USA Gymnastics and the International GymnasticsFederation (FIG) announced today that the 2012 World Acrobatic Gymnastics Championships, along with the World Age-Group Competition, will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex’s HP Field House at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla. More than 600 gymnasts total are expected to participate in the World Championships, scheduled for April 16-18, and the World Age-Group Competition, set for April 20-22. “USA Gymnastics is honored to host this prestigious event for the first time in the United States,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “The HP Field House is an ideal venue for both competitions, and our international guests will enjoy all of the available opportunities through having the event at the Walt Disney Resort.” “The FIG is very pleased to have the World Acrobatic Gymnastics Championships held in the United States,” said Bruno Grandi, the FIG president. “This will be the first time this FIG World Championships has been held outside Europe, and I am particularly proud that the United States will host this global event. We hope the citizens of Orlando will come and cheer for the top gymnasts from around the world.” “ESPN Wide World of Sports is very excited to host the World Acrobatic Gymnastics Championships,” said Faron Kelley, director of marketing, Disney Sports. “We look forward to providing a showcase for this talented group of athletes and providing them with the kind of magicalexperience you can only find at Disney.” Acrobatic gymnastics combines the beauty of dance with the strength and agility of acrobatics. Routines are choreographed to music and consist of dance, tumbling, and partner skills. At the elite level, each pair or group performs a balance, dynamic and combined routine. Pyramids and partner holds characterize the balance routine, while synchronized tumbling and intricate flight elements define the dynamic exercise. An acrobatic gymnastics pair consists of a base and a top. A women’s group is comprised of a base, middle and top partner, while a men’sgroup has a base, two middle partners and one top partner. “Acrobatic gymnastics is incredible to watch,” said Sam Stark, president & CEO of the Central Florida Sports Commission. “I encourage everyone to come out and witness the amazing routines that include a combination of strength, balance and dance. The competition is guaranteed to be at the highest level and fun for the entirefamily.” The tentative competition schedule is: World Championships – qualification rounds on April 16-17, and finals on April 18; and World Age Group Competition – qualification rounds on April 20-21, and finals on April 22. The World Age Group Competition has two age categories, 11-16 and 12-19. Local hosts include the Central Florida Sports Commission and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The World Acrobatic Gymnastics Championships, since they came under the FIG umbrella in 1999, have been held in Ghent, Belgium (1999); Wroclaw, Poland (2000, 2010); Riesa, Germany (2002); Lievin, France (2004); Coimbra, Portugal (2006); and Glasgow, Scotland (2008).