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Notes: The crowd is enthusiastically doing the wave.
Chris Brooks, floor: He’s in fourth place AA with all the combined totaling so far (not counting Mikulak.) Double front pike. 1.5 to double front, stuck. 2.5 to front tuck full. Layout Thomas. Whip to tucked Thomas. Front double full to end. Well, that one was a hit. Brooks is screaming his delight. Bad start to this meet. Great finish. 15.3.
CJ Maestas, rings: Inverted cross. Front double pike. Iron cross. “I live for this stuff,” Maestas says. Double double tuck with a hop back. CJ happily waves to the crowd. He should be very pleased with himself — great meet for him. 15.2.
John Orozco, pbars: Whippit. Oh dear! Big cover on what was supposed to be giant full. He doesn’t fall, but has to kip off and improvise. Double tuck between the rails. Front straddle somie. Shoot to the center. Inside Diamadov. Stutz. Double pike, small hop. He’s grabbing his hand. Vitaly Marinitch is looking at it. They’re talking…and Orozco’s heading back to the trainer’s room. Hmmmm. 14.35.
Alex Naddour, floor: Double layout full out mount. Full in tuck to end was really allI saw. 15.1 is big. Alternate?
Paul Ruggeri, rings: Double pike Yama, double tuck Yama to cross gets the crowd going. Press handstand. Front double pike, basically stuck. Great, great meet for Paul, who’s getting a big hug from Ivan Ivankov. Alternate?! 13.9.
Brandon Wynn, pbars: Good peach half, and he does a Gaylord II style skill as well! Double tuck between the bars. Diamadov to giant double tuck. Stutz, a little quick…Double pike with a hop/shuffle back. Not bad, not bad. Alternate? At the last three Games, the alternate has come from Ohio State…15.3 is a big number for this event as well.
Jake Dalton, floor: Arabian double layour, STUCK. Layout Thomas. 1.5 to front double full. Press. Nailing it so far…whip to tuck Thomas. 2.5 to front layout full, wonderful light landing. AMAZING triple full, and he knows how very good that was. Blows a kiss into the crowd. Is he your fifth man? I think so. Him or Brooks.
David Sender, rings: Inverted cross. Double front pike to Maltese. Planche. Nearly collapses on front giant. Hands down on double double tuck dismount. He’s stil smiling and waving and giving a huge hug to Ivankov. Well deserved for David, who knows this is the end of the road for him. An Olympic Trials, four years belated. Bravo. 13.45.
Josh Dixon, pbars: Hit routine. 14.0.
Jonathan Horton, floor: 1.5 to full twisting front 1 3/4 roll out. Front double pike. Hand down on 2.5 to front tuck full, whoops. Layout Thomas. Angry Russians. He’s pissed he made that mistake. Double full side pass. Crowd clapping him through his last pass, a full in tuck, and he sticks it for them. Hard for him to end on floor after 11 routines in three days I think…but he did it. No question: He’s London-bound. 14.6.
Alex Buscaglia, rings: Hit routine. Gets a nice round of applause, which all these guys are hugely deserving of. 14.0.
Danell Leyva, pbars: Giant Diamadov. Full pirouette. Peach half. Amazing 1.5 pirouetting skill that I don’t know the name of. Stutz. Double pike. Olympian. Yin is dancing around and Danell takes a bow, waves to the crowd, and leaves the podium. Yin bows to him. Danell’s mom embraces him. 15.85. He’s an Olympian.
Steven Legendre, floor: Front double full to double front, STUCK. Wow. 1.5 twisting double layout, small hop forward. Thomas. 2.5 to front layout full, STUCK. Legendre hasn’t given up. Layout Thomas. Arabian double pike, kicks out at the end. The house is going nuts. He’s not making it easy on the selection committee. 16.2.
Glen Ishino, pbars: The last guy to perform here. He takes a minute with his back turned to visualize the routine. Peach half. Peach. Diamadov. Shoot to the center. Stutz. Double pike with a hop back. Alternate? Looks for his family in the crowd and waves to them.
They were all incredible!
