Jonathan Horton

Jonathan Horton announces retirement after ‘Ninja Warrior’ appearance

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Two-time Olympic medalist Jonathan Horton announced his retirement from gymnastics Monday night, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Horton, 31, missed much of the Rio Olympic cycle due to shoulder surgeries and a torn pectoral muscle, the former ultimately derailing his bid to make a third Olympic team.

“I was hurt every single year for six years after never being hurt once,” Horton said at a watch party for his “American Ninja Warrior” appearance Monday, according to the newspaper. “It was a matter of my body telling me that we need to be done.”

Horton, at 5 feet, 1 inch, succeeded 2004 Olympic all-around champion Paul Hamm as the star of U.S. men’s gymnastics.

He led a depleted American team to bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games and tacked on a high bar silver, missing gold by .025.

Horton added a world all-around bronze medal in 2010, plus all-around titles at the 2008 Olympic Trials and 2009 and 2010 U.S. Championships.

“I would love to have won a gold medal, but I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish,” Horton said, according to the newspaper. “I left nothing out there. I gave it all I had, and I don’t live my life by regrets.”

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Jonathan Horton to miss Rio Olympics

Jonathan Horton
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Two-time U.S. Olympic medalist Jonathan Horton confirmed that he will miss the Rio Olympics, requiring left shoulder surgery.

Horton, who earned high bar silver and team bronze at Beijing 2008, is not retired and hopes to return to competition in 2017.

“But if I never compete again, I did as much as I could,” Horton said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “I’ve had a great career.”

Horton, 30, competed at the London Olympics with a right shoulder “torn to shreds,” a doctor told him right after the Games. He required reconstructive surgery on that shoulder and then tore a pectoral muscle in December 2013.

He had hoped to become the oldest U.S. gymnast to compete at the Olympics since 1956, according to sports-reference.com.

Horton, the 2009 and 2010 U.S. all-around champion, finished eighth and ninth in the P&G Championships all-around the last two years. He was not selected for either World Championships team.

“[The left shoulder] was a ticking time bomb,” Horton said, according to the newspaper. “It had been slowly giving way without me realizing it over the last three years, and it finally went now, unfortunately, and didn’t last me until the Games.”

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Sam Mikulak three-peats at P&G Championships on fall-filled day

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INDIANAPOLIS — Sam Mikulak spoke for the entire U.S. men’s gymnastics program shortly after clinching his third straight national all-around title Sunday afternoon.

“We’ve got things we can fix,” he said.

The Olympian Mikulak became the first man in 11 years to three-peat at the P&G Championships, but his winning margin of 4.35 points (a record under the nine-year-old scoring system) was more due to the struggles of others than his own execution over two days of competition.

The top five men in the all-around standings going into Sunday all crashed to the mat on high bar, Mikulak included.

There were more mishaps, particularly on the U.S.’ longtime Achilles’ heel event, pommel horse. From form breaks to messy dismounts to scary falls, such as 18-year-old Alec Yoder going head first to the floor.

“Every one of us made a stupid mistake,” said two-time Olympian Jonathan Horton, who dropped off high bar and pommel horse, from fourth to ninth place overall, and out of the World Championships team picture. “Cost me top three in the all-around.”

Mikulak and second-place Donnell Whittenburg clinched two spots on the six-man team for the World Championships. The other four men, including Olympic all-aroud bronze medalist Danell Leyva, were announced later Sunday.

The U.S. will be without Olympians John Orozco and Jacob Dalton at the World Championships. Orozco re-tore an Achilles in June and is out until 2016. Dalton withdrew before the P&G Championships with small shoulder labrum tear.

Orozco and Dalton finished second and third behind Mikulak at the 2014 P&G Championships.

Watch Mikulak’s routines: Parallel Bars | Still Rings

The U.S. earned bronze medals at the last two World Championships to include team competitions, in 2011 and 2014. In between, it finished fifth at the London Olympics after scoring the highest in qualifying.

What happened Sunday was eerily reminiscent of that Olympic team final, where the U.S. counted falls on pommel horse, floor exercise and vault.

“In the long scheme of things, it’s not this competition that really matters,” Mikulak said. “It’s a test event, would you say, for World Championships. We’ve got, I think, 10 weeks until Worlds.”

The Worlds team medal picture?

China and Japan took gold and silver, respectively, at every Olympics and World Championships since 2007. The U.S., if it corrects the slew of mistakes, appears to be fighting for bronze at best in Glasgow.

The favorite for bronze could very well be Worlds host Great Britain, which beat the U.S. for that medal at the Olympics and was fourth at the 2014 Worlds in Nanning, China.

The absences of Orozco and Dalton leave gaping holes. Nobody appeared ready to fill them on Sunday, but the difference at Worlds is that the six team members will only compete on their best events, rather than all six apparatuses as they did Sunday. Three men out of six perform per apparatus in the Worlds team final.

Mikulak remained optimistic as he sat in the shadow of the struggles, on the high bar podium shortly after the competition Sunday afternoon.

“The best part is that I think everyone can step up,” Mikulak said. “Maybe having some new variety in the mix from what we’re originally used to will be kind of a good thing. It could be some new spark that no one’s seen before.”

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