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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., May 8, 2014 – Rhythmic gymnastics got underway today with competition for Level 5 at the 2014 Stars & Stripes Cup at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. Competition for rhythmic gymnastics continues tomorrow, which is the first day of competition for the 2014 Junior Pan American Championships and for trampoline and tumbling at the Stars & Stripes Cup.

Here’s a summary of the champions from today’s rhythmic gymnastics competition. For complete results, go to daytona2014.com.

  • Session A. Isabella Pappas of Canton, Mass./New England Sports Academy, won the all-around (40.200), floor exercise (10.500), rope (10.000) and ball (10.000) titles. Michelle Aboukhaled of Duluth, Ga./Prima Rhythmics, was second in the all-around (38.900). Ciel Arzandlyan of Van Nuys, Calif./ Rhythmic Academy of Los Angeles, was first for hoop with a 10.000, as well as third in the all-around (38.000).
  • Session B. Sofiya Dzemidavets of Rochelle Park, N.J./Liberty Academy, took top honors in the all-around with her 38.800, as well as the hoop (10.200). Christina Eldamaa of Westwood, Mass./New England Sports Academy, finished second in the all-around at 38.700. Annaliese Dragan of Aliso Viejo, Calif./Irene School of Rhythmic Gymnastics, was the floor champion (10.400) and finished in third place in the all-around (38.600). The other two event champions were Rowan Smark of Danville, Calif./Diana’s Rhythmics, for rope (9.900) and Isabel Tang of San Diego, Calif./San Diego Rhythms for ball (9.400).
  • Session C. Ekaterina Poliakova of Sunny Isles Beach, Fla./IK School of Gymnastics, dominated the session’s competition, winning the all-around (41.800) and all four event titles: floor, 11.100; rope, 9.900; hoop, 10.900; and ball, 9.900. Hannah Lai of Needham, Mass./Rhythmic Dreams, was second in the all-around at 38.600, and Vianna Ngo of San Diego, Calif./San Diego Rhythms, was third at 36.600.
  • Session D. Isabelle Richardson of Las Vegas, Nev./Eurogymnastics, captured three gold medals: all-around (40.000), rope (9.800), hoop (10.400) and ball (9.800). Alina Shkurikhina of Shrewsbury, Mass./Fitness Elite Training Center, was the silver medalist with 38.500, and Rebecca Shi of Westwood, Mass./New England Sports Academy, took third at 38.200. Elizabeth Birov of Valencia, Calif./Grace Rhythmics, earned the floor title with her 10.500.

The top athletes from North, South and Central America are competing in the Junior Pan Am Championships, which is the qualifier for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. The countries that qualify for the Youth Olympic Games, slated for this August in Nanjing, China, will be determined on Saturday, May 10, beginning at 4:30 p.m. In addition to the U.S. rhythmic Levels 5-6 gymnasts, the 2014 Stars & Stripes Cup, held in conjunction with the Junior Pan Am Championships, features international athletes from the Americas competing in trampoline and tumbling.

Both an all-session ticket, which includes all four days, and all-day passes are available. The all-session ticket is $45 and the all-day pass is $20. All tickets are general admission and include facility fees. The all-session package and the all-day pass for May 10, the finals for the Junior Pan Am Championships, are available online through Ticketmaster at ticketmaster.com or at the Ocean Center Box-office. A discounted ticket for Saturday evening is available on the website for $10, and the promo code is USA. Daily all-day passes will be available onsite only.

The USA has a talented squad of athletes competing in the Junior Pan Am Championships. The eight person U.S. Trampoline Team is led by the 2013 U.S. junior national champions Cody Gesuelli of Middletown, N.J./Elite Trampoline Academy, and Maggie Gallagher of Coto de Caza, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics. Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, the reigning U.S. junior rhythmic gymnastics all-around champion, heads the three-woman squad for individual rhythmic gymnastics, along with the U.S. junior rhythmic group.

The Junior Pan Am Championships determine what countries will represent the Americas in the second Youth Olympic Games in individual and group rhythmic gymnastics and men’s and women’s trampoline. The USA is vying for spots for the Youth Olympic Games in men’s and women’s trampoline and individual rhythmic gymnastics. For rhythmic gymnastics, the athletes must be 15 years old, and trampoline athletes must be 16 or 17 in 2014. The Junior Pan Am Championships is an event of the Pan American Gymnastics Union. The Youth Olympic Games will be held Aug. 16-28 in Nanjing.