Sam Mikulak, pommel: His one event today…a little rocky at the start and calmed down quite well. Crowd is clapping him through this long routine — he makes it! Handstand double pirouette dismount and all. 13.4.
Glen Ishino, vault: Tsuk double full, well done, small hop. He looks stronger here than he did at Nationals. 15.3 (-0.1).
Steven Legendre, high bar: One armed giant. Piked Kovacs. Tucked Kovacs. Crowd tickled. Healy. Inverts. Hop full. Triple tuck dismount, nearly stuck. High fives coach Mark Williams. 14.15.
CJ Maestas, pommel: Maestas goes clean on pommel. Good for him! 14.35.
John Orozco, vault: Handspring front double full, STUCK. Welp, that makes up for the mistake here on day one. WOW. 16.05.
Chris Brooks, high bar: One armed giant. Tak full to Yama to Geinger, nice. Tak half to layout Tkatchev. Layout Tkatchev half. Double double layout with a hop forward. Nice routine. 15.75.
Paul Ruggeri, pommel: This is not a hard routine. But he makes it. He’s pumped. Love the smile. 13.1/4.9.
Brandon Wynn, vault: Handspring double front rolls out. Overrotated. He’s got the look of doom on his face as soon as he stands up. That’s not good. 14.75.
Alex Naddour, high bar: Yama to Geinger, maybe just a teeny form break. Rybalko. A very “safe” high bar routine — outside of the opening sequence it’s all inbar work and pirouettes and stuff. Not that that’s bad. Especially if you can stick a full twisting double layout like he just did. 13.75.
David Sender, pommel: Comes off halfway through. He did a great routine on day one — one of the best of his career. But he can’t seem to put all six pieces together at once, unfortunately. Finishes well. It’s been an experience. 13.3.
Josh Dixon, vault: Roundoff, half on, front layout double full off, sits down. Didn’t get the push he needed coming off the horse. Alas. 14.9. (-0.3).
Jake Dalton, high bar: Tak half, legs, to Tkatchev half. Tak full to Yama, a little close. Tkatchev. Hop full. Rybalko. Double double layout, small little hop. Olympics? One event to go…14.75.
Alex Buscaglia, pommel: Falls early on. Good save right after he gets back on, too. But yeah, he’s not happy with that. 11.5.
Danell Leyva, vault: Tsuk double, small hop. Interesting — he watered down. You can’t be too careful…15.65.
Jonathan Horton, high bar: One armed giant. Cassina, good. Tucked Kovacs. Kolman. Rybalko. On today. Tak full and swings the other way, whoops. Improvising. Yama. Sticks his full twisting double layout even going the opposite way as he’d planned.
Alex Buscaglia, floor: Arabian double pike, large hop out. 1.5 to front double full. Whip to tucked Thomas (“Niiiiice,” go all the guys in his Stanford cheering section.) Layout Thomas. 2.5 to front tuck full. Arabian double front, tiny little hop forward. Nice routine. 15.45.
Danell Leyva, rings: He made this look easy on day one…cross. Roll to cross. Front double pike, double tuck, double layout to planche, hardest sequence in his routine. Front giant. Back giant. STUCK full twisting double layout. Two more to go, and he’s an Olympian. 14.7.
Jonathan Horton, pbars: Press. Belle. Giant full, giant, double pike between the rails. Shoot to the center. Well controlled routine so far. Belle. Stutz. Double pike with a small hop. Good routine. 15.5.
Glen Ishino, rings: Hand peels on his first skill and he falls to his back as the crowd gasps! Wow, that was a scary moment. He lay there for a second, too…but he’s OK, getting a huge ovation as he gets back on. Cal coach Tim McNeill is standing in on the podium for the rest of the routine. Glen does one handstand and a double layout, stuck. Wow. 11.75.
Steven Legendre, pbars: Hit routine. Double pike, small hop. 14.45.
CJ Maestas, floor: Double double tuck, hop back. Front double full to front tuck full. Russians. Press. 2.5 to front layout half. Layout Thomas. Full in tuck, small hop back. Nice ending on that!
John Orozco, rings: Maltese. Double front tuck to planche. Double front pike. STUCK 1.5 twisting double tuck dismount. Just pack him up and ship him to London now. Never mind vault and p-bars. 15.35.
