USA Gymnastics Announces 2000 Aussie Haircare Gymnastics Invitational Competitors
Olympians John Roethlisberger and John Macready Expected to Compete in Second Event of Visa American Cup Series

Indianapolis, Ind. – Olympians John Roethlisberger and John Macready, along with 1999 U.S. World Team Member Elise Ray and American Tasha Schwikert will challenge top international talent from China, Romania, Bulgaria, Australia and Ukraine in the Aussie Haircare Gymnastics Invitational on January 29, the second of three events in USA Gymnastics’ inaugural Visa American Cup Series, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Visa American Cup.

“The Aussie Haircare Gymnastics Invitational is a wonderful opportunity to preview the world’s finest gymnasts, many of whom will compete in the 2000 Olympic Games next summer,” said Bob Colarossi, President of USA Gymnastics.
The United States is represented in the Aussie Haircare Gymnastics Invitational by 1992 and 1996 Olympian John Roethlisberger and 1996 Olympian John Macready. On the women’s side, Elise Ray, the eighth place all-around finisher (highest U.S. finish) at the 1999 World Championships, and Tasha Schwikert, who placed seventh at the 1999 World Team Trials, are expected to participate.
Internationally, 1996 Olympian Jordan Jovtchev (BUL), a bronze medalist in the all-around competition at the 1999 World Championships, and Allana Slater (AUS), ninth place in the all-around and fifth place in team competition at the 1999 World Championships, are expected to provide strong competition.

Following is the complete line-up of athletes scheduled to compete in the Aussie Haircare Gymnastics Invitational in St. Petersburg, Fla., at the Bayfront Arena on January 29:


John Macready, 24,USA, Los Angeles, Calif./San Diego, Calif., University of Minnesota
John Roethlisberger, 29, USA, Falcon Heights, Minn., University of Minnesota
Dmitri Kasperovitch, Belarus
Jordan Jovtchev, Bulgaria
Li Dezhi, China
Igor Cassina, Italy
Diego Lizardi, Puerto Rico
Marian Dragulescu, Romania


Elise Ray, 17, USA, Columbia, Md., Hill’s Gymnastics
Tasha Schwikert, 15, USA, Las Vegas, Nev., Gymcats
Allana Slater, Australia
Liu Wei, China
Monica Bergamelli, Italy
Miho Takenaka, Japan
Monique Nuijten, Netherlands
Inha Shkarupa, Ukraine
Four-time U.S. national champion Blaine Wilson (Columbus, Ohio, Team Texaco-USOTC) has been invited directly to the 2000 Visa American Cup. 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.
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 fourth in the men’s individual all-around at the World’s, missing the bronze medal by only 1/1000th of a point.

RCA Gymnastics Challenge

The RCA Gymnastics Challenge was held Friday, January 14, in Las Vegas, and was the first of the Visa American Cup Series events. Russia’s Alexey Bondarenko and Elena Produnova were crowned champions, thus advancing to the Visa American Cup. Top American finishers were Jay Thornton (Augusta, Ga.) and Morgan White (Cincinnati, Ohio), placing third and fourth respectively. For detailed results of the RCA Gymnastics Challenge see RCA Gymnastics Challenge Results

Visa American Cup Series Schedule

  • January 14, 2000- RCA Gymnastics Challenge, Las Vegas, Nev., MGM Grand Garden Arena
  • January 29, 2000- Aussie Haircare Gymnastics Invitational, St. Petersburg, Fla., Bayfront Arena
  • February 26, 2000- Visa American Cup, Orlando, Fla., Orlando Arena

Competition Format

The competition format is as follows: eight men and eight women compete in the all-around competition, at each event. The three highest ranking international athletes from the RCA Gymnastics Challenge and the Aussie Haircare Gymnastics Invitational advance to the Visa American Cup. The top American female athlete from both events advances to the Visa American Cup.
To allow for Wilson’s participation, USA Gymnastics has modified the men’s qualification format for the series. Now, only the top-scoring U.S. male from 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 is the only athlete who will receive an exemption.
The Visa American Cup Series will award over $150,000 in total prize money throughout the three events.

Visa American Cup History

The Visa American Cup has a rich history that includes the world’s greatest gymnasts among its champions, including 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Bart Conner and 1976 Olympic Gold Medalist Nadia Comaneci, who were crowned the champions in 1976, the inaugural year of the event. Past champions also include 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Mary Lou Retton, 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Shannon Miller, 1978 and 1979 World Championships Gold Medalist Kurt Thomas and 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Peter Vidmar.