Baltimore could emerge as the launching pad for the 1992 United States Olympic gymnastics team.
The city has emerged as one of three finalists to be host of the 1992 trials, a U.S. Gymnastics Federation official said yesterday. Columbus, Ohio, and Memphis, Tenn., are the other candidates for the event, which will bring together the nation's top men, women and rhythmic gymnasts.
"Baltimore put together a fabulous package," said Allison Melangton, the USGF's director of special events. "We have had many successful ventures in the area in the past. We have a lot of faith in Centre Management, which operates the Baltimore Arena."
USGF officials will visit the Baltimore Arena the first week in November. The winning bid will be announced Dec. 1. The trials are scheduled for June 4-14, 1992, and will be telecast by ABC.
From a list of 35 cities, seven semifinalists emerged. Los Angeles, Orlando, Fla., Boston, and Albany, N.Y., failed to make the final cut of three.
"I'm excited that we're in the final three," said Mike Marqua, director of the Maryland Office of Sports Promotion. "We have some tough competition. Until it's a sure thing, I don't want to crow too much. But a lot of people like the Baltimore location."
Columbus and Memphis also have excellent credentials. Columbus played host to the 1989 USA-USSR dual-meet competition. The Great American Pyramid multipurpose arena will be opening in Memphis in June 1991.
"We're looking for a proven track record in running sporting events, sound facilities and a strong financial commitment to holding the event," Melangton said. "Sometimes we get lost in larger cities. We're trying to create an excellent atmosphere at the trials."
Maryland has attracted top amateur sports events in recent years. The 1989 United States Figure Skating Championships were held in Baltimore, and the 1989 World Canoe-Kayak Championships were decided on the Savage River in Western Maryland.
State officials have notified canoe-kayak representatives that they plan to bid on the 1992 Olympic trials. Marqua added that the state is considering bidding on Olympic trials in boxing and taekwondo.