Jake Dalton

Meryl Davis
Team USA/ Twitter

Olympians celebrate Thanksgiving

Leave a comment

Nov. 26 – or Thanksgiving to the rest of us – is oftentimes a typical training day for many Olympians and Olympic hopefuls. Here’s a look at how some of them spent the day training, competing, celebrating, and being thankful.

Workout football and food😁👍!!! Happy thanksgiving everyone!!!

A photo posted by Michael Phelps (@m_phelps00) on

Happy Thanksgiving from our cold cuts Turkey to yours! #family #happyhappyheart

A photo posted by @cammileadams on

Happy Thanksgiving from the SwimMAC Parade crew!

A photo posted by Tyler Clary (@tylerclary) on

 

MORE: NBC’s Thanksgiving Rio promo

 

Sam Mikulak takes national gymnastics title; will Danell Leyva, John Orozco make worlds team?

Sam Mikulak
Leave a comment

HARTFORD, Conn. — Sam Mikulak, Big 10 all-around champion, NCAA all-around champion, is now United States all-around champion. The University of Michigan star cruised at the U.S. gymnastics championship, winning the the two-day event comfortably Sunday.

Mikulak seemed on auto-pilot early, turning in near carbon copies of his dominating performances from Friday’s opening night at the XL Center. Mikulak, 20, led the entire way and only stumbled on his final event, falling twice on the pommel horse. He totaled 181.4 points, beating second-place Alex Naddour by 2.9 points (full results below).

“It was a little bit of nerves (on the pommel horse),” Mikulak said.

Mikulak is a lock to lead the World Championships team in Antwerp, Belgium, from Sept. 30-Oct. 6. USA Gymnastics is expected to name the squad of up to six men by the end of Monday.

“I definitely think people should start watching out for me,” Mikulak said, according to The Associated Press.

He’ll look to challenge Japan’s Kohei Uchimura, the three-time defending world all-around champion and 2012 Olympic champion.

The next seven men in the U.S. all-around standings, Naddour, Olympians Jake Dalton and John Orozco, Brandon Wynn, Steven Legendre, Olympic bronze medalist Danell Leyva and Paul Ruggeri are seemingly in the running for the remaining five spots.

Naddour, who just missed the 2012 Olympic team, proved to be the only confident pommel horse worker in the country, but he also showed up big in the all-around, hitting 11 of his 12 routines over two days. He actually outscored Mikulak (and everyone else) Sunday. This time when the team announcement is made, it’s doubtful the world “alternate” will be anywhere near his name.

Jake Dalton should also make plans for Belgium. He faltered on a few events through the two days but survived for third place after winning the American Cup in March. His case is boosted by his international experience from the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympics.

Orozco left his struggles from night one in the chalk dust and with it put to rest lingering doubts about his return from a torn ACL and meniscus. Orozco was strong and steady from start to finish Sunday, including hitting pommel horse and parallel bars routines that could push him onto the worlds team.

Leyva’s struggles continued. He was shaky at best on pommel horse, fell on vault and had uncharacteristic form errors in his high bar routine. When it came down to his final event, parallel bars, where he holds the world title, Leyva needed to hit, or in all likelihood any shot at a place on the worlds team would be gone. He did and let out a big sigh of relief on the shoulder of his animated coach and stepfather, Yin Alvarez.

That sixth and final spot on the world team will likely be between Orozco and Leyva because Mikulak will be one of the two U.S. all-arounders in Antwerp and because of a trio of event specialists in the running for spots.

Wynn, who made the worlds team in 2010, appears to be living up to his potential, winning his signature event, still rings.

Also in contention is 2012 Olympic team alternate Steven Legendre, who topped the floor exercise standings.

Then there’s Ruggeri, a longtime national team member who won silver on floor and bronze on vault.

Back to Mikulak, who wore a camera during training to show just what it’s like competing on high bar.

