INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., June 3, 2009 – Beginning this weekend, gymnastics clubs across the United States are hosting the Talent Opportunity Program (TOP) state testing for women’s gymnastics, marking the beginning of the program’s 17th season. More than 3,000 gymnasts ages 7-11 are expected to participate in testing at the state level, which provides young gymnasts an opportunity to showcase their talent with the hope of eventually being selected to the TOPs National Team.

With a rich history, TOPs is a talent search and educational opportunity for female gymnasts, ages 7-11, and their coaches and parents. Athletes are first evaluated at the state and regional levels on their physical abilities in June and July. From there, the top gymnasts are invited to participate in the TOPs National Test, conducted in October at the USA Gymnastics Women’s National Team Training Center in Houston. The National TOP Test evaluates the gymnasts on their physical abilities and some basic gymnastics skills. Based on the results from the National TOP Testing, the top 300 athletes are invited to participate in the National TOP Training camp in December of each year.

Detailed descriptions of the physical abilities tests, as well as a list of the TOP State Testing dates, are available on the TOPs/Elite section of the Women’s Program Web page.

TOPs has certainly proven itself over the past 17 years. Of the current members on the Women’s National Team, more than 50 percent were TOPs participants at young ages. Former TOP athletes include 2004 Olympic all-around champion Carly Patterson, 2004 Olympic team silver-medalist Courtney Kupets, 2004 Olympic alternate Tasha Schwikert, and 2008 Olympic team silver-medalists Alicia Sacramone, Samantha Peszek and Chellsie Memmel.

If you have questions about the TOPs program, please contact Gary Warren at [email protected].