© Diane Bidermann

The USA’s top two rhythmic gymnasts, Shelby Kisiel of Missouri City, Texas/North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, and Julie Zetlin of Bethesda, Md./Capital Rhythmics, are competing at the 2011 Pan American Games, Oct. 15-18, in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

Joining Kisiel and Zetlin will be the six-member rhythmic group vying for the gold in the group competition starting Oct. 16. There will be a total of 16 individuals and five groups in competition from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, United States, and Venezuela.

Members of the U.S. rhythmic group are as follows: Jessica Bogdanov, Brooklyn, N.Y./Isadora; Megan Frohlich, Glenview, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center; Aimee Gupta, Orchard Lake, Mich./ North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center; Michelle Przybylo, Glenview, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center; Sofya Roytburg, Buffalo Grove, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center; and Sydney Sachs, Deerfield, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center.

At the Pan American Championships in September 2010, where the USA qualified for these Pan Am Games, Zetlin won the all-around, rope, and ball titles, and became the USA’s top rhythmic gymnast in 2010. Kisiel, who recently claimed the 2011 U.S. all-around, ball and club titles, also earned the silver in ribbon, while the group earned silver in the 5-balls event.

At the 2007 Pan American Games, the USA made its mark as Lisa Wang of Buffalo Grove, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, nearly swept the competition, winning the gold in the all-around and ribbon along with silver in clubs.

As in 2007, the USA’s top competition this year will come from Mexico, Brazil and Canada. Mexico has two rhythmic gymnasts in close ranking to Zetlin: Veronica Navarro won the ribbon title, finished second in hoop and ball, and third in the all-around at the 2010 Pan American Championships; and Cynthia Valdez won silver in the all-around and bronze in ball. At the 2007 Pan Ams, Valdez placed second in the all-around, and third in rope, clubs, and ribbon. Brazil’s Eliane Sampaio, who placed third in rope, and both Canada’s and Brazil’s group teams, who placed first and second in the all-around, respectively, will be gymnasts to watch.

Podium training will be held tomorrow and Friday, with competition beginning on Oct. 15-18. Competition will begin with individual and group all-around competitions, which will be treated as the qualification for the event finals.

Photos from podium training