Fans attending the U.S. Olympic Team Trials-Gymnastics at the Wachovia Center June 19 to 22 are encouraged to arrive two hours prior to the start of each event to participate in the Visa Fan Fest, free with each ticket. It is located outside the AT&T; Pavilion on the 11th Street side. The area will be open 5 to 7 p.m. June 19 and 20, 1 to 3 p.m. June 21 and 4 to 6 p.m. June 22. It will reopen following competition Saturday and Sunday.
Legendary gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi, 1984 Olympic champion Mary Lou Retton and 2004 Olympic all-around champion Carly Patterson are among the celebrities who will participate in the family-friendly activities. There will be autograph sessions, contests, interactive games, food and more. Patterson will perform songs from her album set to be released in August. Kids can have fun and gain knowledge through the interactive Tyson Fitness Challenge Zone. The course features activity in building strength, flexibility, cadiovascular exercise and good nutrition.
Making the cut
When the U.S. Olympic Team Trials-Gymnastics come to a close Sunday evening, the two top-finishing males and females will be automatically named to the 2008 U.S. Olympic team. The final teams heading to Beijing will be determined at separate training camps in July, with trial finishes weighing heavily on the selection.
Competing close to home
Two athletes from South Jersey have qualified to compete in the trials. Darling Hill of Mount Laurel will battle for a spot on the women’s side. Sean Golden, a native of Camden, is a member of the USA Gymnastics Senior National team. He placed second in the vault at last month’s Visa Championships.
Live from the trials
From June 19 to 22, Sports Writer Bill Gelman and Managing Editor Jess Fuerst will blog live from the Wachovia Center as the action unfolds. Visit www.southphillysports.wordpress.com and www.sprgymnastics.wordpress.com for all the coverage.