Townsend earns Silver; Uzelac earns Bronze
Orlando, Fla. – Blaine Wilson, five-time national champion and two-time Olympian, earned his fourth Visa American Cup title today in Orlando with a score of 56.3. Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist Elena Zamolodchikova (RUS) won the women’s crown with a score of 36.755.

“For the first international meet of the year, it was a good representation for the U.S.A., ” commented Wilson, moments after being presented the title. “It was a great meet. The margins we won by shed a lot of light on USA Gymnastics.”
“My goal was to come out and hit my routines,” Wilson added. I’m looking forward to the Goodwill Games and the Worlds. I wasn’t as sharp as I would have liked, but overall I was happy with my performance.”
“I am very happy with today’s performance but there are still skills to improve,” said Zamolodchikova through a translator. “The crowd was better than ever. It was really great to see all the support for me.”
Earning all-around silver medals were 2000 Olympians Sean Townsend with 56.2 and Laura Martinez (ESP), with 36.573. Two-time U.S. Junior National Champion Kristal Uzelac (Johnstown, Pa.) and defending Visa American Cup Champion Eric Lopez finished in third. Uzelac scored 35.599 while Lopez scored 53.100.
“I am very satisfied since I did not expect to do well. I haven’t been training much due to a back injury,” said Townsend. “My floor routine was new and with the new code I had to add more skills. I now have the confidence to do well, and I’m going to give Blaine (Wilson) a run for his money! I am ready to take on the leadership role in Hawaii (for the Pontiac American Team Cup).”
“I am really excited because I didn’t think I would get a medal, but am very happy I did,” said Uzelac. “I had a little bit of shakiness everywhere but I can fix that. I can’t wait for more competitions this year.”
U.S. national team member Ashley Kelly (Tulsa, Okla.) placed sixth with a score of 34.949.
“I was very happy with my performance considering I didn’t expect to be competing,” said Kelly. “This was a great learning experience for me and a lot of fun.”

Fourteen stars from the Sydney Olympic Games competed in Orlando. Following was the roster of U.S. and international competitors:


Blaine Wilson (USA)- 2000 and 1996 Olympian, Three-time Visa American Cup champion, Five-time U.S. National Champion
Sean Townsend (USA)- 2000 Olympian, 1999 World Championships Team Member
Eric Lopez Rios (CUB)- 2000 Visa American Cup Champion, 2000 Olympian, Three-time Pan American Games Champion
Alexei Bondarenko (RUS)- 2000 Olympic Bronze Medalist (team), 1999 and 1997 World Championships Medalist, 2000 and 1998 European Championships Gold Medalist
Marian Dragulescu (ROM)- 2000 Olympian and 1999 World Championships Team Member
Oleksandr Beresh (UKR)- 2000 Olympic Bronze Medalist in All-Around, 2000 European Championships All-Around Gold Medalist
Yann Cucherat (FRA)- 2000 Olympian, 2000 French National Champion
Victor Cano (ESP)- 2000 Olympian


Kristal Uzelac (USA)- 2000 and 1999 U.S. Junior National Champion
Ashley Kelly (USA)- U.S. Senior National Team Member
Elena Zamolodchikova (RUS)- 2000 Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist
Laura Martinez (ESP)- 2000 Olympian, 1999 World Championships Team Member
Monica Bergamelli (ITA)- 2000 Olympian, 1999 World Championships Team Member
Camila Comin (BRA)- 2000 Olympian
Kate Richardson (CAN)- 2000 Olympian, 1999 World Championships Team Member
2000 Olympian Alena Polozkova of Belarus withdrew from the 2001 Visa American Cup due to an injury to her right ankle.
The 2001 Visa American Cup was one of the first international meets to compete the new Code of Points for this Olympic quadrennium. Created by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), the Code of Points are the rules and requirements that govern the sport of gymnastics. The new Code of Points for the present Olympic quadrennium went into effect January 1, 2001 and are valid until 2004.
The Visa American Cup awarded $70,000 in total prize money, making it one of the wealthiest and most respected international gymnastics competitions in the world.
The event was televised live on NBC Sports from 4:00-6:00 p.m.
This marks the sixth year that Orlando has hosted the event, a testament to the strong community support for gymnastics. Orlando hosted the Visa American Cup in 2000, the 25th anniversary of the event, as well as from 1991-1994.
The Visa American Cup, which began in 1976 to celebrate the United States Bicentennial, has a rich history that includes the world’s greatest gymnasts among its champions. Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci were crowned the champions in 1976 and other past champions include Mary Lou Retton, Shannon Miller, Kurt Thomas and Peter Vidmar.