INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 11, 2019 – The country’s top Level 10 women’s gymnasts are heading to the Northwest for the 2020 U.S. Junior Olympic National Championships. Scheduled for May 15-17, the Tacoma (Wash.) Dome will play host to the two-day championships that features 675 women vying for national titles. The Junior Olympics is USA Gymnastics’ age-group, developmental program.
“We are excited to have the U.S. Junior Olympic National Championships return to the Northwest and the Seattle-Tacoma area,” said Annie Heffernon, vice president of women’s gymnastics. “We believe our athletes will enjoy competing in the Tacoma Dome, the site for gymnastics at the 1990 Goodwill Games and numerous other gymnastics events.”
The U.S. Junior Olympic National Championships is the culmination of the competitive season for Level 10, the highest Junior Olympic skill level that is just below the elite level. Numerous Junior Olympic champions and medalists have gone on to make the U.S. National Team and represent the United States in international competition and/or to compete in collegiate gymnastics. Many of the country’s top gymnasts are former participants in the Junior Olympic program, including the 2016 Olympic gold-medal winning Final Five (Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman), 2012 Olympic team champions Jordyn Wieber and Kyla Ross, 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin, and 2008 Olympic balance beam champion Shawn Johnson, to name a few.
The Junior Olympic National Championships features 12 age divisions (Junior A, Junior B, Junior C, Junior D, Junior E, Junior F, Senior A, Senior B, Senior C, Senior D, Senior E and Senior F), which are determined by birth date. These gymnasts are vying to become Junior Olympic national champions in the all-around, as well as in all four events: vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. The competition schedule will be determined closer to the event.
The local partners are the Tacoma Sports Commission and Emerald City Gymnastics Academy.
“We are thrilled for the opportunity to host the U.S. Junior Olympic National Championships,” said Dean Burke, president and CEO of the Tacoma Sports Commission. “Our partnership with Emerald City Gymnastics Academy and USA Gymnastics has been strong for more than five years. Together we truly set out to grow the sport for this region and to prepare ourselves to host a major championships like this. Tacoma welcomes you!”
USA Gymnastics has eight regions, and the top seven gymnasts from each region’s Regional Championships advance to nationals. The winning regions will also be determined at the conclusion of the competition. The top four all-around athletes in each age division qualify to the 2020 U.S. Junior Olympic National Team and are invited to attend a national training camp.
The states that comprise each region are: Region 1 — Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah; Region 2 – Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington; Region 3 – Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming; Region 4 – Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin; Region 5 – Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio; Region 6 – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont; Region 7 – Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia; and Region 8 – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee.
The Eastern and Western Championships serve as the pinnacle for Level 9. In 2020, the Junior Olympic Level 9 Eastern and Western Championships are scheduled for May 8-10. The Eastern and Western Championships, which feature 16 age divisions that are determined by birthdate, include the top gymnasts from USA Gymnastics Regions 5-8 for the Eastern Championships, and Regions 1-4 for the Western Championships. Battle Creek, Mich., will hold the Junior Olympic Level 9 Eastern Championships at the Kellogg Arena, with Branch Gymnastics as the local host. Placer Valley Sports and Events Center in Roseville, Calif., will play host to the Junior Olympic Level 9 Western Championships. The local partners are Placer Valley Tourism and Byers Roseville Gymnastics Club.