Results

All-Around
1. Sam Mikulak, Ann Arbor, Mich., 181.400
2. Alexander Naddour, Queen Creek, Ariz., 178.500
3. Jake Dalton, Norman, Okla., 177.650
4. John Orozco, Colorado Springs, Colo., 177.050
5. Brandon Wynn, Columbus, Ohio, 175.250
6. Steven Legendre, Norman, Okla., 175.100
7. Danell Leyva, Homestead, Fla., 174.450
8. Akash Modi, Morganville, N.J., 173.450
8. Paul Ruggeri III, Manlius, N.Y., 173.450
10. Joshua Dixon, Colorado Springs, Colo., 172.950

Floor exercise
1. Steven Legendre, Norman, Okla., 31.600
2. Paul Ruggeri III, Manlius, N.Y., 31.450
3. Jake Dalton, Norman, Okla., 31.400
4. Stacey Ervin, Ann Arbor, Mich., 31.150
5. Sam Mikulak, Ann Arbor, Mich., 30.850

Pommel horse
1. Alexander Naddour, Queen Creek, Ariz., 31.050
2. Luke Stannard, Urbana, Ill., 30.300
3. Michael Newburger, Columbus, Ohio, 28.750
4. Chris Turner, Stanford, Calif., 28.450
5. Donothan Bailey, Berkeley, Calif., 28.400
5. Akash Modi, Morganville, N.J., 28.400

Still rings
1. Brandon Wynn, Columbus, Ohio, 31.500
2. Alexander Naddour, Queen Creek, Ariz., 30.800
3. Michael Squires, Edmond, Okla., 30.400
4. Jake Dalton, Norman, Okla., 30.150
5. Steven Lacombe, Sunnyvale, Calif., 30.050

Vault
1. Sean Senters, Stanford, Calif., 30.750
1. Eddie Penev, Penfield, N.Y., 30.750
3. Paul Ruggeri III, Manlius, N.Y., 30.550
4. Neal Courter, Baton Rouge, La., 30.500
5. Sam Mikulak, Ann Arbor, Mich., 30.350

Parallel bars
1. Sam Mikulak, Ann Arbor, Mich., 30.900
2. John Orozco, Colorado Springs, Colo., 30.100
3. Akash Modi, Morganville, N.J., 29.900
4. Brandon Wynn, Columbus, Ohio, 29.800
5. Stacey Ervin, Ann Arbor, Mich., 29.400
5. Danell Leyva, Homestead, Fla., 29.400

High bar
1. Sam Mikulak, Ann Arbor, Mich., 31.350
2. John Orozco, Colorado Springs, Colo., 31.300
3. Danell Leyva, Homestead, Fla., 30.900
4. Jake Dalton, Norman, Okla., 30.300
5. Brandon Wynn, Columbus, Ohio, 30.000

Men’s Senior National Team
Jake Dalton, Reno, Nev./Team Hilton HHonors (University of Oklahoma)
Stacey Ervin, Taylor, Mich./University of Michigan
Steven Legendre, Port Jefferson, N.Y./Team Hilton HHonors (Oklahoma)
Danell Leyva, Miami/Team Hilton HHonors (Universal Gymnastics)
Sam Mikulak, Newport Coast, Calif./University of Michigan
Alexander Naddour, Queen Creek, Ariz./Team Hilton HHonors (USA Youth Fitness Center)
John Orozco, Bronx, N.Y./Team Hilton HHonors (U.S. Olympic Training Center)
Eddie Penev, Penfield, N.Y./Team Hilton HHonors (Stanford University)
Paul Ruggeri, Manlius, N.Y./Team Hilton Honors (U.S. Gymnastics Developmental Center II)
Brandon Wynn, Voorhees, N.J./Team Hilton HHonors (Ohio State University)

Will Fierce Five be back for Rio 2016? (video)

Sam Mikulak leads after first night of men’s competition at U.S. gymnastics championships

Sam Mikulak
1 Comment

California-born Sam Mikulak, or “Hollywood,” as he’s better known to his Olympic teammates, took charge at the U.S. gymnastics championships in Hartford, Conn., on Friday.

Mikulak, 20, grabbed the lead in the second of six rotations and never relinquished it, finishing the first of two nights of competition with 91.65 points, nearly a three-point lead over Olympian Jake Dalton.

The scores Friday (full results below) will be combined with Sunday’s results to determine the national champion and which six men will be selected to compete at the World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, in October.

Dalton, who won the American Cup in March, started strong on his signature event, floor exercise, but struggled (as many would) on the dreaded pommel horse, falling off during his routine.

