Olympic Gold Medalist Amy Chow and Top National Team Members
to Kick Off Visa American Cup Series

Indianapolis, Ind. – Americans Amy Chow, Morgan White, Stephen McCain and Jay Thornton join a talented field of international stars from Russia, Cuba, Ukraine and Belarus in the RCA Gymnastics Challenge, the first of three events in USA Gymnastics’ inaugural Visa American Cup Series, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Visa American Cup.

“The Visa American Cup Series provides an excellent opportunity for our athletes to compete at the highest level, which is extremely crucial for Olympic Games preparation,” said Bob Colarossi, USA Gymnastics President. “It also serves as a visible platform for us to celebrate the history of the event.”
An impressive field of gymnasts is scheduled to compete in the Visa American Cup Series. The United States is represented in the RCA Gymnastics Challenge by 1996 Olympic gold and silver medalist Amy Chow and 1999 World Championships team members Morgan White, Stephen McCain and Jay Thornton. White is also the 1999 Pan American Games all-around gold medalist. The RCA Gymnastics Challenge international roster includes Jesus Carballo, Jr. (ESP), a 1999 World Championships gold medalist on high bar and Alexei Bondarenko (RUS), a team and parallel bars silver medalist in the 1999 World Championships. Elena Produnova (RUS), a team silver medalist in the 1999 World Championships and the 1998 Visa American Cup runner-up is a standout in the women’s field.

Visa American Cup Series Line-up

The following athletes are scheduled to compete in the RCA Gymnastics Challenge in Las Vegas, Nev., at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on January 14:


Stephen McCain, USA, Houston, Texas, Team Texaco-USOTC
Jay Thornton, USA, Augusta, Ga., Team Texaco-USOTC
Jorge Giraldo, Colombia
Eric Lopez Rios, Cuba
Zoltan Supola, Hungary
Alexei Bondarenko, Russia
Jesus Carballo, Jr., Spain
Valeriy Pereshkura, Ukraine


Amy Chow, USA, San Jose, Calif., West Valley Gymnastics School
Morgan White, USA, Fairfield, Ohio, Cincinnati Gymnastics
Alena Polozkova, Belarus
Marilia Gomes, Brazil
Lisa Mason, Great Britain
Elena Produnova, Russia
Rebeca Toledano, Spain
Inha Shkarupa, Ukraine

Visa American Cup Series Schedule

  • January 14, 2000- RCA Gymnastics Challenge, Las Vegas, Nev., MGM Grand Garden Arena
  • January 29, 2000- Aussie Haircare Gymnastics Invitational, St. Petersburg, Fla., Bayfront Arena
  • February 26, 2000- Visa American Cup, Orlando, Fla., Orlando Arena

Competition Format

The competition format is as follows: eight men and eight women compete in the all-around competition, at each event. The three highest ranking international athletes and the highest-ranking American athlete from the RCA Gymnastics Challenge and the Aussie Haircare Gymnastics Invitational advance to the Visa American Cup.
The Visa American Cup Series will award over $150,000 in total prize money throughout the three events.

Visa American Cup History

The Visa American Cup has a rich history that includes the world’s greatest gymnasts among its champions, including 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Bart Conner and 1976 Olympic Gold Medalist Nadia Comaneci, who were crowned the champions in 1976, the inaugural year of the event. Past champions also include 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Mary Lou Retton, 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Shannon Miller, 1978 and 1979 World Championships Gold Medalist Kurt Thomas and 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist 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, Va. Alexander Kolivanov (URS) Kim Zmeskal (USA)
1991 Orlando, Fla. Trent Dimas (USA) Betty Okino (USA)
1992 Orlando, Fla. Jarrod Hanks (USA) Kim Zmeskal (USA)
1993 Orlando, Fla. Vitaly Scherbo (BLR) Shannon Miller (USA)
1994 Orlando, Fla. Vitaly Scherbo (BLR) Dominique Dawes (USA)
1995 Seattle, Wash. John Roethlisberger (USA) Kristy Powell (USA)