INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., – World champions Chellsie Memmel of West Allis, Wis., Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas, and Alicia Sacramone of Winchester, Mass., are among the 56 female gymnasts competing in the women’s competition at the 2006 Visa Championships, Aug. 16-19, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., where the U.S. champions for artistic and rhythmic gymnastics will be crowned.
Also in the women’s competition are Jana Bieger of Coconut Creek, Fla., a member of the 2005 World Championships Team; Natasha Kelley of Katy, Texas, and Ashley Priess of Hamilton, Ohio, the co-all-around titlists at the 2006 U.S. Classic; and Shawn Johnson of Des Moines, Iowa, who won the junior all-around title at the U.S. Classic.
At the 2005 World Championships, Memmel became the first U.S. woman to win the all-around title since 1994. Liukin, who finished second in the all-around at just 0.001 behind Memmel, is the uneven bars and balance beam world champion, as well as the defending all-around champion at the Visa Championships. Liukin, who won the 2006 Tyson American Cup, tied with Memmel for the all-around title at the 2006 Pacific Alliance Championships.
Sacramone is the world floor exercise champion. Bieger won gold medals on floor and vault at the 2006 Pacific Alliance Championships and the vault title at the World Cup event in Cottbus, Germany. Both Kelley and Priess are competing as first-year seniors. Kelley, the 2005 U.S. junior all-around champion, claimed a bronze medal at the World Cup event in Moscow earlier this year. Priess won the balance beam and was second on the uneven bars at the World Cup event in Lyon. Johnson won the junior all-around gold medal at the 2006 Pacific Alliance Championships.
The Visa Championships is USA Gymnastics’ annual national championships and determines the U.S. national champions for men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics. Artistic gymnastics will be held at the Xcel Energy Center. Rhythmic gymnastics and acrobatic gymnastics are set for the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium. Acrobatic gymnastics is holding its national team trials in conjunction with the Visa Championships. The USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show will be held in the adjacent Saint Paul RiverCentre complex.
Tickets for men’s and women’s artistic and rhythmic/acrobatic gymnastics sessions for the premier national gymnastics championships are on sale at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge by phone at (651) 989-5151 or online at For group ticket information, call (651) 312-3486. Visa is the only card accepted for the Visa Championships.
The Visa Championships traces its history back to 1897 for the men and 1931 for the women. 2006 is only the second time since 1963 that the championships have been held in the Twin Cities area and in the state. Minneapolis was the site of the 1989 competition.

About Visa USA
Visa is the only card accepted for the Visa Championships and the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials. For USA Gymnastics’ other events, Visa is the preferred method of payment. Visa USA is the nation’s leading payment brand and largest payment system, enabling banks to provide their consumers and business customers with a wide variety of payment alternatives tailored to meet their evolving needs. Visa USA is committed to increasing the choice, convenience, acceptance, and security of Visa payments for all stakeholders in the payment system – Members, cardholders and merchants. Through its 13,420 Member financial institutions, more than 488 million Visa-branded cards have been issued to cardholders in the United States. Last year, U.S.-based financial institutions relied on Visa’s processing system, VisaNet, to facilitate $1.3 trillion in transactions with unparalleled reliability. Worldwide, cardholders in over 150 countries carry more than 1 billion Visa-branded cards, accounting for more than $3 trillion in annual transaction volume. Visa offers a trusted, reliable and convenient way to access and mobilize financial resources – anytime, anywhere, anyway.

About Xcel Energy Center

The five-year-old Xcel Energy Center and the Saint Paul RiverCentre Convention and Visitor’s Authority have been very successful in a short period of time at bringing high-profile events, such as the Visa Championships, to the Twin Cities community. Since opening in September 2000 with the first-ever Minnesota Wild NHL hockey game, the Xcel Energy Center has hosted the 2002 NCAA Frozen Four, 2001-06 WCHA Final Five Hockey Tournaments, 2003 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, 2003-04 TJ Maxx Tour of Gymnastics Champions, 2004-05 Campbell’s International Figure Skating Classic and 2004 NHL All-Star Weekend.

Women’s field for the 2006 Visa Championships

Info is listed by state; name, hometown/club, division


Ivana Hong, Laguna Hills, Calif./GAGE, junior division
Mattie Larson, Los Angeles, Calif./All Olympia, junior division
Katelyn Mohr, Lincoln, Calif./Byers, junior division
Shantessa Pama, Dana Point, Calif./Gym Max, junior division
Samantha Shapiro, Los Angeles, Calif./All Olympia, junior division
Ashley Stott, Temecula, Calif./SCEGA, junior division


Jana Bieger, Coconut Creek, Fla./Boca, senior division
Kassi Price, Plantation, Fla./Orlando Metro, senior division
Madison Turchin, Orlando, Fla./Brandy Johnson, junior division
Shayla Worley, Orlando, Fla./Orlando Metro, senior division


Taylor Schick, Duluth, Ga./Gwinnett, junior division
Michelle Shealy, Snellville, Ga./Gwinnett, junior division


Randi Lau, Honolulu, Hawaii/Hawaiian Island Twisters, junior division


Samantha Peszek, McCordsville, Ind./DeVeau’s, junior division
Shelby Salmon, Noblesville, Ind./DeVeau’s, junior division
Bridget Sloan, Pittsboro, Ind./Sharp’s, junior division