Chicago will take the international stage in February, eight months before it hopes to be named the host city for the 2016 Olympic Games, when it hosts the 2009 Tyson American Cup Gymnastics Invitational.
Chicago 2016 and World Sport Chicago made the announcement Thursday.
Some of the sport’s biggest names are former American Cup all-around gold medalists, including: Paul Hamm, Jason Gatson, Blaine Wilson, John Roethlisberger, Vitaly Scherbo (Belarus), Tim Daggett, Peter Vidmar, Mitsuo Tsukahara (Japan), Kurt Thomas and Bart Conner; and women – Carly Patterson, Elena Zamolodchikova (Russia), Kerri Strug, Dominique Dawes, Shannon Miller, Kim Zmeskal, Kristie Phillips, Mary Lou Retton, Julianne McNamara, Stella Zakarova (USSR), Nadia Comaneci (Romania), Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson.
"I’d like to officially welcome the 2009 Tyson American Cup to the Chicago area and thank USA Gymnastics for selecting our region to host this prestigious event," Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said. "By hosting these championships we have the opportunity to help develop the sport of gymnastics internationally, to celebrate the gymnasts’ accomplishments, to showcase their talents and give them the opportunity to experience all the greatness that the Chicago metropolitan area has to offer."
Legendary Olympic Gymnastics Coach Bela Karolyi was on hand in Chicago to make the announcement. One of the most well-known gymnastics coaches, Karolyi has coached 28 Olympians and nine Olympic champions, including Retton, Comaneci and Strug. Retired from competitive coaching, Karolyi is currently the director of the U.S. Women’s National Training Center and ambassador of the sport. He was also a gymnastics analyst for NBC Sports at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
"We are honored that Chicago will welcome the gymnastics community to this prestigious international competition," Chicago 2016 chairman and CEO Patrick G. Ryan said. "We are thrilled that Chicagoans will have the opportunity to come out and see these top athletes from around the world compete."