INDIANAPOLIS – USA Gymnastics is sending a host of young, talented athletes to the world’s winter international meets, which get under way this week.

The Pan American Gymnastics Union (PAGU) Individual Event Championships will get a visit from two recent World Cup medalists when Alicia Sacramone and Melanie Sinclair visit Maracaibo, Venezuela, Dec. 2-5 (note new date & location). Sacramone (Winchester, Mass./Brestyan’s) earned silver on vault, and Sinclair (Orlando, Fla./Orlando Metro) silver on bars at the recent World Cup event in Ghent, Belgium.

Joining Sacramone and Sinclair are 2003 World double-gold medalist Chellsie Memmel (West Allis, Wis./M&M), and – reminiscent of a certain Olympic all-around champ – Baton Rouge native-turned-Texan Natasha Kelley (Baton Rouge, La./Brown’s). Kelley recently finished third in the all-around and first on vault and beam at the Junior PAGU Championships.

On the men’s side, 2003 Pan American Games silver medalists David Sender and Jonathan Horton will make the trip. Sender (Chicago, Ill./Stanford), the 2004 vault national champ, recently began his freshman season at Stanford. Horton (Houston/Oklahoma), who finished fourth all-around at Pan Ams, is a freshman at top-ranked Oklahoma.

The month of December starts off with the annual Chunichi Cup in Nagoya, Japan, attracting the top talent from Asia and the Pacific. The U.S. women are represented by Junior PAGU all-around champion Kassi Price (Plantation, Fla./Orlando Metro) and National Elite Podium Meet all-around bronze medalist Sarah Shire (Holts Summit, Mo./Great American).

Houston’s Todd Thornton will carry the torch alone for the U.S. men. Thornton (Houston/Team Chevron-HGA) finished fourth all-around at the 2004 Visa U.S. Championships.

2004 wraps up with the World Cup Final, Dec. 11-
12 in Birmingham, England. Sacramone and Memmel will be the lone U.S. representatives. Sacramone will compete on vault, with Memmel on bars. Hollie Vise is first alternate on bars, with Ashley Postell first alternate on beam. All others qualified to attend, including Annia Hatch, Carly Patterson, and Paul & Morgan Hamm are either on the T.J. Maxx Tour of Gymnastics Champions, or declined the invitation.