Rebecca Bross
© John Cheng

MELBOURNE, Australia, April 28, 2010 – The United States women will meet host country Australia and eight other countries on Friday, April 30, at Hisense Arena in Melbourne, Australia, for the 2010 Pacific Rim Championships.

Divided into two sessions, the women will compete in team and all-around competition on April 30. The U.S. team will compete in session two at 7:30 p.m. with Australia, Canada, China and Russia. Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand are in the first section. Session selections were determined by rankings at the 2009 World Championships. The women’s individual apparatus finals will be held on Sunday, May 2, at 2 p.m. The U.S. men’s team begins competition on April 29 with the team and all-around.

2009 World all-around champion Bridget Sloan of Pittsboro, Ind./Sharp’s Gymnastics, is expected to compete only on the uneven bars after injuring her ankle in training on Saturday.

“With such a long flight, the ankle feels better than I expected, but it’s too much of a risk,” said Sloan after completing the training session at Hisense Arena Wednesday. “It’s a big season with the nationals and World Championships still to come, and it was just too much of a risk (to compete on all apparatus). However it’s still important to be here and to support my teammates.”

Along with Sloan, 2009 World Championships silver-medalist Rebecca Bross of Plano, Texas/WOGA, will lead a still formidable USA team that includes 2010 Tyson American Cup runner-up Alexandra Raisman of Needham, Mass./Brestyan’s; 2009 U.S. junior all-around, uneven bars and balance beam champion Kyla Ross of Aliso Viejo, Calif./Gym-Max; 2009 Junior Pan Am all-around and uneven bars silver-medalist Sabrina Vega of Carmel, N.Y./Dynamic Gymnastics; and 2009 Tyson American Cup champion Jordyn Wieber of DeWitt, Mich./Twistars USA.

“It’s a big competition and it’s a great lead up to Worlds,” said Bross. “But it’s the beginning of the season, and I’m just going out there to make all of my routines.”

Perennial powerhouses China will be spearheaded by Qiushuang Huang, who won a gold medal on uneven bars and a silver on floor at the recent World Cup in Doha.

The Australian team will be led by World Championships uneven bars finalist Larrissa Miller. One notable absentee from the team is dual World Championships medalist Lauren Mitchell, who is recovering from a broken hand and suffered another setback when she sprained her ankle landing short on a tumbling pass in training last month.

The competition goes from Thursday, April 29 through Sunday, May. 2. The competition schedule is as follows: April 29 – men’s team and all-around finals, 3 p.m. (Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand) and 5:15 p.m. (USA, Australia, Canada, China, Russia); April 30 – women’s team and all-around finals, 11 a.m. (Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand) and 7:30 p.m. (USA, Australia, Canada, China, Russia); May 1 – men’s junior and senior individual event finals (top eight juniors and eight seniors on each apparatus), 7 p.m.; and May 2 — women’s junior and senior individual event finals (top eight juniors and eight seniors on each apparatus), 2 p.m. NOTE: All times are local to Melbourne, which is 14 hours ahead of New York, N.Y.

— Information provided by the Australian Gymnastics Federation