JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Feb. 28, 2007 — The 2007 Tyson American Cup boasts a strong field that includes eight 2006 world medalists and five 2004 Olympians, representing the top powers in gymnastics. The USA’s squad features all-around silver-medalist Jana Bieger of Coconut Creek, Fla., and pommel horse bronze-medalist Alexander Artemev of Morrison, Colo. The international field includes 2006 all-around and vault world bronze-medalist Fabian Hambuechen of Germany and 2006 women’s world team gold-medalist Zhou Zhuoru of China. The Tyson American Cup, scheduled for March 3 at 11:30 a.m. at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, will have eight men and eight women, including two men and two women from the USA, competing in the all-around finals. The Tyson American Cup will be televised live on March 3 on NBC Sports at 1 p.m. ET.
In addition to Artemev, Bieger, Hambuechen and Zhou, the other 2006 world medalists are: Canada’s Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, balance beam bronze medalist; Japan’s Takuya Nakase, men’s team bronze medalist; and Russia’s Maxim Devyatovsky, men’s team silver-medalist, and Kristina Pravdina, women’s team bronze medalist. Among the international athletes are five 2004 Olympians: Canada’s Adam Wong, Japan’s Kyoko Oshima, Puerto Rico’s Luis Vargas, Devyatovsky and Hambuechen.
“This year’s Tyson American Cup has an exceptional field with athletes from the world’s top gymnastics powerhouses,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “We are looking forward to a great event and showcasing some of our top American athletes.”
The field for the Tyson American Cup is listed below.
Daria Joura, Australia
Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, Canada
Zhou Zhuoru, China
Nathalia Sanchez, Colombia
Katja Abel, Germany
Kyoko Oshima, Japan
Elsa Garcia, Mexico
Andreea Grigore, Romania
Kristina Pravdina, Russia
Danielle Englert, Switzerland
Dariya Zgoba, Ukraine
Jana Bieger, USA/Coconut Creek, Fla.
Bianca Flohr, USA/Creston, Ohio
Shawn Johnson, USA/West Des Moines, Iowa
Natasha Kelley, USA/Katy, Texas
Samantha Peszek, USA/McCordsville, Ind.
Dzmitry Savitski, Belarus
Adam Wong, Canada
Lu Bo, China
Fabian Hambuechen, Germany
Takuya Nakase, Japan
Daniel Corral, Mexico
Luis Vargas, Puerto Rico
Flavius Koczi, Romania
Maxim Devyatovsky, Russia
Guillermo Alvarez, USA/Denver, Colo.
Alexander Artemev, USA/Morrison, Colo.
Raj Bhavsar, USA/Houston, Texas
Jonathan Horton, USA/Houston, Texas
The field of 29 will be reduced to 16 during a qualification round.
Bieger won three silver medals (all-around, floor exercise and team competition) at the 2006 World Championships, the most by a U.S. athlete, and one week later won uneven bars and floor exercise gold medals at last year’s World Cup in Stuttgart, Germany. The 2006 U.S. junior uneven bars champion, Flohr earned four medals, including team and uneven bars gold, at the 2006 Junior Pan American Games.
At the 2006 Visa Championships, Johnson dominated the junior division with her near sweep of the gold medals, winning the all-around, vault, balance beam and floor exercise and finishing second on the uneven bars. A member of the U.S. Women’s Team that claimed the silver medal at the 2006 World Championships, Kelley was also the 2006 U.S. Classic co-champion and uneven bars titlist. Peszek was the 2006 U.S. junior vault silver-medalist, and won the junior all-around, vault and balance beam titles and a bronze medal on the uneven bars at the 2006 International Gymnix.
Alvarez, the 2006 U.S. all-around bronze-medalist, was a member of the 2006 U.S. World Championships Team. Artemev won the USA’s first world pommel horse medal since 1979 when he finished third at the 2006 World Championships. He is also the reigning U.S. champion in the all-around and on the pommel horse and parallel bars.