© John Cheng

ST. LOUIS, Mo., June 8, 2012 – Lexie Priessman of Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Gymnastics, leads the all-around after the first day of junior women’s competition at the 2012 Visa Championships, held this afternoon at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis. Priessman posted a 59.200, followed by Bailie Key of Coppell, Texas/Texas Dreams, 57.550, and Simone Biles of Spring, Texas/Bannon’s, 57.400.

Competition continues later this evening with first day of senior women’s competition beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. Universal Sports television and online will carry the action live at 8 p.m.

"Knowing that I am in the lead after day one gives me a lot of confidence going into Sunday," Priessman said after the competition. "I’ve put a lot of numbers in since the Secret U.S. Classic, so this is a great result."

Priessman began strongly on the uneven bars, performing a piked Jaeger and a full twisting, double layout dismount to score 14.150. On the balance beam, Priessman was steady throughout her difficult exercise, which included a standing back full and a full-in dismount, scoring 14.100. Priessman, then, put on a show on the floor exercise, playing to the crowd as she tumbled up in the rafters on her double twisting double back mount. Finishing with a full-in, she earned a 15.250. In the last rotation, Priessman scored a 15.700 for her difficult Yurchenko two-and-a-half (Amanar) vault.

Biles, the Secret U.S. Classic all-around champion, posted the highest score on vault, performing an Amanar to score 15.800.

On the uneven bars, Polina Shchennikova of Arvada, Colo./T.I.G.A.R, earned the top mark of the day with a 14.650. Her difficult routine included a Tkatchev to Pak salto, a toe-on Shaposhnikova-half and full-in dismount.

Amelia Hundley of Hamilton, Ohio/Cincinnati Gymnastics, and Madison Desch of Lenexa, Kan./Great American Gymnastics Express, posted matching 14.300s on the balance beam to lead the standings after the first day of competition. Hundley performed a standing full and dismounted with two back handsprings to a two-and-a-half twist, while Desch displayed a layout full twist series and round-off, flip-flop, double tuck dismount.

Priessman’s 15.250 leads the standings on floor.

The final day of the women’s competition is Sunday, June 10 with junior competition getting underway at 10 a.m., and seniors at 2:30 p.m. Central.

The 2012 Visa Championships, USA Gymnastics’ national championships, features the country’s best gymnasts vying for national titles and spots on the U.S. National Team in men’s and women’s gymnastics.

Single-session tickets for the Visa Championships range in price from $20 to $99.50, including facility fees. Ticket prices vary according to seat location and session. In addition, the multi-session tickets (men’s package that features both days of competition; all-day women’s package that features both junior and senior sessions for day one; and a women’s finals package that features the final day of competition for both junior and senior women) and all-session ticket packages are still available. Multi-session ticket packages for men’s and women’s gymnastics range from $60 to $125, and all-session ticket packages go from $105 to $325.

All tickets may be purchased by phone at 314-534-1111 or 800-293-5949; online at www.thechaifetzarena.com; or at the Chaifetz Arena Box Office. Group discounts are available by calling 314-977-5008. In recognition of Visa’s sponsorship of USA Gymnastics, USA Gymnastics is proud to accept only Visa at the 2012 Visa Championships, along with cash.

Television, webcast and YouTube coverage

Universal Sports television will broadcast the women’s senior competition live on June 8 beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. Then, NBC Sports will broadcast live coverage of the final day of both the men’s competition, June 9 from 1-3:30 p.m. ET, and the women’s competition, June 10 from 4-6 p.m. ET. Competition in the first day of senior women’s competition will be simultaneously webcast on usagym.org courtesy of UniversalSports.com. To find a Universal Sports channel in a specific area, go to UniversalSports.com.

For all four junior men’s and women’s sessions and the first day of senior men’s competition, USA Gymnastics will provide complete coverage of the event on its official YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/usagymnasticsorg. Additionally, USA Gymnastics will post highlight clips from men’s and women’s podium training beginning on June 5.

Ways to follow

  • Online. The 2012 Visa Championships and its ancillary activities are easier than ever to follow online. Schedules and general information for both fan activities and the competition, including the official event program, start lists, live scoring and more are available at www.usagym.org/visa, which is easily viewable on smart phones and other digital devices.

  • Social Media. USA Gymnastics are connecting with fans on Facebook (facebook.com/USAGymnastics) and Twitter (@USAGym), providing live updates and exclusive content including videos and photos from the Visa Championships. Gymnastics fans can follow the action easily on Twitter by using the official hashtag of the 2012 Visa Championships, #visachamps.

  • Fan Activities. USA Gymnastics will be hosting a wide-range of fan activities on Laclede Avenue just outside Chaifetz Arena including gymnastics demonstrations and Painting at Chaifetz presented by Art of the Olympians. Fans can also gather for fun prior to competition on June 8, following competition June 9, and both between and after sessions on June 10 right outside Chaifetz Arena for the Visa Fan Fest to enjoy interviews, food, music and celebrate the Visa Championships.

Background information

  • Chaifetz Arena at Saint Louis University. Chaifetz Arena (TheChaifetzArena.com) is a 10,600-seat multipurpose venue on the campus of Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Mo. Chaifetz Arena is the home to the Saint Louis University Billikens Men’s and Women’s Basketball and 150 concerts, family shows and special events per year. The $81-million arena opened in April 2008 and features a 20,000 square foot event floor, 14 suites, two party decks, two multi-purpose rooms, and a 4,700 square foot club on the event floor. Global Spectrum (global-spectrum.com) manages Chaifetz Arena, as well as more than 100 other public assembly facilities around the world. Nearly 20-million people attended more than 11,000 events in Global Spectrum venues last year. Based in Philadelphia, Pa., Global Spectrum is part of Comcast-Spectacor, one of the world’s largest sports and entertainment companies. Comcast-Spectacor also owns the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, Ovations Food Services, a food and beverage services provider, New Era Tickets, a full-service ticketing and marketing product for public assembly facilities, Paciolan, the leading provider of venue establishment ticketing, fundraising and marketing technology solutions, Front Row Marketing Services, a commercial rights sales company, and Flyers Skate Zone, a series of community ice skating rinks.

  • St. Louis Sports Commission. The St. Louis Sports Commission is the privately funded nonprofit organization that makes St. Louis a better place to live, visit, work and play through sports. Its efforts focus on attracting, creating and managing major sporting events for the St. Louis region – and contributing to its quality of life. Since its inception in 1989, the organization has produced a diverse lineup of high-profile events that excite area sports fans, generate revenue for the region and garner positive exposure for St. Louis. The Sports Commission hosted the Visa Championships in 2000 and has played integral roles in other recent Olympic events staged in St. Louis. A catalyst for civic benefit, economic development and charitable good, the Sports Commission has been recognized as a leader in its industry and its community.