This year’s P&G Gymnastics Championships includes a wide variety of activities and opportunities for fans, citizens of Hartford, and USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show attendees in conjunction with the competition, scheduled for Aug. 15-18 at the XL Center.
The competition schedule is:
Aug. 15 – women’s gymnastics, juniors at 1 p.m. and seniors at 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 16 – men’s gymnastics, juniors at 1 p.m. and seniors at 7 p.m.
Aug. 17 – women’s gymnastics, juniors at 2 p.m. and seniors at 7:30 p.m
Aug. 18 – men’s gymnastics, seniors at 11:30 a.m. and juniors at 6:30 p.m.
Times listed are Eastern. Tickets are on sale now.
Some of the special activities include morning fitness at the Old State House, the Capital City’s Taste of the Championships, and a special historical display at the XL Center, which is part of USA Gymnastics’ 50th anniversary celebration. In addition, members of the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame, including the Fierce FiveSM and the 2007 Women’s World Championships Team, and the entire 2012 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team will be acknowledged during the P&G Championships, which features the country’s top gymnasts vying for national titles and berths on the U.S. National Team.
“During the four days of the P&G Championships, the city of Hartford will enjoy world-class gymnastics, as well as a variety of fun activities,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “To celebrate our 50th anniversary, we are hosting a museum that traces our 50 years of champions, and we will be recognizing the individuals and athletes who have built our success.
“We also will be acknowledging our Hall of Famers, including the 2013 class with the Fierce Five and the 2007 Women’s World Team, during the competition,” said Penny. “And on Saturday night, we will have our entire 2012 Olympic gymnastics squad together to celebrate their success last year in London. This is going to be an incredibly special week.”
The following is a quick overview of the fan activities available during the P&G Championships.
- Morning fitness. Downtown workers and fans can start the day off right by joining gymnastics coaches and celebrities for a free morning workout, led by local Hartford fitness fanatics and Olympian John Macready, at the Old State House. On Thursday, Aug. 15, and Friday, Aug. 16, USA Gymnastics is hosting “Get up, get fit!”, a morning fitness session from 6:30-7:30 a.m. Thursday’s session features a boot camp and Pilates, with Friday’s session including a boot camp and yoga. Companies making the sessions possible are P&G, Under Armour, Hartford Healthcare, Civic Mind, Downtown Yoga and Whole Foods.
- Capital City’s Taste of the Championships. Six restaurants are creating special menu items as part of the Capital City’s Taste of the Championships. From Aug. 15-17, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and legendary gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi will review and taste the signature dishes, which are also being reviewed by a nutritionist with USA Gymnastics’ partner St. Vincent Sports Performance to determine the healthiest dish. The six restaurants are: Agave, 100 Allyn St.; City Steam Brewery Café, 942 Main St.; DISH Bar & Grill, 900 Main St.; Feng Asian Bistro, 93 Asylum St.; Max Downtown, 185 Asylum St.; and Salute, 100 Trumbull St., #2.
- “Let’s Eat.” “Let’s Eat” is a network of 10 Hartford restaurants that are offering a 20-percent discount to P&G Championships ticket and credential holders, as well as those with a USA Gymnastics Congress credential. For a list of the “Let’s Eat” restaurants, go to PGChamps.com.
- USA Gymnastics 50th anniversary museum, celebrating 50 years of champions. Open to the general public, the museum will feature a combination of pictures, historical items, mementoes and videos that tell the story of USA Gymnastics and its first 50 years of accomplishments and champions. It will also include historical leotards from GK Elite and equipment from AAI. The museum is open from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 15, to Saturday, Aug. 17, and from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18. Admission is free.
- USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame. Also at the XL Center, the 2007 Women’s World Championships Team and women’s gymnastics members of the Hall of Fame will be recognized for their achievements on Thursday, Aug. 15, with the men’s Hall of Famers introduced on Friday, Aug. 16. The Fierce Five and the 2007 Women’s World Championships Team are members of the 2013 class of the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame. The members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Women’s Team, aka the Fierce Five, are Gabrielle Douglas of Virginia Beach, Va./Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance, McKayla Maroney of Long Beach, Calif./All-Olympia Gymnastics, Aly Raisman of Needham, Mass./Brestyan’s American Gymnastics, Kyla Ross of Aliso Viejo, Calif./Gym-Max, and Jordyn Wieber of DeWitt, Mich./Gedderts’ Twistars USA. The 2007 World Championships Team includes Ivana Hong of Laguna Hills, Calif., Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines, Iowa, Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas, Samantha Peszek of Indianapolis, Ind., Alicia Sacramone of Winchester, Mass., and Shayla Worley of Orlando, along with alternate Bridget Sloan of Pittsboro, Ind.
