USA Gymnastics Pres. Steve Penny at the Chicago Park District

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., Jan. 13, 2009 – Approximately 4,400 kids in the Chicago Park District gymnastics program will get a healthy start for 2009 by participating in the Tyson Fitness Challenge, a local six-week fitness initiative geared to help today’s youth achieve active, healthy lifestyles. USA Gymnastics partnered with Chicago 2016, World Sport Chicago and the Chicago Park District to hold the community-based activity to help promote the upcoming Tyson American Cup, scheduled for Feb. 21 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The Tyson Fitness Challenge also supports Chicago 2016’s efforts to enhance youth sport programming through its legacy organization, World Sport Chicago, and its bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

USA Gymnastics is working with coaches in the Chicago Park District to incorporate the fitness program into its gymnastics curriculum. The Tyson Fitness Challenge focuses on four fundamental components: cardiovascular exercise, strength training, flexibility and nutrition. Each of these is critical to developing a strong fitness base for everyone, not only those in the sport of gymnastics, but also those participating in other sports and activities.

“The Tyson Fitness Challenge will offer Chicago’s youth a chance to get into shape after the holidays and learn more about healthy choices that can become habits for years to come,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “Fitness is an important part of everyone’s life, and gymnastics basics build the foundation for kids to participate in a variety of activities.”

“As the living legacy of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, World Sport Chicago’s mission is to increase the accessibility of sport to Chicago’s youth,” said Bill Scherr, chairman of World Sport Chicago. “Programs like the Tyson Fitness Challenge are an ideal way to teach sport and health in a fun and safe environment that will help kids understand the need to incorporate healthy actions into their lives.”

The Tyson Fitness Challenge kicks off this week and runs through the week of Feb. 16. To find a Chicago Park District gymnastics program, visit

“The Chicago Park District is pleased to partner with Tyson Foods, USA Gymnastics and World Sport Chicago to promote fitness to young people,” said Parks Superintendent Timothy J. Mitchell. “It is important for children to understand the benefits of exercise and good eating habits to build a foundation for life long wellness.”

“Encouraging our youth to become more physically active and teaching them the important role protein plays in a balanced diet are the main goals of the Tyson Fitness Challenge,” said Dave Hogberg of Tyson Foods. “We are proud to have the Tyson Fitness Challenge included in the community outreach for the Tyson American Cup.”

The Tyson Fitness Challenge in the Chicago Park District is part of a national program that is held in gymnastics clubs across the country throughout the year. In addition, the national Tyson Fitness Challenge is the vehicle for the gymnastics community to raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network as part of annual celebrations for National Gymnastics Day. In just eight years, the gymnastics family has raised more than $1 million for the Children’s Miracle Network. National Gymnastics Day for 2009 is Sept. 12.

Click these links for more information on the Tyson Fitness Challenge and/or the Tyson American Cup.

About the Tyson American Cup
The 2009 Tyson American Cup features an all-around format with eight men and eight women, including two men and two women from the USA. The 16 athletes advance from a qualification round. The list of former champions includes some of the sport’s best-known names, including Bart Conner, Paul Hamm, Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Shannon Miller, Carly Patterson, Mary Lou Retton and Peter Vidmar. For ticket information, click here.

About Sears Centre Arena
Sears Centre Arena is an 11,200 seat multi purpose family entertainment, cultural, and sports arena located in Hoffman Estates’ Prairie Stone Business Park. Sears Centre Arena has hosted international events in the past such as the FIVB World League match up between Olympic Gold Medalist USA Men’s Volleyball and Bulgaria. Coming events at the Sears Centre Arena include the Eagles concert – Long Road Out of Eden Tour, Chris Tomlin concert – Hello Love Tour, and more! For more information regarding Sears Centre Arena and coming events, please visit the arena’s new website at

About World Sport Chicago
World Sport Chicago (WSC) is an Illinois not-for-profit working to enhance the image, awareness and participation in Olympic sports across Chicago and to extend Chicago’s international outreach through and for sport and youth. Focused on promoting the development of recreational and competitive sport to the area’s youth, WSC works closely with Chicago 2016 and Chicago’s 2016’s Athlete Advisory Counsel (AAC) to provide sport expertise and athlete insight to the execution of these sporting events. WSC intends to aid Chicago in developing a sustainable, international sporting legacy as a real agent of social change for the city. William Scherr, an Olympic medalist in wrestling, is chairman of the board and Scott Myers serves as the executive director.

About Tyson Foods, Inc
Tyson Foods, Inc., founded in 1935 with headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, is the world’s largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef and pork, the second-largest food production company in the Fortune 500 and a member of the S&P 500. The company produces a wide variety of protein-based and prepared food products and is the recognized market leader in the retail and foodservice markets it serves. Tyson provides products and service to customers throughout the United States and more than 90 countries. The company has approximately 107,000 Team Members employed at more than 300 facilities and offices in the United States and around the world. Through its Core Values, Code of Conduct and Team Member Bill of Rights, Tyson strives to operate with integrity and trust and is committed to creating value for its shareholders, customers and Team Members. The company also strives to be faith-friendly, provide a safe work environment and serve as stewards of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it.