London 2012: USA Gymnastics Announces Men's Team Headed to Summer Olympics
USA Gymnastics announced which men will be sent to London to represent the U.S.
Danell Leyva, John Orozco, Jonathan Horton, Jake Dalton and Sam Mikulak. Three alternates were also named: Chris Brooks, Steve Legendre and Alexander Naddour.
No doubt, the men's selection committee considered many variables. Gone are the days of seven-member teams, whereby the U.S. Olympic committee had the leeway to toss in single-event specialists and still maintain a solid team. With only five routines per event per country, with the top three counting toward the team total, every competitor must prove muster on at least two apparatus.
This is where Leyva and Orosco shine. Was there ever any doubt they would pick up team jackets? Nope. Consistently finishing one-two, these guys push and complement one another simultaneously. It is precisely what the U.S. needs to upset the No. 1 men's team in the world—Japan.
Sam Mikulak's weekend was a different story. According to San Jose Mercury News, upon waking after the first day of competition, Mikulak discovered his left ankle was badly swollen and sore. What a way to start your morning. On the final competition day, he performed on pommel only to keep what was left of his ankle from further injury on other events.
Fortunately, the selection committee believes in his contribution to the team with the hope he will recover fully over the next three weeks.
The best matchup of the day belonged to Chris Brooks and Jake Dalton. These two tigers fought with highs and lows throughout both Nationals and Trials to end with a tie. Four sets of scores on four different days and they tied!
Both gymnasts deserved to be named to the team, but after consideration, the selection committee with chairman Kevin Mazeika at the helm chose Dalton, leaving Brooks with an alternate position along with Legendre, known for his power on floor exercise as well as vault; and Naddour, well-respected for pommel work and desperately needed by the team.
Jonathan Horton received a berth by displaying solid performances as well as leadership ability, regardless of a major gaff on his closing apparatus, floor ex.
This team is strong. Will it overcome the strength of the Japanese? We'll find out in London.
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