Nearly a dozen world-class gymnasts turned the Bayfront Center floor into their own private gymnasium Wednesday, flipping, swiveling and tumbling for more than 3,200 spectators at the 1992 Tour of Olympic and World ChampionshipGymnasts exhibition.
The Bayfront Center show _ there were no judges _ opened with eight spandex-clad gymnasts demonstrating the various events. It was the latest stop in a 25-city tour of the United States.
Among the athletes performing were 1992 Olympic silver-medalist Grigori Misutin of the Unified team, all-around gold medalist Tatiana Gutsu of the Unified Team and Shannon Miller and Trent Dimas of the United States.
Dimas, the United States' lone gold-medal winner at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, performed an excerpt from his winning high-bar routine to close out the night. Other highlights were floor routines performed by Misutin and Svetlana Boguinskaia, who also medaled for the Unified Team in Barcelona.
The women performed on the uneven bars, balance beam and the floor. The men did the parallel bars, horizontal bar, still rings, floor and pommel horse.
Local athletes Leila Pallandy and Emily Spychala also performed, Pallandy on floor and Spychala on the balance beam. Both train at LaFleur's Gymnastics in Tampa. A group of youngsters from Gemini Gymnastics in Oldsmar also did exercises.
The grind of the tour took its toll on the athletes during some of their performances _ Wednesday's exhibition was their fifth in the past six days. Some athletes stumbled during their abbreviated routines (most lasted under 30 seconds).
Other athletes were performing with injuries. One of the tour's headliners, Belarus' Vitaly Scherbo, performed an interrupted routine on the pommel horse after suffering a leg injury on an earlier stop.
The 20-year old native of Minsk was an unprecedented six-time gold medalist at the Barcelona Olympics. The record for gold medals was previously held by Russian Nikolai Andrianov, who won four in the 1976 games in Montreal.
The tour now heads to Dayton, Ohio, Cleveland, and Chicago.