Gymnastics News Network
The first day of competition actually had Mikulak ranked second behind Donnell Whittenburg (Team Hilton-U.S. Olympic Training Center). Whittenburg posted an 89.900 total for the highest all-around score on the first night of the 2016 P&G Men’s Gymnastics Championships while Mikulak stood in second with an 89.850, followed by Chris Brooks (Team Hilton-U.S. Olympic Training Center) in third at 89.500. Jake Dalton (Team Hilton (University of Oklahoma), finished fourth (89.400), with Yul Moldauer (University of Oklahoma) in fifth (89.250).
Both Whittenburg and Mikulak knew that scores from both days of competition would count equally. Both knew they needed to bring their “A” game on day 2 since the two were only separated by .05 points. Every event and every routine mattered with the scores so tight.
With such a strong men’s field competing at the championships, day 1 was all about hitting routines.
Scores for the top five in the all-around rankings include:
- Donnell Whittenburg: 15.050, floor exercise; 13.800, pommel horse; 15.950, still rings (top score); 15.200, vault; 14.850, parallel bars; 15.050, horizontal bar.
- Sam Mikulak: 13.500, floor exercise; 15.050, pommel horse; 15.200, still rings; 14.950, vault; 15.450, parallel bars; 15.700, horizontal bar (top score).
- Chris Brooks: 14.650, floor exercise; 14.000, pommel horse; 15.050, still rings; 15.050, vault; 15.350, parallel bars; 15.400, horizontal bar.
- Jake Dalton: 15.400, floor exercise (top score); 13.600, pommel horse; 15.500, still rings; 15.350, vault; 14.900, parallel bars; 14.650, horizontal bar.
- Yul Moldauer: 15.100, floor exercise; 14.650, pommel horse; 15.150, still rings; 15.100, vault; 15.050, parallel bars; 14.200, horizontal bar.
Mikulak suffered an Achilles injury before the World Championships last year’s and was not able to compete. For him this competition was about showing that he was back in shape and ready to dominate, making the men’s Olympic team.
“That was a lot of motivation leading into this competition, to really prove myself and show that I’m ready,” he said. “I want the world to watch.”
The second day of competition found many competitors hoping to just nail clean routines, realizing that a tiny bobble or stumble would would have a profound impact on the standings.
Whittenburg found himself in trouble after falling off the high bar and taking yet another fall on the pommel horse. He was able to make a strong comeback on the rings (capturing the gold medal) and vault. Whittenburg hopes to become more consistent with his routines as he heads into the Olympic trials.
Mikulak marked his second day with a huge 15.550 on parallel bars and scored a 15.400 on the floor exercise. However, when Brooks took over the leader board with his amazing 15.800 on p-bars, Mikulak knew he had to dig deep to acquire a score high enough to bump Brooks off the top podium spot.
“I would have liked to have had a better performance, I think that’s always the case,” Mikulak said after his win over competitor and friend, Chris Brooks, 181.500 to 179.850 becoming the first gymnast to win four-in-a-row since Blaine Wilson, who won a collective five between 1996 and 2000.
Mikulak adds, “It’s all about getting ready for the next one. There’s no looking back. That was the moment when I started feeling that momentum, what gymnastics is all about. That adrenaline, the excitement of coming down to the last guy.”
The next one competition will be the Olympic trials set for three weeks in St. Louis. Here the five-man Rio Olympic team will be chosen from 18 contenders. The race is on and it could be anyone’s ballgame!
Mikulak’s 15.250 on vault scored enough to push Brooks into second place by 1.650 points. “The takeaway that I got from here is, I didn’t have fantastic routines on all the events,” Mikulak adds. “I did really good on three events the first day and then I did really good on the other three the next day. And so I’m definitely there. I’ve got it all in me. We’re just going to get stronger and stronger going into the Olympic trials.”
“We have so much depth,” said Jake Dalton, the 2012 London Olympic veteran. Dalton won on floor, tied for first on vault and finished third overall. “It shows that we don’t just have two guys. Everybody’s ready.”
Three of the top seven were collegiate gymnasts. Stanford’s Akash Modi placed fourth ahead of Oklahoma’s Yul Moldauer and Ohio State’s Sean Melton, who were tied with World-teamer (and first day leader) Whittenburg.
Modi remarks, “I’ve grown up with Sean and Yul training and competing against them. It’s awesome to see that the NCAA program is producing some of the best gymnasts in the country, especially in an Olympic year when it’s extremely hard to make it into this competition at all.” Modi took the bronze medal on parallel bars.
2012 P&G Champion, John Orozco, was happy just to be back competing at such an insane competition after re-tearing an Achilles tendon last year. “I honestly don’t feel any pressure, really,” he remarked. Orozco captured the bronze on the high bar and placed tenth in the all-around. “I’m just lucky and glad I’m here to keep pursuing this dream of mine.”
As for the 2012 London All-Around bronze medalist, Danell Leyva, he was simply grateful placing 16th after a brutal dog attack at him home just a few weeks prior. “I felt pretty good, and today, I’m pretty happy with how I did coming from Friday,” he said. “Friday was a little rough. I wasn’t trying to be perfect here.” Danell feels he will be in top form for the Olympic trials.
Performances from this P&G Championship competition determined the men’s senior national champions and national team, along with the 18 men who will advance to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, to be held in St. Louis, June 23 and 25.
With the P&G Championships in the books, USA Gymnastics has named the members of the 2016 U.S. Senior National Team, who will be competing in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in St. Louis, Mo., June 23 and 25.
2016 U.S. Senior National Team
Donothan Bailey (Team Hilton-U.S. Olympic Training Center)
Chris Brooks (Team Hilton-U.S. Olympic Training Center)
Jacob Dalton (Team Hilton-University of Oklahoma)
Marvin Kimble (Team Hilton-U.S. Olympic Training Center)
Steven Legendre (Team Hilton-University of Oklahoma)
Daniel Leyva (Team Hilton-Universal Gymnastics)
CJ Masts (U.S. Olympic Training Center)
Sean Melton (Ohio State University)
Sam Mikulak (Team Hilton-U.S. Olympic Training Center)
Akashi Modi (Stanford University)
Yup Moldauer (University of Oklahoma)
Alex Naddour (Team Hilton-USA Youth Fitness)
John Orozco (Team Hilton-U.S. Olympic Training Center)
Kanji Oyama (University of Oklahoma)
Eddie Penev (Team Hilton-U.S. Olympic Training Center)
Paul Ruggeri III (Team Hilton-U.S. Olympic Training Center)
Donnell Whittenburg(Team Hilton-U.S. Olympic Training Center)
Brandon Wynn (Team Hilton-Ohio State University)
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Sources: Results from USA Gymnastics
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