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Local gymnasts to compete for Olympic spot this weekend in Tulsa at US Elite Challenge

Local gymnasts will compete on their home turf this weekend against more than 400 contenders looking to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games at the U.S. Elite Challenge, presented by Bama Companies.

The Tulsa Sports Commission will host the event at the Tulsa Convention Center in partnership with USA Gymnastics March 30 through April 1. The nation’s best in men’s and women’s trampoline, tumbling, synchronized trampoline and double mini-trampoline will compete for three full days for a chance to represent the United States in London for the 2012 Olympic games.

Three Oklahomans are on the National Team. Alaina Williams of Norman will compete on the senior women’s trampoline team while Karly Judkins of Glenpool and Brittney Bernard of Bixby will compete on the women’s tumbling team.

Williams is the 2011 Pan American Games bronze medalist and three-time U.S. synchro champion with partner Dakota Earnest. She also holds a bronze medal for the 2011 U.S. trampoline singles and is the 2010 U.S. trampoline champion, the 2009 U.S. trampoline silver medalist, the 2008 U.S. synchro silver medalist and tumbling bronze medalist, and the 2007 U.S. trampoline silver medalist.

Judkins is the 2011 U.S. tumbling champion and the 2010 U.S. tumbling bronze medalist. Judkins placed first in tumbling at the 2010 U.S. Elite Challenge in Virginia Beach, Va., the 2011 Winter Classic in Houston, Texas and the 2011 U.S. Elite Championships in San Antonio, Texas.

Bernard took first in the tumbling junior division at the 2011 Winter Classic in Houston, Texas and second at the 2011 U.S. Elite Championships in San Antonio, Texas. Bernard also placed second in the junior tumbling division of the 2011 Canada Cup in Alberta, Canada.

The U.S. Elite Challenge is the first step for gymnasts looking to compete for Olympic gold in London this summer and is one of three qualifying events.

Tickets are available now at for $10 a day, or $20 for an all-session pass. Children under the age of 8 receive free admission. Tickets will also be available at the door.

Friday, March 30 will feature synchro competitions in the morning, with finals at 12:15 p.m., and preliminaries for trampoline, double mini-trampoline and tumbling Friday afternoon from 3 to 8 p.m.

Trampoline, double mini and tumbling competition will continue all day Saturday, March 31 with junior and senior finals starting at 6:30 p.m. and continuing until the awards session at 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 1 will also feature all-day competitions for trampoline, tumbling and double mini. A full schedule is available here.

Trampoline events involve athletes using trampolines that can propel them up to 30 feet in the air, during which they can perform single, double and twisted somersaults. Tumbling utilizes elevated spring runways that enable athletes to jump at heights more than 10 feet and execute a variety of acrobatic maneuvers. For the double-mini competition, the athlete makes a short run, leaps onto a small two-level trampoline, performs an aerial maneuver and dismounts onto a landing mat. One man and one woman will represent the United States in trampoline at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

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