USA Gymnastics has selected the sites for the three 2018 Junior Olympic championship events for women’s gymnastics: U.S. Junior Olympic National Championships, Cincinnati, Ohio; Junior Olympic Level 9 Eastern Championships, Rochester N.Y.; and Junior Olympic Level 9 Western Championships, Salt Lake City, Utah. The Junior Olympics is USA Gymnastics’ age-group, developmental program, and these three events feature the country’s top female gymnasts for Levels 9 and 10.
“The level of talent in our Junior Olympic program is at an all-time high, and I am confident these three communities will provide an exceptional experience for both athletes and fans,” said Rhonda Faehn, senior vice president of women’s program for USA Gymnastics.
The U.S. Junior Olympic National Championships is the culmination of the competitive season for Level 10, the highest Junior Olympic skill level that is just below the elite level. The Eastern and Western Championships serve as the pinnacle for Level 9. More details for each of the championship events are outlined below.
Numerous Junior Olympic champions and medalists have gone on to make the U.S. National Team and represent the United States in international competition and/or to compete in collegiate gymnastics. Many of the country’s top gymnasts are former participants in the Junior Olympic program, including the 2016 Olympic gold-medal winning Final Five (Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian, and Aly Raisman), 2012 Olympic team champions Jordyn Wieber and Kyla Ross, 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin and 2008 Olympic balance beam champion Shawn Johnson, to name a few.
U.S. Junior Olympic National Championships: Held at the Duke Energy Convention Center, the U.S. Junior Olympic National Championships is scheduled for May 11-13, and expected to showcase over 675 gymnasts.
USA Gymnastics is staging the event in conjunction with the Cincinnati Sports Commission.
“Duke Energy Convention Center is a great location to host this prestigious national event for our hotels and restaurants, and we know that these guests will enjoy themselves while they are in our area,” said Leslie Spencer, Cincinnati USA Sports Commission’s executive director. “This event win also strengthens our region’s character and ability to capture our fair share of the amateur sports market.”
The Junior Olympic National Championships is the culmination event for the competitive season. The competition features 12 age divisions (Junior A, Junior B, Junior C, Junior D, Junior E, Junior F, Senior A, Senior B, Senior C, Senior D, Senior E and Senior F), which are determined by birth date. These gymnasts are vying to become Junior Olympic national champions in the all-around, as well as in all four events: vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. The competition schedule will be determined closer to the event.
USA Gymnastics has eight regions, and the top seven gymnasts from each region’s Regional Championships advance to nationals. The winning regions will also be determined at the conclusion of the competition. The top four all-around athletes in each age division qualify to the 2018 Junior Olympic National Team and are invited to attend a national training camp at the USA Gymnastics National Team Training Center in Huntsville, Texas.
The states that comprise each region are: Region 1 -- Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah; Region 2 – Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington; Region 3 – Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming; Region 4 – Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin; Region 5 – Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio; Region 6 – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont; Region 7 – Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia; and Region 8 – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee.
Junior Olympic Level 9 Eastern and Western Championships: Slated for May 3-6, the Eastern and Western Championships are the competitive season's finale and feature the best gymnasts in the country for Level 9. The 2018 Junior Olympic Level 9 Eastern Championships are headed to Gordon Fieldhouse at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and the Junior Olympic Level 9 Western Championships go to the South Towne Expo Center.
“We’re excited to welcome the some of the nation’s best and most talented gymnasts to Rochester for the 2018 Junior Olympic Level 9 Eastern Championships,” said Don Jeffries, president and chief executive officer of Visit Rochester. “As visiting athletes and their families will soon discover, Rochester is the perfect backdrop for the Eastern Championships.”
“We are pleased to have the Junior Olympic Level 9 Western Championships here in Salt Lake City,” said Jeff Robbins, president and chief executive officer of the Utah Sports Commission. “Utah has a tremendous following with an active and robust gymnastic community. This event will continue to build upon Utah’s Olympic Legacy and enhance our positioning in the Olympic movement.”
The Monroe County Sports Commission, Visit Rochester and Rochester Gymnastics Academy are organizing the Eastern Championships, which feature 16 age divisions that are determined by birthdate. The Eastern Championships include the top gymnasts from USA Gymnastics Regions 5-8. The states that comprise each region are: Region 5 – Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio; Region 6 – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont; Region 7 – Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia; and Region 8 – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee.
The Western Championships, which feature sixteen age divisions determined by birthdate, will be hosted by Performance Plus Events, Visit Salt Lake, and the Utah Sports Commission. The Level 9 Western Championships showcases the top gymnasts from Regions 1-4. The states that comprise each region are: Region 1 -- Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah; Region 2 – Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington; Region 3 – Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming; and Region 4 – Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin.
Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. Its mission is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in the sport. Its disciplines include men's and women's artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, acrobatic gymnastics, and Gymnastics for All (formerly known as group gymnastics). For more information, log on www.usagym.org.