© James Glader

CHICAGO, June 23, 2010 – Approximately 200 of the country’s best Level 7-10 gymnasts are in Chicago today for the start of the Rhythmic Gymnastics National Junior Olympic Optional Championships, June 23-26, at Chicago’s Broadway Armory Park. The event is held in conjunction with the Chicago Cup, a two-day international rhythmic event featuring some of the best rhythmic gymnasts from the United States and around the world.

The Junior Olympic Championships spans five days, with competition on four apparatus – rope, hoop, ball and clubs. The all-around competition includes routines with all four apparatus. Individual event finals feature qualified gymnasts competing with each apparatus for a score. In rhythmic gymnastics routines, the athlete coordinates very difficult body movements with each apparatus in synch with the music, which requires strength, power, flexibility, agility, dexterity and endurance.

The complete competition schedule for both the Junior Olympic Championships and the Chicago Cup is online at www.usa-gymnastics.org/chicagocup. Junior Olympic tickets are $10 and may be purchased onsite. Individual session tickets for the Chicago Cup are $20 for June 26 and 27. An all-session ticket, which provides access to all Chicago Cup and Junior Olympic Championships sessions, is available for $45. Visa is the preferred credit card.

The 2010 Chicago Cup at the Broadway Armory Park takes place June 26-27. Three gymnasts from North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center in Glenview, Ill., are among the seven U.S. gymnasts who will face gymnasts from 11 countries in the international rhythmic event. The Chicago Cup will consist of a junior and senior all-around and individual event competition, along with a group exhibition. A Level 10 Invitational, the final U.S. rhythmic Youth Olympic Games qualifier, will be held June 27, prior to event finals at the Chicago Cup.

USA Gymnastics is partnering with World Sport Chicago to bring the Chicago Cup back to the Windy City. The two organizations worked together on the 2009 Tyson American Cup and Chicago Cup, which were held in the Chicago area as part of World Sport Chicago’s outreach in conjunction with the city’s bid for the 2016 Olympic Games, as well as the 2010 CoverGirl Classic coming to Chicago July 24.

Background information
World Sport Chicago, and organization that believes that sport has the power to transform, is dedicated to helping children in Chicago find a sport to meet their interests and abilities. The organization is a legacy of the 2016 Olympic bid and promotes the Olympic ideals of fitness, education and well being by working with partner organizations to launch or expand sport programs for kids. WSC is working to introduce Chicago’s youth to the fun and benefit of sports and the ideals of fair play, teamwork, respect and leadership.