City to host Olympics gymnastics trials in '92

November 21, 1990

The United States Gymnastics Federation has chosen Baltimore as site of the 1992 Olympics Gymnastics Trials.

Winners of the competition here will go on to represent the U.S. in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Of the 60 gymnasts who qualify for the trials, 14 will be chosen for the Olympic teams: six men, six women and two rhythmic.

The announcement was made today by the Maryland Office of Sports Promotion, which said the city was chosen over two other finalists -- Memphis, Tenn., and Columbus, Ohio.

Dates for the event at the Baltimore Arena will be June 6-14, 1992. The competition will be carried on national television by ABC.

"Attracting the 1992 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials to Baltimore is part of the state's ongoing promotional efforts to attract world-class sporting events to Maryland," said J. Randall Evans, secretary of the Department of Economic and Employment Development (DEED). "We anticipate an economic impact of more than $5 million as a result of this event."

The Maryland sports promotion office submitted a bid in October to have the city considered as a possible site. Then a delegation from the U.S. Gymnastics Association made a visit earlier this month and pronounced the city as one of the favorites.

The visitors noted the easy walking distance between downtown hotels and the Arena and the recreational opportunities available in the Inner Harbor for participants and their families.

"Baltimore was our unanimous choice," said Mike Jacki, executive director of the U.S Gymnastics Federation. "This city and its people are committed and prepared to host the best Olympic Trials our sport has ever had."

Mike Marqua, director of the state's sports promotion office, said he was delighted with the gymnastics association's decision. "The fact that they chose Baltimore and Maryland says a lot about the quality of our facilities and the 'can-do' attitude of our people," Marqua said.

"I think the public-private partnerships that make sporting events work here in Maryland played an important part in their decision. The partnerships that Gov. Schaefer has worked so hard to establish are paying off economically for sports and many other industries in the state."

Marqua said a local organizing committee will be formed next month to raise funds and supervise the event.

The budget for the trials is estimated to be $1.7 million, if everything costs its maximum. The Gymnastic Federation is guaranteed $350,000 that will be used to further the program.

Maryland does have a chance to produce contenders in the trials, says Kelly Hill, the coach and owner of Hill's Gymnastics in Wheaton.

"This is going to so exciting for the local clubs," said Hill. "Region 7, our region, is one of the strongest in the country and yet, until now we haven't had a big event like this on the East Coast."

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