US Men's Gymnastic Olympic Team 2012: Breaking Down Best Shots at Gold
The United States men's gymnastics squad suffered a major letdown in the all-around team competition, going from first in qualifying to fifth in the medal round, but they have plenty of chances at redemption in the coming days.
After scoring 275.342 in qualifying, a score that made them the team to beat in the finals, the Americans came back on Monday and absolutely laid an egg. John Orozco was horrendous and Danell Leyva was far from his normally standout self.
How many total medals will the Americans bring home on Wednesday?
In the end, they scored just 269.952 points.
Nonetheless, not all hope is lost for the Americans, who have won just one artistic gold medal in men's gymnastics since 1996 (Paul Hamm won the individual all-around in 2004).
Let's take a look at their best chances for gold in the artistic competition when they get back to the gym on Wednesday.
Jacob Dalton: Floor
The 20-year-old Dalton is without a doubt the United States' best competitor on the floor, and he put that on display on Saturday, finishing in a tie for fourth, just barely behind Kai Zou, Kohei Uchimura and Flavius Koczi.
Dalton scored 15.633 during that qualifying run, but much like his teammates, he took a bit of a step back on Monday, putting up a 15.466, which was still good enough for fifth.
The Reno native has really come on as of late, taking home gold on the floor in the 2011 U.S. Championships and 2012 Pacific Rim Championships. He has some stiff competition on Wednesday, most notably Uchimura, who is regarded as one of the best gymnasts of all-time, but Dalton has the skills to take home gold with a perfect run.
Samuel Mikulak: Vault
The Americans finished sixth out of eight countries on the vault on Monday, but that certainly wasn't because of Mikulak.
The 19-year-old from the University of Michigan put up a 15.966, which was good enough for second on the team and 10th in all of competition. Now consider the fact he put up that score even though he stepped out of bounds, and it will become clear what this kid is capable of.
If he can repeat what he did on Monday without the out of bounds penalty, Mikulak, who finished fourth in qualifying, will have a good chance of grabbing a medal.
Danell Leyva: All-Around
What will Danell Leyva bring home in the all-around competition?
Dalton and Mikulak will be in the mix in their own events, but they are small long shots. Leyva, on the other hand, is a real favorite to take home the gold in the all-around competition.
The 20-year-old had a rough day on Monday, but he finished first in all-around during qualifying, beating out the likes of Kohei Uchimura, Phillipp Boy and teammate John Orozco, who also has a chance at gold if he shakes off his terrible team performance.
Leyva will have to improve on the rings and the vault, but his performance on the horizontal bar, where he won gold at the 2011 World Championships and has a chance to bring home another one in London, should carry him a long way.
Two golds aren't out of the question for the Cuban-American.
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