Four-time Russian Olympic Gold Medalist Alexei Nemov and
U.S. World Medalists Expected to Compete

Indianapolis – Four-time Olympic Gold Medalist Alexei Nemov from Russia headlines an impressive squad of international and U.S. athletes scheduled to compete in the 2002 Visa American Cup, one of the most prestigious annual gymnastics competitions in the world, March 2, 2002 at 11:30 a.m. at Orlando’s T.D. Waterhouse Centre.

The United States will be represented by 2000 Olympians and reigning national champions Sean Townsend and Tasha Schwikert, 2000 Olympian Paul Hamm and 2001 national runner-up Tabitha Yim. All four U.S. Team members recently represented the U.S. at the 2001 World Championships last November in Ghent, Belgium. Townsend won a gold medal on parallel bars, the first men’s individual medal won since 1979, and also helped the team to an unprecedented silver medal. Schwikert and Yim led the women’s team to a World Championships bronze.
“Orlando will have a chance to preview our country’s rising stars as they compete against the world’s best at the 2002 Visa American Cup,” said Bob Colarossi, President of USA Gymnastics. “Thanks to the local Orlando gymnastics clubs and the Central Florida Sports Commission for their support of the Visa American Cup three years in a row. This year’s roster of athletes is one of the most competitive fields yet.”
2002 marks the seventh year that Orlando has hosted the Visa American Cup, a testament to the strong community support for gymnastics. Orlando hosted the event in 2001 and 2000, as well as from 1991-1994. The event brings national attention to Orlando as it will be televised live on NBC Sports from 1:00-3:00 p.m.
The Visa American Cup, which began in 1976 to celebrate the United States Bicentennial, has a rich history that includes the world’s greatest gymnasts among its champions. Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci were crowned champions in the inaugural year and other past champions include Mary Lou Retton, Kurt Thomas, Peter Vidmar, Shannon Miller, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug and Blaine Wilson.
The 2002 Visa American Cup will provide spectators the chance to see the current stars of the present Olympic quadrennium, the athletes that will strive for medals at the 2003 World Championships in Anaheim, California, and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
The Visa American Cup will award $70,000 in total prize money, making it one of the wealthiest and most respected international gymnastics competitions in the world.
“As the Preferred Card of USA Gymnastics, Visa is committed to supporting one of America’s premiere Olympic sports,” said Jennifer Hemmer, Director of Event and Sponsorship Marketing for Visa USA. “Our partnership with USA Gymnastics enables us to provide valuable resources to these hard working athletes as they train and prepare for competitions here and abroad.”

Prize Money:

All Around
1st- US $15,000.00
2nd- US $10,000.00
3rd-  US   $5,000.00
Individual Event
1st- US $1,000 per event

The following athletes will compete in the 2002 Visa American Cup:


  • Sean Townsend (USA)- 2001 U.S. National Champion, 2001 World Championships Gold and Silver Medalist, 2000 Olympian
  • Paul Hamm (USA)- 2001 World Championships Silver Medalist, 2000 Olympian
  • Alexei Nemov (RUS)- 2000 Olympic Games All-Around Gold Medalist, twelve total Olympic medals throughout career (four gold)
  • Jordan Jovtchev (BUL)- 2000 Olympic Games Double Bronze Medalist, 2001 World Championships Double Gold Medalist and Bronze Medalist
  • Alexander Beresh (UKR)-2001 World Championships Silver and Bronze Medalist, 2001 Visa American Cup High Bar Champion, 2000 Olympic Games All-Around Bronze Medalist
  • Eric Lopez (CUB)- Three-time Pan American Games All-Around Champion, 2000 Visa American Cup Champion
  • Yann Cucherat (FRA)- 2001 World Championships and 2000 Olympic Games Team Member
  • Hiroyuki Tomita (JPN)- 2001 World University Games Gold and Silver Medalist


  • Tasha Schwikert (USA)- 2001 U.S. National Champion, 2001 World Championships Bronze Medalist, 2000 Olympian
  • Tabitha Yim (USA)- 2001 National Runner-up, 2001 World Championships Bronze Medalist
  • Oksana Chusovitina (UZB)- 2000, 1996, and 1992 Olympian (Gold Medalist in 1992), 2001 World Championships Silver Medalist
  • Daiane Dos Santos (BRA)- 2001 and 1999 World Championships Team Member
  • Verona VanDeLeur (NED)- 2001 World Championships Team Member
  • Tatiana Yarosh (UKR)- 2001 World Championships Team Member and 2000 Olympian
  • Two more female gymnasts will be added to the line-up and announced when finalized.

Tickets for the 2002 Visa American Cup are $25, $18 and $10. They can be purchased at the T.D. Waterhouse Centre box office, through Ticketmaster at 407-839-3900 or at a participating gymnastics club. For a list of participating gymnastics gyms or link to, log-on to

Three-time Visa American Cup Champion and Five-time U.S. National Champion Blaine Wilson will be in Orlando February 12 and 13 to visit gymnastics clubs. To schedule an interview with Wilson, please call Mason Moore at Kenton Smith Advertising and Public Relations at 407-872-7799.