INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., May 28, 2008 – 2007 all-around and floor exercise world champion Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines, Iowa, and 2007 balance beam world champion Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas, and their teammates on the gold-medal-winning 2007 World Championships Team highlight the strong 53-woman field (29 juniors and 24 seniors) for the 2008 Visa Championships, June 5-7, at Agganis Arena at Boston University. The 2008 Visa Championships, USA Gymnastics’ national championships, features the country’s best women gymnasts vying for national titles and spots on the U.S. Women’s National Team. In addition, the Visa Championships is women’s gymnastics qualifying event for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics, scheduled for June 19-22 in Philadelphia.
In addition to Johnson and Liukin, the 2007 World Championships Team that won the world title last fall includes: Ivana Hong of Blue Springs, Mo.; Samantha Peszek of Indianapolis, Ind.; Alicia Sacramone of Winchester, Mass.; Bridget Sloan of Pittsboro, Ind.; and Shayla Worley of Orlando, Fla.
Also in the field are 2005 all-around world champion Chellsie Memmel of West Allis, Wis., and 2006 all-around world silver-medalist Jana Bieger of Coconut Creek, Fla., along with Ashley Priess of Hamilton, Ohio, all three of whom were on the team that won the silver medal at the 2006 World Championships.
At the 2007 Visa Championships, Johnson won the all-around, balance beam and floor exercise, and finished third on the uneven bars. Also in 2007, she won the all-around title in every event she entered: Tyson American Cup, Pan American Games, Visa Championships and World Championships.
Earlier this year, Liukin won the all-around titles at the 2008 Tyson American Cup and the 2008 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships presented by Gillette Venus. She has won nine world medals, including four gold, matching the world medal mark held by Shannon Miller. Liukin won her second balance beam world title in 2007 and was a member of the 2007 World Championships gold-medal team. She also was the 2005 uneven bars and balance beam world champion. Liukin was the world silver medalist on uneven bars in 2006-07. She is the defending U.S. uneven bars champion.
Sacramone has seven world medals, including two gold, in her collection. She is the first U.S. woman to win a vault world medal in nearly 20 years, claiming one silver and two bronze. In addition to her team gold medal, Sacramone also earned the silver medal on floor exercise at the 2007 World Championships. She also was the 2005 floor exercise world champion. Sacramone won the vault title at the 2007 Visa Championships.
When Memmel won the 2005 all-around world crown, she became just the third U.S. woman to win that title. She earned her first world medals in 2003, winning gold medals on the uneven bars and in the team competition. In 2006, she helped the U.S. Team to the silver medal. Memmel has won six world medals, equally divided between gold and silver, and she was an alternate for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team.
Each day of the two-day competition counts equally toward the final score, which will determine the U.S. champions. Fans across the country can experience the excitement and the drama through NBC Sport’s live broadcast on June 7 at 4 p.m. ET.
The complete field, organized by state, is listed below.
About the event
Single-session ticket prices range from $25-120 and may be purchased charge by phone at 617-931-2000; online at www.ticketmaster.com; at all Ticketmaster outlets; or at the Agganis Arena Ticket Office. Visa is the only card accepted for the 2008 Visa Championships.
The schedule for the Visa Championships is: Thursday, June 5 — first day of competition, juniors at 1 p.m. and seniors at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, June 7 — final day of competition, juniors at 10:30 a.m. and seniors at 3:30 p.m.
In 2007, Johnson joined an impressive list of gymnasts who have earned the coveted title of U.S. all-around champion. The roster of former all-around champions is a veritable who’s who in gymnastics, including Carly Patterson, Courtney Kupets, Shannon Miller, Dominique Dawes, Kim Zmeskal and Mary Lou Retton.
The Visa Championships traces its history back to 1931 for the women.
About Agganis Arena at Boston University
Opened in January 2005, Agganis Arena at Boston University is the next generation in Boston sports and entertainment. It is a state-of-the-art, multipurpose sports and entertainment center. A 290,000-square-foot premier venue with 6,300 seats for hockey and ice shows, the Arena is expandable to over 7,200 seats for concerts, sporting events, and family shows. In addition to exciting Boston University hockey action, Agganis Arena hosts Boston University events, concerts, family shows, sporting events, trade shows and conferences throughout the year.
About the Massachusetts Sports Partnership
The Massachusetts Sports Partnership (MSP) serves as the official sports commission for the Commonwealth. Founded in 1992, MSP is a private, not-for-profit organization which works to attract and support world class sporting events and meetings throughout the Massachusetts.
About USA Gymnastics
Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. Its mission is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in the sport. Its disciplines include men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, and acrobatic gymnastics.
Field for the 2008 Visa Championships
Names are listed alphabetically by state; information reads name, hometown/club; level is indicated in parentheses
Melissa Metcalf, Mesa, Ariz./Desert Devils (Junior)
Desi Borgese, Los Gatos, Calif./Airborne (Junior)
Kaitlyn Clark, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Precision (Junior)
Sophina DeJesus, Temecula, Calif./Precision (Junior)
Mattie Larson, Los Angeles/All Olympia (Senior)
Katelyn Mohr, Carmichael, Calif./Byers (Senior)
Hallie Mossett, Los Angeles/All Olympia (Junior)
Samantha Shapiro, Los Angeles/All Olympia (Junior)
Ashley Stott, Temecula, Calif./SCEGA (Senior)
Jana Bieger, Coconut Creek, Fla./Bieger’s (Senior)
Olivia Courtney, Orlando, Fla./Orlando Metro (Senior)
Morgan Smith, Clermont, Fla./Brandy Johnson (Junior)
Shayla Worley, Orlando, Fla./Orlando Metro (Senior)
Randi Lau, Honolulu/What’s Up (Junior)
Shawn Johnson, West Des Moines, Iowa/Chow’s (Senior)