Blaine Wilson invited to Compete in Final Event
McClure and Schwikert to compete in RCA Gymnastics Challenge

Las Vegas, Nev. – Four-time U.S. national champion Blaine Wilson (Columbus, Ohio) has been invited to compete in the 2000 Visa American Cup, USA Gymnastics announced today. Wilson, the three-time defending champion of the event, has been granted a special exemption into the final competition of the Visa American Cup Series by USA Gymnastics President, Bob Colarossi.

“Blaine is an important part of the history of the Visa American Cup,” said Colarossi. “This is America’s premier showcase of our athletes prior to the 2000 Olympic Games, and Blaine deserves an opportunity to be the only four-time champion.”
The exemption from participating in the qualifying events has been granted based on Wilson’s recovery from minor shoulder surgery following the 1999 World Championships. Wilson was 4th in the men’s individual all-around at the Worlds, missing the bronze medal by only 1/1000th of a point.
Wilson is training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, but the timing of the RCA Gymnastics Challenge and the Aussie Haircare Gymnastics Invitational were earlier than his fitness allows. The Visa American Cup is scheduled for February 26, in Orlando, Florida.
“My training has been going very well and I have every intention of competing in the Visa American Cup,” said Wilson. “This is my event, and I expect to defend my title. It will be an important statement as we get ready for the Olympics.”
To allow for Wilson’s participation, USA Gymnastics has modified the qualification format for the series. Now, only the top-scoring U.S. male from the combined events will advance to the final. Originally, the top-scoring U.S. male from each of the two qualifying events advanced. Should Wilson not be ready to compete, the original format will remain intact. Wilson the only athlete who will receive an exemption.
The RCA Gymnastics Challenge is today in Las Vegas, and is the first of the Visa American Cup Series events. Two American athletes, Brett McClure (Mill Creek, Wash.) and Tasha Schwikert (Las Vegas, Nev.) have been added to the line-up for the RCA Gymnastics Challenge to replace two Ukrainian gymnasts who experienced delays traveling to the United States.