CHAMPIONSHIPS SERVE AS OLYMPIC SELECTION EVENT FOR RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS
ST. LOUIS – Oct. 3, 2019 – The Gateway City will be the hub for all things gymnastics in June 2020. One week before the previously announced 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics, St. Louis will host the 2020 USA Gymnastics Championships at the America’s Center Convention Complex and the Dome on June 17-21. The event features more than 1,600 of the nation’s best gymnasts in acrobatic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and trampoline and tumbling. The five-day national championships includes both Junior Olympic and elite levels for all three disciplines. The championships will also serve as the 2020 Olympic selection event for rhythmic gymnastics, and the rhythmic Olympians will be named at the conclusion of the competition.
If the USA qualifies for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in trampoline, the USA Gymnastics Championships will serve as the conclusion of its Olympic selection process, and the U.S. Olympians for trampoline will be named at the event.
“Holding the USA Gymnastics Championships in St. Louis is a great prelude to the Trials,” said Stefanie Korepin, the chief programs officer for USA Gymnastics. “The USA qualified for two individual berths to the Olympic Games for rhythmic gymnastics, and we are hopeful that our gymnasts also will qualify the USA for the Olympics in both trampoline and group rhythmic gymnastics. The championships is the final selection event for rhythmic gymnastics and possibly trampoline, which means all 2020 U.S. Olympians for gymnastics will be nominated in St. Louis.
“Also, the USA Gymnastics Championships provides families with a fun opportunity to watch three exciting gymnastics disciplines that may be new to them and see deserving athletes make the Olympic team,” said Korepin.
The St. Louis Sports Commission serves as host for the competition. 2020 marks the first time St. Louis will hold the USA Gymnastics Championships and the Olympic Trials for both men’s and women’s gymnastics. In 2016, Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis was the site of the Olympic Trials for men’s gymnastics. St. Louis also hosted the women’s national championships that year – and previously hosted USA Gymnastics’ national championships in 2000 and 2012. The region also has been home to several high-profile collegiate competitions, including the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships in 2017 and 2018, and the SEC Gymnastics Championship in 2018.
“We are excited to enhance the experience for the premier gymnasts in acrobatic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and trampoline and tumbling, as they are vying for U.S. titles, as well as spots on the U.S. Olympic Team for rhythmic gymnastics and potentially trampoline,” said Chris Roseman, vice president of the St. Louis Sports Commission. “Hosting the USA Gymnastics Championships the week before the Trials adds to an already exceptional stretch of events for the St. Louis region.”
The senior elite competition is slated for 6:30 p.m. Central on June 19-21. The finals are on June 21, when the senior U.S. champions and national teams, and any Olympians, will be announced. All team nominations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Team are pending approval by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.
The complete competition schedule for the championships will be available in the near future and tickets will go on sale in 2020.
The USA Gymnastics Championships was first held in 2014 at the KFC Yum! Center and the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville. Past sites are Greensboro (N.C.) Coliseum Complex (2015, 2018), Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin’ Donuts Center (2016), Milwaukee’s BMO Harris Bradley Center and Wisconsin Center (2017), and Des Moines’ Iowa Events Center (2019). For more information on the USA Gymnastics Championships, visit usagymchamps.com.
Acrobatic gymnastics combines the beauty of dance with the strength and agility of acrobatics. Routines are choreographed to music and consist of dance, tumbling, and partner skills. At the elite level, each pair or group performs a balance, dynamic and combined routine. Pyramids and partner holds characterize the balance routine, while synchronized tumbling and intricate flight elements define the dynamic exercise. An acrobatic gymnastics pair consists of a base and a top. A women’s group is comprised of three athletes – a base, middle and top partner – while a men’s group has four athletes, a base, two middle partners and one top partner.
Rhythmic gymnastics is characterized by grace, beauty and elegance combined with dance and acrobatic elements, while working with the apparatus in a choreographed routine to music. The five apparatus used in rhythmic gymnastics are rope, hoop, ball, clubs, and ribbon. Rhythmic gymnasts may compete individually or as a group. The choreography must cover the entire floor with intricate apparatus handling, dance combinations, jumps, leaps, rotations, and balance difficulties. Each movement involves a high degree of athletic skill. Physical abilities needed by a rhythmic gymnast include strength, power, flexibility, agility, dexterity, endurance and hand-eye coordination.
Trampoline events involve athletes using trampolines that can propel them up more than 30 feet in the air, during which they can perform double and triple twisting somersaults. Tumbling utilizes elevated rod-floor runways that enable athletes to jump at heights more than 10 feet and execute a variety of acrobatic maneuvers. For the double-mini competition, the athlete makes a short run, leaps onto a small two-level trampoline, performs an aerial maneuver and dismounts onto a landing mat. Trampoline was added to the Olympic Games in 2000, and at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the USA had its first athlete in history advance to the finals.