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Olympics gymnasts on the way

Barcelona Olympians Shannon Miller, Vitali Sherbo and several other members of the U.S. and Unified teams will perform at St. Petersburg's Bayfront Center on Wednesday as part of a 25-city tour.

The non-competitive event, which begins at 7:30 p.m., features 11 world-class gymnasts who will be spotlighted one athlete at a time.

The women will perform in the floor exercises, the uneven parallel bars and the balance beam. The men will perform on the high bar, parallel bars, rings, floor exercises and pommel horse.

The American contingent is headed by Miller, who finished second in the all-around at the 1992 Games (the gold was won by the Unified team's Tatiana Gutsu, who also will be at the Bayfront Center), and won five medals overall. Miller's place was the highest all-around finish by an American woman at a non-boycotted Olympics. Miller also has scored two 10s on the balance beam in her career.

Also performing will be Trent Dimas of Albuquerque, N.M., who was the only American gold-medal winner at the 1992 Olympic Games. Dimas, the son of a former Golden Gloves boxing champion, took the gold in the high bar, an event no American had won since 1932.

Two-time world champion, three-time U.S. Champion and Olympian Kurt Thomas also will perform. Thomas, at 36, is the oldest competitor on the international gymnastics circuit.

Belarus' Sherbo, who won six gold medals for the Unified team at the Barcelona Games, is one of four foreign athletes set to perform. The others are Ukraine's Gutsu and Grigori Misutin, and Belarus' Svetlana Boguinskaia.

After leaving St. Petersburg, the troupe will travel to Dayton, Ohio; Cleveland, Chicago, Minneapolis and Milwaukee.

Tickets are $22.75 and $15.75 and available at the Bayfront Center Box Office and Ticketmaster Outlets. To order by phone, call 898-2100 in Pinellas and 287-8844 in Hillsborough.

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