Chris Brooks, pbars: Powers through the routine. Has a slight hesitation on the giant full skill he fell on yesterday, but makes it fine. Double front dismount, small hop. 15.6 might be a tad high, but it was a nice routine.
Paul Ruggeri, floor: Arabian double layout, small hop forward. 1.5 to front double full, small hop. Layout Thomas. Tucked Thomas. 2.5 to front layout full, well done! Double full side pass. Just one to go…Triple full with a small hop. Paul is clapping his hands. 15.45.
Brandon Wynn, rings: Hit routine from the U.S.’s resident rings guy. 15.3. Alternate?
Alex Naddour, pbars: Peach, giant, Geinger. Front straddle somie. Comes off on Diamadov, way way off to the side. Sort of looks at his arm. Repeats the skill when he gets back up. Stutz. Double pike with a small hop. 13.45.
David Sender, floor: Lou Yon, step back. 1.5 to front double full and almost looks like he caught his knee, was still twisting when he came down. 2.5 twist with big step forward. Whip to tucked Thomas. Layout Thomas, low and scary, IMO. I hate that skill. Double twist, stuck. Yeeks of a routine. I’m glad it’s over and he’s safe. 13.45.
Josh Dixon, rings: Solid routine with front double pike dismount, basically stuck. Nice job!
Jake Dalton, pbars: Front flip. Inside Diamadov. Diamadov. Geinger, his own skill, named after him at last year’s Worlds. Repeats it. Front straddle somie. (Brooks: “Work work work WORK!”) Double pike, small hop. Another hit for Dalton.
Notes: After two, combined scores have Leyva in the lead, followed by Orozco and Horton.
Josh Dixon, pommel: Very nice flairs to open! Russian travels also quite good. One form break in the middle, a bit slow towards the end and no dismount to speak of, unfortunately. But you know, he’s a classy guy with some very classy moves. I could almost see him as an alternate…13.6.
Jake Dalton, vault: Kasamatsu double (Tsuk triple). We’ll call that a stick. Dalton raises his arms in victory. That.was.nice. 16.35.
David Sender, high bar: Yama. Healy, a small hesitation before it. Falls on Kolman. This has kind of been his experience here, but it’s nice just to see him compete at an Olympic Trials. Tkatchev. Stuck double twisting double layout to huge cheers. 12.85.
Danell Leyva, pommel: Powers through it. Gets it done. 14.9 is big.
Jonathan Horton, vault: Handspring double front, hop forward. Good job. That could be your third vault in team finals in London…15.85.
Alex Buscaglia, high bar: Crowd is clapping to get the judges to hurry up…Weiler to Healy. Tal full to Yama. Liukin to Geinger, nice. Tak half to layout Tkatchev half, very good! Hop full. Double double layout with a small hop. Huge cheers for this routine as well! 15.8. Big number.
Glen Ishino, pommel: Terrific routine, rhythm, everything. Hit set. 14.9.
Steven Legendre, vault: Dragulescu (handspring double front half twist). Runs backwards out of it and stops himself only at the edge of the podium! 15.5 doesn’t get him where he needs to be.
CJ Maestas, high bar: Inside Healy. Cassina. Kolman. Rybalko. CJ goes for the big stuff! Tak half. STUCK double double layout. You have to love his enthusiasm! He gives 100 percent of himself out there. 14.65.
John Orozco, pommel: Huge ovation for him before and after this hit routine. Wonderful job. 14.95.
Chris Brooks, vault: Handspring double front pike, great job, small hop forward on landing. Brooks screams with delight. Good for him! That was terrific. 16.35.
Paul Ruggeri, high bar: One armed giant. Tak half to layout Tkatchev. Layout Tkatchev half. Tak full to Yama to Geinger, nice. Jam to inverts. STUCK double double layout. Ruggeri is having the meet of his life! Hug from Ivan Ivankov, Illinois’s assistant coach here.
Brandon Wynn, pommel: Calm routine from Wynn. A little slow on the dismount, but whatevs. Not sure how difficult it was, but hey, it was a hit.