- 2012 Olympic reunion. Fans will get to see Fierce Five reunited with the other eight Olympians, and the alternates, for the first time since last fall’s conclusion of the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions, and help USA Gymnastics celebrate their accomplishments on Saturday, Aug. 17, at the XL Center. The members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team are: women –Douglas, Maroney, Raisman, Ross and Wieber; men – Jake Dalton of Reno, Nev./University of Oklahoma, Jonathan Horton of Houston/Team Hilton HHonors (Cypress Gymnastics), Danell Leyva of Miami/Team Hilton HHonors (Universal Gymnastics), Sam Mikulak of Newport Coast, Calif./University of Michigan, and John Orozco of the Bronx/Team Hilton HHonors (U.S. Olympic Training Center); rhythmic gymnastics – Julie Zetlin of Bethesda, Md.; and trampoline – Steven Gluckstein of Atlantic Highlands, N.J./ETA, and Savannah Vinsant of Lafayette, La./T&T Express. The replacement athletes who will be in attendance are: women – Sarah Finnegan of St. Louis, Mo./Great American Gymnastics Express, Anna Li of Aurora, Ill./Legacy Elite Gymnastics, and Elizabeth Price of Coopersburg, Pa./Parkettes National Gymnastics Center; men –Christopher Brooks of Houston/Team Hilton HHonors (Cypress Academy of Gymnastics), Steven Legendre of Port Jefferson, N.Y./Team Hilton HHonors (University of Oklahoma), and Alexander Naddour of Gilbert, Ariz./Team Hilton HHonors (USA Youth Fitness Center); and trampoline – Logan Dooley of Lake Forest, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics, and Dakota Earnest of Plains, Texas/Acrospirits.
- USA Gymnastics Fitness Zone. Kids can have fun and gain knowledge about the importance of fitness through the interactive USA Gymnastics Fitness Zone. The zone features activities in building strength, flexibility and cardiovascular exercise. The Fitness Zone will be featured on the concourse at the XL Center.
- Other opportunities on the concourse. Hilton will have its digital Dream Wall and autograph sessions with members of Hilton Team HHonors. Under Armour will have leotards on display in the rotunda.
- WGYM. WGYM, the in-house radio broadcast for men’s and women’s gymnastics, provides running commentary on the competition, as well as fun facts about the sport and the competitors. Radios will be available at the XL Center.
- Merchandise. Fans can purchase everything gymnastics from event-specific tees to 50th anniversary merchandise at the XL Center.
For more information on the fan activities and the 50th anniversary, go to PGChamps.com.
About P&G Gymnastics Championships: The P&G Championships, previously known as the Visa Championships, determine U.S. champions and the U.S. national team for the junior and senior elite levels. Orozco and Wieber won the men’s and women’s U.S. all-around titles, respectively, at the 2012 nationals. The roster of former U.S. all-around champions is a veritable who’s who of gymnastics, including: women –Liukin, Johnson, Carly Patterson, Courtney Kupets, Shannon Miller, Dominique Dawes, Kim Zmeskal and Mary Lou Retton; and men – Paul Hamm, Blaine Wilson, John Roethlisberger, Mitch Gaylord, Peter Vidmar and Bart Conner. The U.S. Gymnastics Championships traces its history back to 1897 for the men and 1931 for the women.
The 49th Annual USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show is a three-day educational event open to the entire gymnastics community. Held in conjunction with the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, National Congress provides a unique opportunity for presentations, demonstrations and educational seminars on a variety of topics and a large exhibitor’s hall with additional business opportunities.
Hartford hosted both the national championships and USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show in 2010.
The Connecticut Convention Center:. The Connecticut Convention Center, which has more than 205,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space, is the site for the USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show. The facility offers an outdoor esplanade overlooking the Connecticut River and is connected to both the Hartford Marriott Downtown and the Connecticut Science Center.
XL Center: The XL Center, managed by Global Spectrum (a division of Comcast Spectacor), will host two days of competition for both men's and women's gymnastics. The XL Center is home to the University of Connecticut Men's & Women's Basketball teams along with the Hartford Wolf Pack, the American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Rangers. In addition to resident teams, the XL Center entertains millions of visitors annually with a variety of concerts, family shows, sporting events, consumer & trade shows. The XL Center is Connecticut's home for premier sports & entertainment.
USA Gymnastics: Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. Originally called the U.S. Gymnastics Federation, the USGF was established in Tucson, Ariz., and opened its first office in the home of Frank Bare, the new executive director, in January 1963. The Board of Directors began the task of creating a viable national program for gymnastics in the United States. Due to the hard work of U.S. gymnastics pioneers – Frank Bare, Paul Fina, Harold Frey, Charlie Pond and Gene Wettstone, to name a few – the USGF replaced the Amateur Athletic Union as the sport’s national governing body and gained membership in the International Gymnastics Federation in 1970. The USGF began doing business as USA Gymnastics in 1993. Trampoline and tumbling joined USA Gymnastics in 1999, just prior to trampoline’s addition to the Olympic program, and acrobatic gymnastics became the newest discipline in 2002. During the last 50 years, the sport has grown by leaps and bounds. Today, approximately 127,000 athletes and professionals and nearly 2,500 clubs are members of USA Gymnastics. That number includes more than 96,000 athletes registered in competitive programs. Its disciplines include men's and women's artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, acrobatic gymnastics and group gymnastics. For more information, log on to www.usagym.org