Phillips 66 has a long and time-honored tradition in the sport of gymnastics. The Phillips 66 Gymnastics Club may be the oldest club in the country and is noted for hosting the longest on-going age-group gymnastics invitational in the United States. Many young athletes who competed in this prestigious competition went on to become Olympic champions. This includes Oklahoma’s own Shannon Miller, who is America’s most decorated Olympic gymnast.
The Phillips 66 Gymnastics Club began in 1966 when the Phillips 66 Petroleum Company of Bartlesville, Oklahoma put in a bid to sponsor the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Gymnastics Championships (click button below to view video). The fact that the year happened to be 1966 was merely a coincidence, or so they say. This prestigious event was aired on National TV on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. The sports announcer covering the competition was the famous Jim McKay and gymnastics expert Muriel Grossfeld who is the only gymnast to ever participate, coach and judge in the Olympic Games.
This esteemed event played host to both men’s and women’s gymnastics. The top winners at this competition would go on to represent the USA in Europe at the 1966 World Games. The competition was held in the Adams Building Gymnasium, with all the gymnastics fans of Bartlesville wearing cowboy hats to show their “town spirit.” Needless to say, the Adams Building was filled to capacity.
With the gymnastics equipment already purchased for this event, the Phillips 66 Gymnastics Club was born and many decades later, it is still running strong. The Club has produced many State, Regional and National Champions. Numerous Phillips 66 gymnasts have gone on to compete in colleges throughout the country and have become Division One All Americans.