National gymnastics 2014 championships set for Consol Energy Center

USA championships expected to be held here in August 2014

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Pittsburgh will play host to the USA Gymnastics National Championships over multiple days in August 2014 at the Consol Energy Center, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has learned.

Tourism group VisitPittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Penguins are expected to make the formal announcement at a news conference today at Consol. Steve Penny, president and CEO at USA Gymnastics, is expected to attend.

Leslie King, spokeswoman for USA Gymnastics, declined comment Tuesday, as did VisitPittsburgh and Penguins officials.

News conference details National Gymnastics Championships

Pittsburgh will play host to the USA Gymnastics National Championships over multiple days in August 2014 at the Consol Energy Center. (Video by Nate Guidry: 3/27/2014)

USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for the sport in the United States. The national championships typically feature the country's best gymnasts and are used to name national champions and to choose the U.S. national team.

The organization, which selects gymnasts to compete for the United States in world championships, also partners with the U.S. Olympic Committee to help select athletes for the Olympics.

"You're going to have the best gymnasts in the country. By virtue of that, there will be the best gymnasts in the world competing here," said Debbie Yohman, women's gymnastic coach at the University of Pittsburgh.

"It's a big deal."

The 2014 national championships will come two years before the next summer Olympic games, meaning potential Olympians could be competing in the events. Ms. Yohman said fans will be able to see the country's top performing gymnasts as well as up-and-coming stars.

Past women's all-around national champions have included Jordyn Wieber, part of the 2012 Olympic gold medal team; Shawn Johnson, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist on the balance beam; Shannon Miller, winner of seven Olympic medals, including two gold; and Mary Lou Retton, the Fairmont, W.Va., native who won the all-around gold medal in the 1984 Olympic games.

Men's all-around national champions have included Danell Leyva, who won a bronze medal in the men's all-around competition in last year's Olympics; Paul Hamm, who won the men's all-around competition in the 2004 Olympics; and former Olympian Kurt Thomas.

Securing the USA Gymnastics National Championships is the latest coup for Consol Energy Center and the Penguins.

Since it opened in 2010, the new arena has hosted the second and third rounds of the 2012 NCAA basketball tournament and the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

In about two weeks, it will be the site for the Frozen Four, the college hockey equivalent of basketball's Final Four. It also will host the second and third rounds of the NCAA men's basketball tournament again in 2015.

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Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.


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