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Gymnasts Compete for a Cause at ‘Heart of a Champion’ Invitational in Pasadena This Weekend

Published on Feb 26, 2023

More than 1,000 gymnasts from across the country are showcasing their skills and support a charitable cause at the same during Chris Waller’s 16th Annual Heart of a Champion Invitational at the Pasadena Convention Center this weekend.

The USA Gymnastics sanctioned women’s gymnastics competition, hosted by Waller’s GymJam Academy, a gymnastics training center based in Santa Clarita, has been ongoing since Friday and wraps Sunday, Feb. 26. The event features athletes of all levels, ages 5-18 years old, competing in four events: vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise.

The competition is named after Chris Waller, a former Olympic gymnast and former head coach of UCLA Bruins women’s gymnastics team. Waller founded GymJam Academy in 1999 with his wife Cindy Waller, also a former gymnast and coach.

The invitational is not only a showcase of talent and skill, but also an opportunity to raise awareness and funds for Camp del Corazon, a summer camp for children with heart disease. The camp provides free medical care and recreational activities for children who have undergone heart surgery or have congenital heart defects.

The event has donated over $80,000 to charities to date, according to its website. As parents and coaches of young athletes, GymJam Academy believes that part of their gymnastics experience should include a commitment to community service. They have focused their service on fitness and health and have contributed sizeable donations to the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and Camp del Corazon.

The competition will conclude with an awards ceremony and reception on Sunday at 10 a.m., where medals and trophies will be presented to the top performers. Spectator fees range from $12 to $35 depending on session, day or weekend passes.

For more information, visit

Spectator Fees: Adult: $15 session, $25 day; Senior (62+): $12 session, $15 day; Military (w/ ID): $12 session, $15 day; Child (12 & under): $10 session, $15 day; Cost: $10.00 – $15.00/General admission.  For more information call: 626-795-9311.

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