Kristin Allen and Michael Rodrigues
© Champion Images

SAINT PAUL, Minn., July 10, 2009 – After the first day of competition in the 2009 Freedom Cup at The Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium in Saint Paul, Minn., 2008 world silver-medalists Michael Rodrigues and Kristin Allen of Livermore, Calif./West Coast Training Center, lead the World Cup mixed pair competition with a balance score of 29.000. Behind them, separated by only a thousandth of a point, are Russia’s Anastasia Gorbatyuk and Alexandr Barleben and Belgium’s Julie Van Gelder and Menno Vanderghote with balance scores of 28.705 and 28.704. Competition continues through Sunday, July 12.

Fans can follow the action at the 2009 Freedom Cup via a live webcast for each event session, beginning at 3 p.m. CT. Scores of the current performance will appear during the video stream, and complete results will be posted at the conclusion of each session.

The top two teams in women’s group following the dynamic routine performance are Belgium”s Eloise Vanstaen, Maaike Croquet and Corinne Van Hombeeck with a score of 28.473 and France’s Magalie Van Echelpoel, Laura Purdy and Marlene Hameroy with 27.504.

In women’s pairs, Florence Henrist and Tatsiana Devos of Belgium lead the field with a balance score of 28.879. Russian pair Natalia Fedorova and Tatiana Alexseeva are in second place with 28.702 points, while Janina Hiller and Sophia Muller of Germany sit in third with 28.413 points.

In the Age Group 11-16 division, the United States holds the top three positions in women’s group category. McKenzie Bloom, Allison Tokunaga and Whitney Clement of San Jose, Calif./ Aerial Tumbling and Acro Gymnastics, lead with a dynamic score of 27.767. Jesse Kelly and Brooke Rhoades of San Jose, Calif., and Alyssa Liardon of Morgan Hill, Calif./ Aerial Tumbling and Acro Gymnastics, follow in second with 27.567, while Kendall Meyer and Mackenzie Meyer of Silver Spring, Md., and their partner Erica Prestipino of Rockville, Md./ Xtreme Acro and Cheer, are close behind in third with 27.534. The USA’s Mariah Cockshell of Lees Summit, Mo., and Kennedy Swanson of Blue Springs, Mo./ Acro Explosion, are currently first in women’s pair with a balance score of 27.766. Helena Hall of Monrovia, Md., and Alana Floyd of Mt. Airy, Md./ Skyview Gymnastics /USA, sit in second with 27.133 points, and Monaco’s Karine Rico and Ilona Chiabault/Femina Sports de Monaco are third with 27.066 points. The top two mixed pairs teams are Kendall Meyer of Silver Spring, Md., and Christopher Ball of Rockville, Md./ Xtreme Acro and Cheer /USA, with a balance score of 27.733, and Kiley Boynton of Riverside, Calif., and Ryan Smethers of Mira Loma, Calif./Realis/USA, with 27.534.

In the Age Group 12-19 division women’s group after the dynamic routine, Sofia Costa, Vera Costa and Sofia Roiao of Portugal posted the highest score at 28.367, followed by Alexa Vitale, Kelly Phillips and Jessica Picone of San Jose, Calif./ Aerial Tumbling & AcroGymnastics /USA, with 28.100 and Tiana Terry, Alayna Davis and Elika Sudo of San Jose, Calif./ Aerial Tumbling & AcroGymnastics /USA, with 26.933. The top spot in women’s pairs belongs to Ana Marujo and Leonor Oliveira/Ginasio Clube Portugues – Portugal, with a score of 28.167. Valerie Bryant and Hayley Lemmons of Boerne, Texas/ Boerne Gymnastics Center /USA, are in second with 27.334, and Allison Traina and Devin Jones of San Antonio, Texas/USA Aerial Athletics /USA, are in third place with 26.033. The top two teams in mixed pairs are Iris Mendes and Joao Costa of Portugal with 27.866 points, followed by the USA’s Eirian Smith and Jake Kanavel of San Jose, Calif./ Aerial Tumbling & AcroGymnastics /USA, with 27.700.

Senior division mixed pairs is lead by Sienna Martinez of Riverside, Calif., and Ryan Ward of Corona, Calif./Realis/USA, with a balance score of 28.742. The USA’s Nicole Faubert of Danville, Calif., and Brian Kincher of Livermore, Calif./West Coast Training Center, are in second with 26.260, while Sarah Radcliffe of Ellicott City, Md., and Kevin Grear of Columbia, Md./ Emilia’s Acro Gymnastics Club /USA, rank third with 25.453.

The senior omen’s group is lead by Kailey Maurer of Fontana, Calif., Holli Morris of Beaumont, Calif., and Crystal Johnston of Riverside, Calif./Empire/USA with a dynamic score of 27.607. Judith De Vegt, Marion Dijkstra and Henrieke Koopman/Adonis Sportcrobatiek- Netherlands, sit in second with 25.773, and Savannah Shields of Grain Valley, Mo., Megan Muehlberger of Blue Springs, Mo., and Mallory Henthorn of Independence., Mo./ Acro Explosion /USA, are third with 25.633.

The Freedom Cup includes three competition divisions: senior, junior, and age-group. Preliminary rounds finish up on Saturday, July 11, with the final round on Sunday, July 12.

Tickets for the Freedom Cup are $50 for an all-session package and $15-25 for a single-day. Tickets are available at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or online at For group ticket information, call (651) 312-3486. Tickets for the Junior Olympic National Championships will be available onsite.

The U.S. Acrobatic Gymnastics Junior Olympic National Championships, which showcases the nation’s top acrobatic gymnasts, will be held July 12-16 in conjunction with the Freedom Cup. The Junior Olympics features competition in Levels 5-10, junior elite and senior elite, and serves as a qualifying event for the 2009 Visa Championships, scheduled for Aug. 12-15 in Dallas, Texas.

Acrobatic gymnastics combines the beauty of dance with the strength and agility of acrobatic and gymnastic skills with intense acrobatic balance showing grace, strength and flexibility. Routines are choreographed to music and consist of dance, tumbling, and partner skills. At the elite level, each pair or group performs a balance, dynamic and combined routine. Pyramids and partner holds characterize the balance routine, while synchronized tumbling and intricate flight elements define the dynamic exercise.

An acrobatic gymnastics pair consists of a base and a top. A women’s group is comprised of a base, middle and top partner, while a men’s group has a base, two middle partners and one top partner. Bases generally are older athletes who display strength and balance and top partners generally are younger athletes who display flexibility and agility. Middle partners often are required to show a combination of all attributes.