Winter Cup is first U.S. men’s event to use new scoring system


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The nation’s top male gymnasts will make their annual trek to Las Vegas for the 2006 Winter Cup Challenge, Feb. 2-4, to vie for the 14 spots on the Men’s Senior National Team. This year’s event, held at the Sports Center Arena, has a new twist. The Winter Cup Challenge is the first U.S. men’s event to use the new scoring system adopted by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) last year.

With making the senior men’s national team on the line, all of the country’s best gymnasts are expected
  • 2004 Olympic silver-medalist Jason Gatson of Mesa, Ariz./Team Chevron;
  • 2005 U.S. all-around champion Todd Thornton of Pearland, Texas/Team Chevron;
  • Guillermo Alvarez of Denver, Colo./Team Chevron, the floor exercise champion at the 2005 Visa Championships;
  • D.J. Bucher of Mason, Ohio/Ohio State University, the parallel bars gold medalist at the 2005 Visa Championships;
  • Sean Golden of Houston/Houston Gymnastics Academy, the still rings and vault champion at the 2005 Visa Championships;
  • Justin Spring of Champaign, Ill./University of Illinois, the horizontal bar titlist at the 2005 Visa Championships;
  • Yewki Tomita of Tucson, Ariz./Team Chevron, the pommel horse champion at the 2005 Visa Championships;
  • Raj Bhavsar of Houston/Team Chevron, the alternate for the 2004 U.S. Men’s Olympic Gymnastics Team;
  • David Durante of Garwood, N.J./Team Chevron, who was third in the Visa Championships’ all-around; and
  • David Sender of Arlington Heights, Ill./Stanford University, who was second in the all-around, floor exercise and vault at the 2005 Visa Championships.

The 84-man field, which includes juniors and seniors, will be released closer to the event.

The new scoring system incorporates credit for the routine’s content and execution, and a gymnast’s score no longer is limited to a maximum of 10. In the United States, this system will be used at all elite level events; women’s Junior Olympics (Levels 1-10) and collegiate gymnastics will use the previous system, while men’s Junior Olympics and collegiate gymnastics are using a modified version.
“The stage is set for the 2006 Winter Cup Challenge to be one of the most interesting and competitive in the event’s history,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “This will be the first time that our top male athletes will compete under the new scoring system, and this is their chance to showcase their new routines and qualify for the senior men’s team. It promises to be a great preview for 2006 and beyond.”
The competition schedule is: Feb. 2, two individual event finals and all-around qualification sessions, 12 p.m. and 5 p.m.; and Feb. 4, all-around finals, 6:30 p.m. The initial day of competition will feature 84 gymnasts, with the top 42 advancing to the all-around finals. Tickets are: Feb. 2, $20, adults, and $12, children, for both sessions; and Feb. 4, $20 per person. An all-event pass is available for $40, adults, and $30, children.
Based on the competition’s results, the top six from the all-around finals automatically qualify for the 2006 senior national team. Six more gymnasts will qualify based on a points system established by the Men’s Program Committee. The Men’s Program Committee will select the remaining two gymnasts.
The event has an added competition, the New Skills Challenge. This fun event is an opportunity for gymnasts to demonstrate new skills or sequences they are developing. Held in conjunction with the all-around finals on Feb. 4, the skills challenge will not only give gymnasts a chance to show something new, but also for fans to catch a glimpse of gymnastics’ future. A celebrity panel of judges will rank the skills on a scale up to 10.

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