Alex Naddour, vault: Handspring front double full, step forward. Some form in there…
Notes: 2004 Olympic champion Paul Hamm gets introduced to a young gymnast, throws a T-shirt into the crowd.
Brandon Wynn, floor: Front layout full to immediate double front, hop forward. Layout Thomas. Whip half to front double full. Impressive Maltese on the floor. Now that’s a strength hold! Double full. Whip to tucked Thomas. Stuck 2.5 twist to end. 14.8.
Alex Naddour, rings: Did you know he’s going out with Hollie Vise? Anyway. Bounce to cross. Impressive Maltese. Double front tuck to planche. Giant to 1.5 twisting double tuck. 14.85.
Paul Ruggeri, pbars: Clear hip mount. Belle. Front flip. Front straddle somie to upper arms. Back toss 1/4 to one rail.Double pike with a small hop back. Another hit! 15.05.
Josh Dixon, floor: 1.5 to full twisting front 1 3/4 roll out. Randi. Whip to layout Thomas. 2.5 to front tuck full. Press. Front double full to front layout half, really clean. Arabian double front to end with a step forward. Strong routine!
Jake Dalton, rings: Cross. Double front pike to double front tuck to planche. Double double tuck dismount, hangs on for the stick. Bravo, Jake! Big smile on his face after that. He’s making the team one routine at a time, but he’s going for that fifth spot…14.8.
David Sender, pbars: Peach mount. Hard giant full. Peach half? Giant. Geinger. Again. Stutz. Back toss. Double pike, stuck. Nice to see him hit something like this. 15.0.
Danell Leyva, floor: Double double layout, hop back. Layout Thomas. Tucked Thomas side pass. Very impressive strength move, legs in front of his face. Front layout full to front tuck half to corner. Whip to 2.5 with a hop. Rudi with a hop. Crowd clapping him through last pass. Double layout, small hop. Danell’s probably thinking he can do this routine without quite as many hops…14.45.
Jonathan Horton, rings: Maltese, nice! Cross. Inverted cross, good position. Planche. Maltese again. Horton, in his old age, has become more of a rings specialist than anything else. This is the event they really need him for in London. Double double tuck, STUCK. Good man. 15.45.
Alex Buscaglia, pbars: Equivalent of a Gaylord II on high bar, very interesting skill. His Stanford teammates are all nearby, cheering him loudly. Geinger. Front straddle somie. Double pike. 14.9.
Glen Ishino, floor: Running front double full to front tuck half. Roundoff, Arabian double front, hop forward. Running front 1 3/4 roll out. Press. 2.5 to front tuck full, hop. Double full side pass. And finally a great triple full, hop back. 14.65.
Steven Legendre, rings: Planche. Lower to cross. Planche. Double front tuck, double front pike. Double double tuck dismount with a 0.3 hop back. 14.55.
CJ Maestas, pbars: Front flip. Back toss quarter. Works quickly! Peach, giant, double tuck between the rails. Shoot to center. Double pike, nice dismount, small hop. CJ’s jazzed. 14.75.
John Orozco, floor: Arabian double pike, good control. Layout Thomas. Terrific flairs sequence, up through the handstand and down, twice. Running front 1 3/4 roll out. 1.5 to front layout full. Russians. Smartly constructed routine, this. 2.5 twist dismount, nearly stuck. Another hit from Orozco. 15.2.
Chris Brooks, rings: Cross. Planche. Maltese. Front double pike, double tuck, double layout, great. Front giant. Back giant. 1.5 twisting double front, small hop. Still looking somber. He’s made too many mistakes, unfortunately.
Notes: The Californians — Glen Ishino, Sam Mikulak and Josh Dixon — get especially big cheers as the gymnasts are introduced. Orozco too. Mikulak is a little ginger on his ankle as he walks out onto the floor, but he is walking…
The boys start jumping around like they have ants in their pants as soon as the final notes of the national anthem sound. We are in competition!
Steven Legendre’s fiancee, trampoline gymnast Alaina Williams, is here with a friend. The friend is holding a sign that says “Steven, will you marry me?” and Alaina has a sign that says “Oh, wait, he’s already marrying me!”