There was an eerie air floating around the pommel horse — perhaps blame it on the bat which somehow made it inside the XL Center and flew around the arena throughout the night. Only one all-around contender made it through the pommel horse (long the U.S.’ weakest event) cleanly, Mikulak, who aims to become the fourth different man in as many years to win the U.S. all-around title.

“This is something that I’ve wanted to check off,” said Mikulak, the NCAA all-around champion and rising senior at Michigan.

Mikulak lived up to his nickname, signing at least one cell phone and high-fiving with the crowd between routines. His smile seemed pasted on from first event to final interview.

The same couldn’t be said for 2011 national champion Danell Leyva. The Olympic all-around bronze medalist continued his post-London struggles with a rough start on the pommel horse and fell twice on the parallel bars, an event in which he’s the currrent world champion. Leyva came back strong on his last event, high bar, but the damage was done and he is in sixth place.

John Orozco was the surprise of Friday night. The defending U.S. champion came into Hartford planning to perform only four of six events, 10 months after surgery to repair a torn ACL. Determined, he changed his mind and did all six Friday, sporting a knee brace. Orozco is in eighth place.

Exhaustion appeared to hit Orozco on the final rotation, when he skipped warm-ups for floor exercise. He ended up performing and hit his routine, but the damage of a two-fall pommel horse performance kept him way back in the overall standings.

The specialists showed up big Friday. Olympic alternate Alex Naddour proved his World Championship capability on the pommel horse with a massive 15.45 to go along with his third-place standing in the all around. Steven Legendre leads on floor exercise with a 15.9, an event he made the world finals in two years ago.

Both men made early cases to be chosen for the World Championship team, but there’s more work left Sunday.

All-Around
1. Sam Mikulak, Ann Arbor, Mich., 91.650
2. Jake Dalton, Norman, Okla., 88.700
3. Alexander Naddour, Queen Creek, Ariz., 87.900
4. Joshua Dixon, Colorado Springs, Colo., 87.450
5. Steven Legendre, Norman, Okla., 87.100
6. Danell Leyva, Homestead, Fla., 86.900
7. Brandon Wynn, Columbus, Ohio, 86.700
8. John Orozco, Colorado Springs, Colo., 86.650
8. Akash Modi, Morganville, N.J., 86.650
10. Donnell Whittenburg, Colorado Springs, Colo., 86.550

Floor exercise
1. Steven Legendre, Norman, Okla., 15.900
2. Eddie Penev, Penfield, N.Y., 15.800
3. Stacey Ervin, Ann Arbor, Mich., 15.750
4. Paul Ruggeri III, Manlius, N.Y., 15.650
5. Sam Mikulak, Ann Arbor, Mich., 15.350

Pommel horse
1. Alexander Naddour, Queen Creek, Ariz., 15.450
2. Sam Mikulak, Ann Arbor, Mich., 15.200
3. Michael Newburger, Columbus, Ohio, 14.900
4. Luke Stannard, Urbana, Ill., 14.600
5. Donothan Bailey, Berkeley, Calif., 14.300

Still rings
1. Brandon Wynn, Columbus, Ohio, 15.750
2. Michael Squires, Edmond, Okla., 15.400
3. Alexander Naddour, Queen Creek, Ariz., 15.200
3. Steven Lacombe, Sunnyvale, Calif., 15.200
5. Jake Dalton, Norman, Okla., 15.150

Vault
1. Sean Senters, Stanford, Calif., 15.350
1. Eddie Penev, Penfield, N.Y., 15.350
3. Neal Courter, Baton Rouge, La., 15.300
4. Jake Dalton, Norman, Okla., 15.250
5. Sam Mikulak, Ann Arbor, Mich., 15.200

Parallel bars
1. Jake Dalton, Norman, Okla., 15.450
2. Sam Mikulak, Ann Arbor, Mich., 15.350
3. Sean Melton, Colorado Springs, Colo., 15.050
4. Brian Knott, New York, N.Y., 15.000
5. Adrian de los Angeles, Ann Arbor, Mich., 14.850

High bar
1. John Orozco, Colorado Springs, Colo., 15.600
1. Sam Mikulak, Ann Arbor, Mich., 15.600
3. Danell Leyva, Homestead, Fla., 15.300
4. Joshua Dixon, Colorado Springs, Colo., 15.150
5. Jake Dalton, Norman, Okla., 15.100

Biles leads women’s competition heading to final night