INDIANAPOLIS – International gymnastics stars continue to throw their names in the ring for the 2005 American Cup at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum at 2:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 26.
The men’s line-up received a boost with the addition of athletes from Japan , Slovenia , Finland , Spain and Hungary . Olympic all-around fifth-place finisher Rafael Martinez of Spain is joined by five-time World Cup rings gold medalist Yuri Van Gelder of the Netherlands, nine-time World Cup parallel bars gold medalist Mitja Petkovsek of Slovenia, World Cup Final floor bronze medalist Robert Gal and two-time pommel horse World Cup gold medalist Krisztian Berki of Hungary, former high bar world champion Jani Tanskanen of Finland, five-time World Cup floor gold medalist Diego Hypolito of Brazil, and Olympic team gold medalist Hisashi Mizutori of Japan.
Among the women planning to participate are Brazilian Olympian and nine-time World Cup medalist Daniele Hypolito, and her teammate, World Champion and World Cup Final champion on floor Daiane dos Santos , Olympic floor bronze medalist Patricia Moreno of Spain, World Cup floor gold medalist Suzanne Harmes of the Netherlands, along with 2003 Canadian Jr. Champion Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs and Canadian Olympic Team alternate Marci Bernholtz .
“We’re very pleased with the entries we’ve received to date from some of the top gymnasts in the world,” said USA Gymnastics President Bob Colarossi . “The American Cup is an important international competition, and a great launching pad for the next generation of Olympians.”
Previously announcing their participation were Olympic all-around bronze medalist Zhang Nan and Olympian Cheng Fei of China, and Olympian Soraya Chaouch of France, along with two-time Olympic medalist Jordan Jovtchev of Bulgaria, and Olympians Pierre Yves Beny and Yann Cucherat of France, and Evgeni Sapronenko of Latvia.
The United States committed the talented women’s squad of Mohini Bhardwaj , Chellsie Memmel , Alicia Sacramone and Nastia Liukin . The women’s roster will be confirmed following a verification of readiness at the women’s team training camp prior to the American Cup. The U.S. men’s roster will be named following the 2005 Winter Cup slated for Feb. 4-5 in Las Vegas .
Tickets for the American Cup on Feb. 26 range from $15-75 and are on sale now through www.ticketmaster.com, by calling (631) 888-9000 or (212) 307-7171, by visiting the Nassau Coliseum box office, or through local gymnastics clubs listed at www.usa-gymnastics.org. Spectators holding a ticket for the Feb. 26 American Cup will be admitted to the event prelims on Feb. 25.
The new American Cup format, which features individual event finals only, allows athletes placing among the top eight on each apparatus to earn World Cup points toward qualification to the bi-annual World Cup Final. Also at stake in the 30 th American Cup is approximately $46,000 in prize money.
From 1976 through 2004, the American Cup served as the most prestigious international all-around competition on the gymnastics calendar. The event launched the international careers of many world-class competitors, such as Bart Conner, Kurt Thomas, Mary Lou Retton, Peter Vidmar, Shannon Miller, Blaine Wilson, Kerri Strug and Carly Patterson.
The 2005 American Cup will be televised live on NBC Sports from 4-6 p.m. on Feb. 26.
For more information, log on to the official American Cup web site. Visit the FIG web site for official athlete bios provided by the International Gymnastics Federation.