INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., June 10, 2009 –2008 world mixed pair silver-medalists Michael Rodrigues and Kristin Allen of Livermore, Calif./ West Coast Training Center, are among the USA’s acrobatic gymnasts expected to compete in the 2009 Freedom Cup July 10-12 at The Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium in Saint Paul, Minn. The Freedom Cup, which just received International Gymnastics Federation World Cup status, will feature more than 200 participants including athletes, coaches and delegation officials from Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Kazakhastan, Monaco, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia and the United States, making this year’s competition the largest in Freedom Cup history.

Rodrigues and Allen, the reigning U.S. mixed pair champions, join a senior U.S. delegation that includes: 2008 U.S. mixed pair silver-medalists Sarah Radcliffe of Ellicott, Md., and Kevin Grear of Columbia, Md., from Emilia’s Acro Gymnastics Club; Nicole Faubert of Danville, Calif., and Brian Kincher of Livermore, Calif./West Coast Training Center ; Sienna Martinez of Riverside, Calif., and Ryan Ward of Corona, Calif./Realis Gymnastics Academy; Kailey Maurer of Fontana, Calif., Kelly Wilkinson of Oceanside, Calif., and Crystal Johnston of Riverside, Calif./Empire; Savannah Shields of Grain Valley, Mo., Mallory Henthorn of Independence, Mo., and Megan Muehlberger of Blue Springs, Mo./Acro Explosion.

Some of the up-and-coming stars to watch will be age group12-19 women’s pair Valerie Bryant and Hayley Lemmons of Boerne, Texas/Boerne Gymnastics Center; age group 12-19 mixed pair and 2009 Maia Cup silver-medalists Eirian Smith and Jake Kanavel of San Jose, Calif./Aerial Tumbling & AcroGymnastics; and age group 11-16 women’s group and 2009 Maia Cup bronze-medalists Kendall Meyer of ­­­Silver Springs, Md., Erica Prestipino of Rockville, Md., and Mackenzie Meyer of Silver Springs/Xtreme Acro and Cheer.

The Freedom Cup includes three competition divisions: senior, age group 12-19 and age-group 11-16. Preliminary rounds are scheduled for Friday, July 10, and Saturday, July 11, with the final round on Sunday, July 12. A complete list of the entire field will be available July 8.

Tickets for the Freedom Cup are $50 for an all-session package and $15-25 for a single-day. Tickets are available at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge by phone at (651) 989-5151 or online at For group ticket information, call (651) 312-3486. Discounted tickets are available through participating area gymnastics clubs. Tickets for the Junior Olympic National Championships will be available onsite.

Acrobatic Gymnastics Junior Olympic National Championships
The U.S. Acrobatic Gymnastics Junior Olympic National Championships, which showcases the nation’s top acrobatic gymnasts, will be held July 12-16 in conjunction with the Freedom Cup. The Junior Olympics features competition in Levels 5-10, junior elite and senior elite, and serves as a qualifying event for the 2009 Visa Championships, scheduled for Aug. 12-15 in Dallas, Texas.

Acrobatic gymnastics combines the beauty of dance with the strength and agility of acrobatics and gymnastics skills with intense acrobatic balance showing grace, strength and flexibility. Routines are choreographed to music and consist of dance, tumbling, and partner skills. At the elite level, each pair or group performs a balance, dynamic and combined routine. Pyramids and partner holds characterize the balance routine, while synchronized tumbling and intricate flight elements define the dynamic exercise.

An acrobatic gymnastics pair consists of a base and a top. A women’s group is comprised of a base, middle and top partner, while a men’s group has a base, two middle partners and one top partner. Bases generally are older athletes who display strength and balance and top partners generally are younger athletes who display flexibility and agility. Middle partners often are required to show a combination of all attributes.