Kick-off celebration on June 10 marks beginning of elite competition at 2016 USA Gymnastics Championships

PROVIDENCE, R.I., June 8, 2016 – The USA Gymnastics Championships Kick-off Celebration presented by iHeart Media on Friday, June 10, at 4 p.m. will mark the beginning of the elite competition at the USA Gymnastics Championships at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. Plenty of family fun, along with the street renaming, is planned prior to the 6 p.m. start of the national championships for rhythmic gymnastics, acrobatic gymnastics and trampoline/tumbling. The 2016 USA Gymnastics Championships is the Olympic selection event for rhythmic gymnastics and men’s and women’s trampoline for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Senior elite competition at the USA Gymnastics Championships is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET June 10-12. At the conclusion of the senior competition on June 12, USA Gymnastics will name the U.S. rhythmic group and the first three individual members of gymnastics’ 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, pending approval by the United States Olympic Committee: one for individual rhythmic gymnastics and two for trampoline (one male and one female). The U.S. group, which qualified to the Games outright, will identify its five-person roster.

The senior elite field includes several defending champions: rhythmic gymnastics – Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics, looking for consecutive U.S. all-around, hoop, clubs and ribbon titles; trampoline – 2012 Olympian Steven Gluckstein of Atlantic Highlands/Elite Trampoline Academy, and Clare Johnson of Huntsville, Ala./The Matrix Gym, Inc.; tumbling – Yuliya Brown of Idaho, Falls, Idaho/Idaho Elite Gymnastics, seeking her fourth straight and seventh overall women’s title; and acrobatic gymnastics – Axel Osborne and Tiffani Williams, both of Beaumont, Calif./Realis Gymnastics Academy, the 2016 World acrobatic mixed pair silver medalists.

The Kick-off Celebration, held outside on the street between the Hilton Providence and the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on June 10, is a fun gathering for athletes and fans alike leading into the first night of the senior elite competition. The celebration begins at 4 p.m. Free to the public, activities include DJs, an inflatable obstacle course, temporary face tattoos, local mascots, carnival games and the University Orthopedic Art in Motion booth, to name a few. As part of the celebration, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny will be on hand to rename the street, “Rhode to Gold.”

Scheduled for June 8-13, the six-day championships includes both Junior Olympic and elite levels and is one of the national championships held annually by USA Gymnastics. In addition to the junior and senior elite competition June 10-12 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Junior Olympic sessions run all six days at the Rhode Island Convention Center.

For the junior and senior elite levels for each discipline, the athletes are vying for national titles. Performances will determine berths on the junior and senior U.S. National Teams for rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling. The Junior Olympic division has several different levels, and national titles will be awarded for each level and age group for each discipline. The Junior Olympic levels for each of the disciplines are: acrobatic gymnastics – Levels 6-10; rhythmic gymnastics – Levels 7-8; and trampoline and tumbling – Levels 8-10.

The Dunkin’ Donuts Center competition schedule, which is outlined below and subject to change, has the junior and senior elites competing June 10-12. For a complete schedule, please visit

Friday, June 10

  • 1:30 p.m. – Rhythmic gymnastics, junior event/all-around finals and senior elite preliminaries/event finals
  • 6 p.m. – Acrobatic gymnastics, junior and senior elite preliminaries; Rhythmic gymnastics, senior elite all-around preliminaries and event finals; Tumbling and double mini-trampoline, senior elite preliminaries

Saturday, June 11

  • 1:30 p.m. – Rhythmic gymnastics, junior event/all-around finals and senior elite preliminaries/event finals
  • 6 p.m. – Acrobatic gymnastics, junior and senior elite preliminaries; Rhythmic gymnastics, senior elite all-around preliminaries/event finals; Trampoline, senior elite preliminaries

Sunday, June 12

  • 1:30 p.m. – Rhythmic gymnastics, senior elite all-around finals (two events)
  • 6 p.m. – Acrobatic gymnastics, junior and senior elite finals; Rhythmic gymnastics, senior elite all-around finals; Trampoline, tumbling and double mini-trampoline, senior elite finals

On sale now, evening session tickets at 6 p.m. at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center are: $25, June 10-11; and $30, June 12. The all-session pass, which grants access to all sessions at both venues, is $80. Tickets may be purchased at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center Box Office,, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 1-800-745-3000. For the events at the Rhode Island Convention Center, a $30, single-day pass will be available onsite on competition days, and on June 10-12, the all-day pass also includes access to the junior elite sessions at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. For special pricing for gymnastics clubs, contact Aimee Sickmeier with USA Gymnastics at [email protected].

USA Gymnastics will provide live webcast coverage of the three evening sessions with expert analysis from acrobatic gymnastics World gold medalist Arthur Davis, six-time U.S. rhythmic gymnastics all-around champion Rebecca Sereda, and former trampoline and tumbling U.S. National Team member Peter Dodd. The webcasts of the senior elite competition will be available on the USA Gymnastics YouTube channel or Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6-9 p.m. ET. Former NCAA and Big Ten gymnastics champion Evan Heiter will join Davis, Sereda and Dodd as the host. The webcasts will be available worldwide free of charge on

The local partners for the event are the Rhode Island Sports Commission and the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority.

About the disciplines

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 ribbons, balls, hoops, ropes and clubs in a choreographed routine to music. The choreography must cover the entire floor and contain a balance of jumps, leaps, pivots, balances and flexibility movements. Only four of the apparatus are competed each quad, and the four for 2016 are hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon for seniors and hoop, ball, clubs and rope for juniors. 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 to 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.

Background information

  • Rhode Island Sports Commission. The Rhode Island Sports Commission is a division of the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau whose mission is to enrich the Rhode Island economy and community through the attraction, promotion and development of sporting events and associated meetings. For more information, visit

  • Rhode Island Convention Center Authority. Located in the heart of downtown Providence, the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority operates the Rhode Island Convention & Entertainment Complex, which includes the Rhode Island Convention Center (RICC), two parking garages, Dunkin’ Donuts Center (DDC), and Veterans Memorial Auditorium (The Vets). The Authority, governed by an eleven-member board of commissioners, works with several marketing partners to book its facilities, including SMG, which manages the DDC and RICC, Professional Facilities Management (PFM), which manages The Vets, and the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau (PWCVB).