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Gymnastics tour hits World Arena with performance expected and unexpected

By: DOUG FITZGERALD
September 29, 2012
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The Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastic Champions made the Colorado Springs stop of its 40-city odyssey across America Saturday evening, and a near-capacity crowd at the World Arena got what it expected. And also a healthy dose of the unexpected.

As expected, they got an exhibition of elite gymnastics from a cast that was headlined by Nastia Liukin, the 2008 Olympic all-around champion, and featured members of the men’s and women’s 2012 Olympic teams, including Gabby Douglas, the 2012 women’s all-around champion.

But they got much more than that. The show was a brilliant blend of dance, music, dazzling lighting effects and gymnastics that left the crowd alternately cheering, laughing and gasping.

Through that tapestry was woven a plot thread about two American youngsters dreaming of representing their country as Olympic gymnasts. The fast-paced show, performed by real gymnastic champions, carried that dreamlike quality throughout.

It began with a performance, part dance and part athletics, of local gymnasts, a feature the show has had in each of the markets in which it performs.

On the World Arena’s concourse, there were interactive areas where fans, most of them younger, enjoyed trying their skill on a 6-inch high balance beam, mini trampolines and a tumbling mat. There were also stations with activities intended to help promote strength, stamina and cardiovascular stamina.

The tour was created to celebrate the sport’s beauty in a format that paired elite gymnastics skill with performance art.

“This tour is a lot different than the previous tour I was on,” Liukin said in a press release issued by USA Gymnastics. “Being on the creative team has been really fun for me — I’ve gotten to see it all come together. ... The styles are so different. We go from a hip hop routine to a beautiful lyrical number on the beam. I think it’s so cool that you don’t know what to expect next.”

The tour roster included the Fierce Five from the London Olympics — Douglas, McKayla Maroney (out injured), Alexandra Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber; 2012 Olympians Jake Dalton, Steven Gluckstein, Jonathan Horton, John Orozco, Savannah Vinsant and Julie Zetlin; Liukin; 2008 Olympic silver medalists Horton, Chellsie Memmel and Alicia Sacramone; and World medalists Kristin Allen, Rebecca Bross, Steven Legendre, Alex Naddour, Michael Rodrigues, Sabrina Vega and Brandon Wynn; 1996 Olympian John Macready and 2004 Olympian Mary Sanders.

“I’m so excited for the Kellogg’s Tour,” Horton, who competed in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, said in the release. “It’s a once in a lifetime experience with a great cast and something our fans won’t want to miss.”

Fans at the World Arena Saturday evening are very glad they didn’t.

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