The Junior Pan Am Championships competition schedule is: May 9 – rhythmic gymnastics all-around, hoop and ball (two of four events), at 4:30 and 6:45 p.m., trampoline preliminary round (women at 6 p.m., men at 8:15 p.m.), and group rhythmic gymnastics (hoops) at 9 p.m.; May 10 – final day of rhythmic gymnastics all-around (clubs, ribbon) at 4:30 p.m., trampoline finals (women at 6 p.m., men at 8 p.m.), and group rhythmic gymnastics (10 clubs); and May 11 – event finals for individual (hoop, ball, clubs, ribbon) and group (five hoops and 10 clubs).

The Stars & Stripes Cup features international senior and age-group competition (11-12, 13-14, 15-16, and 17-18) in trampoline, tumbling, double-mini and synchronized trampoline. The Junior Olympic Levels 5-6 competition in individual rhythmic gymnastics is open to U.S. athletes in those two levels.

The trampoline and tumbling field for Stars & Stripes includes 2012 Olympian Steven Gluckstein and his brother, Jeffrey who is the current U.S. trampoline champion, both of Atlantic Highlands, N.J./ETA; 2012 Olympic alternates Logan Dooley of Lake Forest, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics, and Dakota Earnest of Plains, Texas/Acrospirits; Kristle Lowell of Three Rivers, Mich./Branch Gymnastics, who is the reigning U.S. and World double-mini champion; and 2013 U.S. senior champions Hayley Butcher of Saint John, Ind./Midwest Training and Ice Center (trampoline), Dooley/Neil Gulati of Irvine, Calif./World Elite (synchro), and Charlotte Drury of Laguna Niguel, Calif./World Elite (synchro). A complete field list is available at daytona2014.com.

The remaining Stars & Stripes Cup competition schedule is as follows, and all times are local.

    May 9
    9 a.m. – Trampoline and tumbling (various levels and events)
    10 a.m. – Rhythmic gymnastics (Level 5)
    12:45 a.m. – Rhythmic gymnastics (Level 6)
    1 p.m. – Trampoline and tumbling (various levels and events)


    May 10
    8:30 a.m. – Rhythmic gymnastics (Level 6)
    9 a.m. – Trampoline and tumbling, senior double-mini trampoline (plus various levels and events)
    12:45 p.m. – Rhythmic gymnastics (Level 6)
    1 p.m. – Trampoline and tumbling, senior trampoline (plus various levels and events)

    May 11
    9 a.m. – Trampoline and tumbling, senior tumbling (plus various levels and events)
    9:45 a.m. – Rhythmic gymnastics (Level 6)
    1 p.m. – Trampoline and tumbling, synchronized trampoline
    1:15 p.m. – Rhythmic gymnastics (Level 6)

The local partners for these events include the Central Florida Sports Commission, the Ocean Center, Volusia County and the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, and National Travel Systems is a partner for the World Championships and World Age Group Competition.

The World Trampoline and Tumbling Championships, held annually except in the Olympic year, determines the men’s and women’s World champions in four events: trampoline, synchronized trampoline, tumbling and double mini-trampoline. The World Age Group Competition showcases the world’s best boys and girls in those four events in four age groups: 11-12, 13-14, 15-16 and 17-18 years of age. The two events are expected to showcase more than 1,100 athletes.

Background information

  • Central Florida Sports Commission. The Central Florida Sports Commission strategically solicits, creates and supports marquee sports-related events and businesses that enhance our community’s economy. The Sports Commission represents the counties of Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia, as well as the City of Orlando. For more information, visit www.centralfloridasports.org.

  • International Gymnastics Federation. The International Gymnastics Federation is the governing body for gymnastics worldwide. It is the oldest established international sports federation and has participated in the Olympic Games since their revival in 1896. The FIG governs seven disciplines: Gymnastics for All, Men’s Artistic, Women’s Artistic, Rhythmic, Trampoline, Aerobic and Acrobatic. It counts 135 national member federations and boasts a 27-person staff at its international seat in Lausanne (SUI), host city of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).