Fourth place wasn’t good enough for John Orozco to make the six-man World Championships team.
Orozco, the 2012 U.S. all-around champion, came back from a torn ACL and meniscus in October to compete in all six events at this past week’s U.S. gymnastics championships. He finished in fourth place in the all-around after two days of competition, putting him on the bubble of being selected for the six-man team to go to Antwerp, Belgium, for worlds from Sept. 30-Oct. 6.
USA Gymnastics announced the team late Sunday night, and Orozco was the big name missing. The rest of the top seven all-arounders from nationals made it: Olympians Sam Mikulak, Jake Dalton and Danell Leyva and past world team members Alex Naddour, Brandon Wynn and Steven Legendre.
Orozco is one of three alternates.
The thought was Orozco and Leyva were fighting for one spot. They were the two U.S. men to compete in the all-around at the 2012 Olympics, but both were out of form in Hartford, Conn., this past week. Leyva finished in seventh in the all-around, three spots behind Orozco, who competed with a knee brace.
The World Championships the year after the Olympics do not include a team competition, putting more emphasis on event specialists to rack up medals. Both Orozco and Leyva excel on the same events — parallel bars and high bar — which put them in direct competition to make the team given they weren’t at their best in the all-around at nationals.
Mikulak and Naddour were the top two all-arounders at nationals. Dalton won the American Cup in March and took third in the all-around in Hartford. They were pretty much considered locks by the end of the meet Sunday. Wynn’s specialty is still rings, and Legendre is strong on floor exercise.
Orozco did not look all right on the first day of competition Thursday, standing in eighth place in the all-around. He rebounded Sunday to rise into fourth, but it looks like he’ll now get several months to build more knee strength for next season.