Fifteen Olympians scheduled to compete for
$70,000 in prize money

Indianapolis – 2000 U.S. Olympic gymnasts Blaine Wilson, Sean Townsend and Tasha Schwikert and two-time U.S. Junior National Champion Kristal Uzelac will face an impressive international field at the 2001 Visa American Cup, February 24, 2001. The contest begins at 2:30 p.m. at Orlando’s TD Waterhouse Centre.
Fifteen stars from the Sydney Olympic Games will compete in Orlando including double gold and silver medalist Elena Zamolodchikova (RUS) and all-around bronze medalist Oleksandr Beresh (UKR).
“I am very eager to get back on the competition floor and regain my title as champion,” said Blaine Wilson, who won the Visa American Cup in 1999, 1998 and 1997, but was unable to compete in 2000 when Eric Lopez Rios won the title.
Following is the roster of U.S. and international competitors:


  • Blaine Wilson (USA) – 2000 and 1996 Olympian, Three-time Visa American Cup champion, Five-time U.S. National Champion
    Sean Townsend (USA)- 2000 Olympian, 1999 World Championships Team Member
  • Eric Lopez Rios (CUB) – 2000 Visa American Cup Champion, 2000 Olympian, Three-time Pan American Games Champion
  • Alexei Bondarenko (RUS) – 2000 Olympic Bronze Medalist (team), 1999 and 1997 World Championships Medalist, 2000 and 1998 European Championships Gold Medalist
  • Marian Dragulsecu (ROM) – 2000 Olympian and 1999 World Championships Team Member
  • Oleksandr Beresh (UKR) – 2000 Olympic Bronze Medalist in All-Around, 2000 European Championships All-Around Gold Medalist
  • Kenichi Fujita (JPN) – 2000 Olympian, 1997 World Championships Team Member
  • Victor Cano (ESP) – 2000 Olympian


  • Tasha Schwikert (USA) – 2000 Olympian, 2000 Visa American Cup competitor
  • Kristal Uzelac (USA) – 2000 and 1999 U.S. Junior National Champion
  • Elena Zamolodchikova (RUS)- 2000 Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist
  • Alena Polozkova (BLR) – 2000 Olympian, 1999 World Championships Team Member
  • Laura Martinez (ESP) – 2000 Olympian, 1999 World Championships Team Member
  • Monica Bergamelli (ITA) – 2000 Olympian, 1999 World Championships Team Member
  • Camila Comin (BRA) – 2000 Olympian
  • Kate Richardson (CAN) – 2000 Olympian, 1999 World Championships Team Member
“This distinguished line-up of gymnasts creates a very exciting rivalry for the 2001 Visa American Cup,” said Bob Colarossi, President of USA Gymnastics. “This year’s Visa American Cup will be very entertaining and intense since it will be one of the first opportunities for gymnasts to test the new Code of Points which requires more difficult skills.”
Created by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), the Code of Points are the rules and requirements that govern the sport of gymnastics. The new Code of Points for the present Olympic quadrennium went into effect January 1, 2001 and are valid until 2004.
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.
“The Visa American Cup is the most prestigious international gymnastics competition in the world,” said George Perry, Director of event and sponsorship marketing, Visa U.S.A. “Visa is proud of its long lasting partnership with USA Gymnastics and is privileged to be the preferred card of the 2001 Visa American Cup.”
The event will be televised live on NBC Sports from 4:00-6:00 p.m.
This marks the sixth year that Orlando has hosted the event, a testament to the strong community support for gymnastics. Orlando hosted the Visa American Cup in 2000, the 25th anniversary of the event, as well as from 1991-1994.
Tickets for the Visa American Cup are $25, $18 and $10. Tickets are available at the TD Waterhouse Centre at (407) 849-2020, through Ticketmaster at (407) 839-3900 or at participating gymnastics clubs.
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 the champions in 1976 and other past champions include Mary Lou Retton, Shannon Miller, Kurt Thomas and Peter Vidmar.

American Cup Champions

Year Site Men’s Champion Women’s Champion
1976 New York, NY Bart Conner (USA) Nadia Comaneci (ROM)
1977 New York, NY Mitsuo Tsukahara (JPN) Kathy Johnson (USA)
1978 New York, NY Kurt Thomas (USA) Natasha Tereschenko (URS)
1979 New York, NY Kurt Thomas (USA) Stella Zakarova (URS)
1980 New York, NY Kurt Thomas (USA) Tracee Talavera (USA)
1981 Fort Worth, Texas Bart Conner (USA) Julianne McNamara (USA)
1982 New York, NY Bart Conner (USA) Julianne McNamara (USA)
Zoya Grantcharova (BUL)
1983 New York, NY Peter Vidmar (USA) Mary Lou Retton (USA)
1984 New York, NY Peter Vidmar (USA) Mary Lou Retton (USA)
1985 Indianapolis, Ind. Tim Daggett (USA) Mary Lou Retton (USA)
1986 Fairfax, Va. Alexsei Tikhonkin (URS) Kristie Phillips (USA)
1987 Fairfax, Va. Brian Ginsberg (USA) Kristie Phillips (USA)
1988 Fairfax, Va. Marius Toba (ROM) Phoebe Mills (USA)
1989 Fairfax, Va. Vitaly Marinitch (URS) Brandy Johnson (USA)
1990 Fairfax,