INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., Aug. 5, 2010 – USA Gymnastics has awarded the Visa Championships, the national governing body’s premier annual championships, to Saint Paul, Minn., and St. Louis, Mo., in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Both events will have coverage on NBC Sports and Universal Sports.

“Both Saint Paul and St. Louis have been outstanding locations for the Visa Championships,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “The partners in these communities have demonstrated a fondness for gymnastics and are ready to showcase our country’s top athletes once again. We look forward to bringing the Visa Championships to these two great cities.”

“We’re proud to support the Visa Championships, the premier gymnastics competition in the United States,” said Michael Lynch, head of global sponsorship management, Visa Inc. “Our support for USA Gymnastics is a key component of our global Olympic Games partnership, and we’re looking forward to bringing the event to Saint Paul and St Louis.”

National champions and national teams are determined annually at the Visa Championships. For 2011, the Visa Championships will feature men’s and women’s gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics. The four-day competition is scheduled for Aug. 17-20. Men’s and women’s gymnastics will be staged at Xcel Energy Center, with rhythmic gymnastics at Roy Wilkins Auditorium. The USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show, held at Saint Paul RiverCentre, is the annual gathering of professional members that offers educational and business sessions, a large exhibitors’ hall and other business and educational opportunities. The Saint Paul complex played host to the successful 2006 Visa Championships and National Congress and Trade Show. This will be the third time USA Gymnastics’ national championships has visited the Twin Cities.

“We are thrilled and honored to once again host the Visa Championships,” said Jack Larson, vice president and general manager of Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn. “We have one of the most avid gymnastics communities in the country and a strong regional base of community support, both of which have been instrumental in our successful history of hosting this incredible event. In partnership with Visit Saint Paul and USA Gymnastics, we look forward to producing another unforgettable event and showcasing the nation’s best gymnasts in Saint Paul.”

In 2012, the Visa Championships returns to St. Louis for the first time since 2000 and only the second time in the event’s history. The 2012 Visa Championships, which will feature men’s and women’s gymnastics, are scheduled for June 7-10 at the Chaifetz Arena at Saint Louis University. The St. Louis Sports Commission is the host organization for the four-day competition.

“As an organization dedicated to celebrating St. Louis’ Olympic legacy, we’re honored to have the opportunity to host the nation’s top gymnasts leading up to the 2012 Games in London,” said Sports Commission President Frank Viverito. “We have great memories of the 2000 national championships held in St. Louis, and we’re thrilled to partner with USA Gymnastics once again. We look forward to working with our colleagues at Chaifetz Arena to deliver an exceptional event to help America’s team in 2012.”

The Visa Championships, the national championships for the sport, traces its history back to 1897 for the men and 1931 for the women. Details on the 2012 rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling national championships will be announced at a later date. Those interested in priority seating for the 2011 Visa Championships in Saint Paul can download the ticket package reservation form located on the Visa Championships event page at Tickets for the 2012 Visa Championships are expected to go on sale in 2011.

Background information

  • Xcel Energy Center. Regarded as one of the finest arenas in the world, Xcel Energy Center is home to the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, the NLL’s Minnesota Swarm and a multitude of premier sports and entertainment events annually. The one-of-a-kind, multi-purpose facility is located in the heart of downtown Saint Paul, owned by the City of Saint Paul and managed by the Saint Paul Arena Company, an affiliate of Minnesota Sports & Entertainment. For more information, visit

  • Chaifetz Arena at the Saint Louis University. Chaifetz Arena ( is a 10,600-seat multipurpose venue on the campus of Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. Managed by Global Spectrum, Chaifetz Arena is the home to the Saint Louis University Billikens Men’s and Women’s Basketball and 150 concerts, family shows and special events per year. The $81-million arena opened in April 2008 and features a 20,000 square foot event floor, 14 suites, two party decks, two multi-purpose rooms, and a 4,700 square foot club on the event floor. Global Spectrum ( is the fastest growing firm in the public assembly facility management field with more than 85 facilities throughout the United States and Canada. The Philadelphia-based company is part of one of the world’s largest sports and entertainment companies, Comcast-Spectacor, which also owns the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League and the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association.

  • St. Louis Sports Commission. The St. Louis Sports Commission is the privately funded nonprofit organization that makes St. Louis a better place to live, visit, work and play through sports. Its efforts focus on attracting, creating and managing major sporting events for the St. Louis region – and contributing to its quality of life. Since its inception in 1989, the organization has produced a diverse lineup of high-profile events that excite area sports fans, generate revenue for the region and garner positive exposure for St. Louis. The Sports Commission hosted the Visa Championships in 2000 and has played integral roles in other recent Olympic events staged in St. Louis. A catalyst for civic benefit, economic development and charitable good, the Sports Commission has been recognized as a leader in its industry and its community.