Elite gymnasts to compete next spring at AT&T Stadium

02/26/2014 4:25 PM

02/26/2014 6:26 PM

The 2015 AT&T American Cup, a one-day competition featuring elite gymnasts from around the world, will be held in a football stadium for the first time next year.

AT&T Stadium in Arlington will host the high-profile international invitational, which is part of the International Gymnastics Federation’s all-around World Cup series, on March 7, 2015, organizers announced Wednesday.

USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny said the iconic stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, will help bring even more international attention to the male and female gymnasts preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“The AT&T American Cup has been the stage for the last 38 years where gymnastics legends are born and America’s Team has been showcased,” Penny said.

“This is a chance to showcase our sport at the highest level.”

The AT&T American Cup, held annually in the United States, is being hosted this weekend at the Coliseum Complex in Greensboro, N.C.

Carly Patterson, all-around champion in the 2004 Athens Olympics, said the size of the world-class stadium, which can hold 80,000-100,000 people, will create extra energy and excitement next year for gymnasts performing live on a global stage.

“It makes all the difference. For me, it was always the bigger the crowd, the bigger the venue, the better. I wanted that stadium or arena filled with people. That is when I did the best,” said Patterson. “If you are a gymnast, you like the big stage. The bigger the better. And you can’t get any bigger than here.”

Patterson was joined at the announcement by former American Cup and Olympic champions Nastia Liukin and Kim Zmeskal-Burdette and legendary coach Bela Karolyi, who lives in Huntsville.

The stadium also will host the Nastia Liukin Cup on March 6, 2015, for top Junior Olympic female gymnasts. The competition is named for the North Texas gymnast, the all-around champion in the 2008 Beijing Olympics who won the AT&T American Cup in 2006 and 2008.

“It’s a big day for us. When we built this stadium ... we wanted to host sports that were the best of the best,” said Charlotte Jones Anderson, executive vice president and chief brand officer for the Dallas Cowboys. “We wanted AT&T Stadium to be known as the home of champions, where champions are made. Since we opened our doors over five years ago, we have done just that.”

Tickets are expected to go on sale in the fall.

Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639

Twitter: @susanschrock

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