Lonergan of Venice, Calif., both members of the U.S. junior national team who train at tournament host Los Angeles School of Gymnastics. Mexico’s Cynthia Valdez, the 2006 Pacific Alliance Championships all-around champion, is also in the field.

In addition to the United States, Belarus and Mexico, other countries represented in the LA Lights International Rhythmic Tournament include Australia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Germany, Israel, Japan, Russia and Ukraine.

The tournament features more than 400 participants, competing in levels four to elite. The elite rope and hoop individual events begin at 7:30 p.m. PT on Jan. 20, while the elite clubs and ribbon competitions are on Jan. 21, starting at 3:30 p.m. PT. Medals will be awarded in the four individual events and the all-around champion will be determined based on the combined results of the individual events.

In addition to her 2006 U.S. all-around title, Wang is a two-time national champion in the ball and ribbon. She also won the clubs title at the 2005 Visa Championships. Wang was a member of the U.S. Pan American Championships Team that won a gold medal in 2005. The reigning U.S. rope and clubs champion, Zetlin won all four individual events (rope, hoop, clubs and ribbon) in the junior division at the 2005 Visa Championships. She was a member of the U.S. Team that won a gold medal at the 2006 Pacific Alliance Championships. Gehringer placed third in the all-around and ball at the 2006 Visa Championships.

A 2004 Olympian, Zhukova claimed bronze medals in the team and ball events at the 2003 and 2005 World Championships. She was second in ball at the 2006 World Cup Final in Mie, Japan. At the World Cup in Irkutsk, Siberia, she was second in ball and was third in clubs, ribbon and rope. Zhukova won the ball event at the World Cup stop in Portimao, Portugal, where she was third in both clubs and rope. At the 2005 European Championships, she was third in both ball and ribbon. At the 2003 World Championships, Zhukova earned bronze medals in ball and team after finishing second in ribbon at the European Championships earlier that year. At the 2006 Pacific Alliance Championships, Valdez won the all-around, rope and ball titles, as well as tied for the clubs crown. She won the gold medal in ball, clubs and rope at the 2005 Pan Am Championships, where she was also second in ribbon.

The LA Lights Invitational Tournament is hosted by the Los Angeles School of Gymnastics and is celebrating its 25th anniversary. For more information, log on to www.lagymnastics.com/la_lights_2007.htm or call 310-204-1980.