INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., June 18, 2009 – A summer filled with international and national events leads up to the 2009 Visa Championships in Dallas, Texas, and culminates with World Championships in three disciplines. Although the USA’s success at the 2008 Olympic Games was less than a year ago, USA Gymnastics already has focused its sights on the journey toward the 2012 Olympic Games.

“From June through August, all of our disciplines are being featured through a variety of events,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “The summer is just a precursor to a very busy fall filled with world championships for artistic, rhythmic, and trampoline and tumbling. There is certainly something for everyone, and we are expect a great summer of gymnastics!”

Here’s a quick snapshot of the key events for this summer, in chronological order.

  • Chicago Cup, June 19-21, Chicago, Ill. – Seven of the USA’s top rhythmic gymnasts – including Rachel Marmer of Los Angeles, Ava Gehringer of Evanston, Ill., and Julie Zetlin of Bethesda, Md., who are the USA’s top-ranked seniors – will compete in the inaugural Chicago Cup, an international rhythmic gymnastics competition at Chicago’s Broadway Armory Park. The three-day competition features both all-around and individual event finals for both junior and senior divisions. The U.S. Junior Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics Optional Championships are being held in conjunction with the Chicago Cup.

  • International Sport and Cultural Festival, June 23-28, Ft. Worth, Texas – Nearly 1,500 gymnasts from Europe, North, Central and South America, as well as the United States, are headed to Ft. Worth, Texas, for American Sokol’s 2009 International Sport and Cultural Festival at the Fort Worth Convention Center. The International Sport and Cultural Festival includes a variety of activities, from a number of group gymnastics events to artistic and rhythmic gymnastics to basketball and golf. Also scheduled are opening and closing ceremonies, a downtown parade and social activities. The five-day multi-sport, fitness and cultural activity is hosted by the American Sokol Organization and USA Gymnastics.

  • Freedom Cup, July 10-12, Saint Paul, Minn. — 2008 world mixed pair silver-medalists Michael Rodrigues and Kristin Allen of Livermore, Calif./ West Coast Training Center, are among the USA’s top acrobatic gymnasts expected to compete in the 2009 Freedom Cup, which just received International Gymnastics Federation World Cup status, at The Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium. The Freedom Cup will feature more than 160 athletes from 12 countries – including Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal, Russia and the United States – in four divisions. The U.S. Junior Olympic Acrobatic Gymnastics National Championships will be held in conjunction with the Freedom Cup.

  • World Games, July 16-26 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan – 2008 mixed pair world silver-medalists Kristin Allen and Michael Rodrigues of Livermore, Calif./West Coast Training Center, are two of 10 athletes who will represent the USA in acrobatic gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling at the 2009 World Games. Approximately 4,500 athletes from 100 countries are expected to compete at the World Games, a multi-sport event for non-Olympic disciplines. The trampoline and tumbling athletes are: 2007 world double mini-trampoline team bronze-medalist Aubree Balkan, Carlsbad, Calif.; Natalya Beneschott, Reno, Nev., tumbling; 2008 U.S. synchronized trampoline champions Logan Dooley, Lake Forest, Calif., and Steven Gluckstein, Atlantic Highlands, N.J.; 2008 World Cup Finals tumbling silver-medalist Kalon Ludvigson, Pocatello, Idaho; Sarah Prosen, Apple Valley, Minn., double mini; 2007 world tumbling team gold-medalist Leanne Seitzinger, Stafford, Va.; and Austin White, Newport Coast, Calif., double mini.

  • CoverGirl Classic, Des Moines, Iowa, July 24-26 — The 2009 CoverGirl Classic will be held at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines. Featuring some of the USA’s top gymnasts, the CoverGirl Classic is the final qualifying event for junior and senior women for the 2009 Visa Championships. The International Division begins at 1 p.m. with the juniors, followed by the seniors at 7 p.m. The Challenge Division, which features some of the country’s top young gymnasts, competes on July 24 and 26.

  • National qualifying events for Visa Championships. The men’s final qualifier for the Visa Championships is July 11 in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the rhythmic gymnastics qualifier is July 18-19 in Indianapolis.

  • Visa Championships, Dallas, Texas, Aug. 12-15 –The 2009 Visa Championships, USA Gymnastics’ national championships, features the country’s best gymnasts vying for national titles and spots on the U.S. National Team. Men’s and women’s gymnastics will be held at the American Airlines Center, with rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, and acrobatic gymnastics staged at the Dallas Convention Center. The competition will feature a mixture of 2008 Olympians and rising stars.

This year, World Championships are scheduled for men’s and women’s (artistic) gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling. Rhythmic gymnastics starts off with its World Championships Sept. 9-13 in Mie, Japan. The World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, scheduled for Oct. 12-18 in London, will be held in the venue for the 2012 Olympic Games. This year’s World Championships features competition in the all-around and individual events; there is no team competition. Trampoline and tumbling closes out the year with its World Championships taking place in St. Petersburg from Nov. 7-15, followed by the World Age-Group Competition from Nov. 14-22.