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2009 Tyson American Cup

22 February 2009 No Comment

Generally I would not attend a sporting event at the Sears Centre. The arena is a 32 mile, 45 minute drive from my house (without traffic). Two years ago, I used my birthday as an excuse to attend a Chicago Shamrox game (now defunct) since the stadium opened in late 2006 and I had not attended a National Lacrosse League game at the time.

Yesterday with the Tyson American Cup at the Sears Centre I decided to make the drive again. This time I made the drive because the event is a high profile gymnastics competition. For example, last year Paul Hamm and Nastia Liukin competed and won the event before the 2008 Summer Olympics. While Paul Hamm withdrew 9 days before the Olympics started, Nastia Liukin won the Women’s All-Around Gold medal in Beijing.

Obtaining Tickets
I arrived at the competition shortly after the 1:30 pm start time. The event was scheduled to run on NBC from 3 – 5 pm so I did not feel I had to arrive right on time and watch the entire 3.5 affair. To my surprise, it cost $20 to park which I thought was outrageous for the Sears Centre.

With an event like this, there are usually no scalpers because there is not enough demand for tickets and the event is 30+ miles outside of Chicago. I entered the main arena thinking I would have to buy a ticket from the box office. But as I entered, I saw a man with his two daughters. I thought to myself that this was a highly likely case of an extra ticket. I approached the man as he was getting ready for security and asked if he had an extra ticket. He did and handed me his 4th ticket for free.

The event
What I did not realize before attending this event was that every athlete that participated in the Olympics (only six months ago) was taking a break from competition. Thus, the most popular athlete competing Saturday was Bridget Sloan, while the most popular gymnast in attendance was Nastia Liukin, who was attending as a spectator. Fans consistently called out Nastia’s name during the event. Sloan, who also competed for the US Team in Beijing, finished second to Jordyn Wieber in the women’s event.

Fabian Hambuechen won the men’s event. He also won the bronze medal in the high bar competition in Beijing.

Most of the other contestants had problems staying on their respective apparatus. This made me think it is a good thing these contestants have 3.5 years until the next Olympic Games in London.

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