The Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions brought 2008 All Around Gold Medalist Liukin and a cast of 11 fellow Olympians (including six male gymnasts) to the Newark venue for an evening of astounding acrobatics. Other headliners included 2012 All Around Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas, the rest of the 2012 Women’s Team Gold Medalists and 2008 Silver Medalist Jonathan Horton.
While every routine I saw was astonishing, I’d have to say that Liukin stole the night. Spending most of the evening descending from, and then ascending to the Prudential Center’s rafters, Liukin and her glittering costumes received multiple standing ovations. Her greatest moment of the night came during a routine where she shimmied toward the ceiling via a length of silken fabric (sparkling all the way) as the female gymnasts performed below her on a circle of balance beams.
Overall the show felt more like a theatrical dance spectacular than a gymnastics meet. To close the show’s first act, the men and the women took the floor together and performed a dance/gymnastics mash-up to LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem.” When a routine began to border on schmaltz, Douglas or fellow 2012 star McKayla Maroney would swoop in with a giant smile to reassure everyone that the tour was all in good fun.
As the show came to its incredible climax (each of the gold medalists posed on a twirling replica of the Olympic rings, beaming bright smiles and waving proudly), I whispered a silent “thank you” to the ancient Athenians.
The Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastic Champions makes its final stop at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on November 18. The two-act show runs about two hours with a 20-minute intermission.