US Men's Gymnastic Olympic Team 2012: Specialists Key to Team All-Around Success
The US Men's Gymnastics team has raised some eyebrows with an impressive first-place finish in qualifying and the top individual performance from Danell Leyva in the Olympic Games.
The American men now have the world's attention in London and have the chance to win gold for the first time since 1984.
Leyva was the top competitor during qualifying, scoring well across the board while also qualifying for the high bar. While Leyva was the best individual, the American team proved they are extremely well-balanced and fit.
All five US competitors qualified for an individual event in London, displaying the wide range of this year's squad that has made it a top team.
While the gymnasts are great all-around athletes, the makeup of the US team allows their specialties to come out and make a true impact.
Jonathan Horton may not have the ability to win an all-around title in 2012, but he is still able to contribute to Team USA.
Horton won the silver for the high bar in Beijing, an event he has excelled in throughout his career and will try to win individually.
In qualifying, Horton had the fifth-best score in high bar qualifying, and he might be able to earn a medal. But his true impact comes in the team all-around.
Because Team USA has great athletes at the back of their lineup as well as the front, the Americans gain valuable points from everyone.
Leyva had the highest all-around score but actually had the lowest US score on the rings. Fortunately for the Americans, teammate Sam Mikulak was able to make up the difference in qualifying.
Leyva also had the lowest US score in the floor exercise, but teammate Jake Dalton picked up the slack with a solid score.
The US has a ton of pressure on them in the finals after a strong qualifying score. But with a team this strong, the athletes know they have great support behind them. The pressure isn't as high to succeed when you don't have to worry about a poor performance hurting the team a great deal.
This is the best US team we've seen in years. With great athletes from top to bottom, they won't have to rely on their best to give them the gold.
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