While we wait for things to begin, a bunch of kids do a handstand contest on the floor. But nobody notices that 2008 Olympian Raj Bhavsar is also among them. He really is the stature of a kid and blends right in!
Chris Brooks, pommel: He needs to hit this routine more than he’s ever needed to hit anything. And he doesn’t — comes off halfway through. I’m so sorry for him…gets a huge round of applause before he remounts. 13.0.
CJ Maestas, vault: DTY, couple hops back. Tries hard to control the landing. Not bad. He just looks like he’s having a good time. 15.35.
John Orozco, high bar: Liukin, great. Layout Tkatchev. Rybalko. Tak half to Tkatchev half. Tak full to Yama. Hop full. Stuck full twisting double layout. Shakes hands with Vitaly Marinitch. Crowd exploding. 15.95.
Alex Naddour, pommel: Absolutely lovely full spin on one arm. Scary moment late in the routine but he manages to pull it back around. Hit routine. Intense. 14.8.
Paul Ruggeri, vault: Roundoff, half on, front layout double full off. Out of the alley and steps to the side but stood it up. Was off coming off the table. 15.55.
Brandon Wynn, high bar: One armed giant. Blind to Tak full (legs apart) to Yama.Fighting for it. Inverts. Weiler. Hop full. Flaired out full twisting double layout, STUCK. A hug from coach Casimir Suarez. 14.45.
Jake Dalton, pommel: Off about a third of the way through. Got in trouble early and couldn’t recover. 11.75. Ouch.
David Sender, vault: Yurchenko double pike, WOW. Slightly low landing, step forward, but better than the other day. Amazing stuff. 16.0 (-0.1).
Josh Dixon, high bar: Front stalder Healy to full twisting Jaeger layout, nice! Tak skill.Tkatchev. Blind to Tak full to Yama. Inside Healy. Jam to inverts. STUCK full twisting double layout. Crowd roaring for the local kid. Nice job!15.15.
Jonathan Horton, pommel: Long, hit routine. Horton’s worked hard to get this piece up to snuff. Pan to wife Hailey in the crowd, clapping and wearing a green T-shirt that says “GO JONATHAN” on the back. 13.8.
Alex Buscaglia, vault: Should be a Li Xiaopeng…roundoff, half on, front layout 1.5 off. Didn’t go for it. Lovely as it was, however. 15.6.
Danell Leyva, high bar: Can you feel the intensity? Tak full, great, to Yama. Awesome and beautiful. Liukin. Excellent. Layout Kovacs. Tak half to layout Tkatchev. Jam to pop, front stalder. Double double layout, STUCK. Attaboy! Yin gives him kudos, a big hug. Danell is milking it. The crowd is loving it. That was awesome. 16.3. HUGE.
Steven Legendre, pommel: Excellent routine. Capped with double pirouetting dismount. Legendre’s not giving up…the selection committee should take note. 13.45.
Glen Ishino, high bar: Yamawaki with an extra half twist caught in mixed grip, cool. Tak to Yama. Tucked Kovacs. Hop full. Hop 1.5 (Rybalko). Weiler. Double double layout, windmills his arms, hangs on for the stick! Very nice job.
12:05 p.m.: John Macready is briefing the crowd. “Tonight, we will meet the team that represents us in London,” he says.
11:58 a.m.: Cool skill form Glen Ishino on high bar: Yamawaki half. So basically a full twisting front hecht over the bar. Cool. Also: beautiful layout Jaeger full from Josh Dixon.
11:44 a.m.: Per USA Gymnastics: “Sam Mikulak will not be competing in all six events today due to a sprained left ankle from the first day of competition. In accordance with the selection procedures, scores from any events in which he competes today will count and for any events that he does not compete, his scores from June 28 and the Visa Championships will be averaged to use as a score for June 30. He is not eligible to automatically qualify to the team.”
11:42 a.m.: Wow, a Li Xiaopeng vault from Alex Buscaglia! Li Xiaopeng, by the way, is a roundoff, half on, front 2.5 layout off. I *think* I saw that correctly. Normally he competes a layout front double full. But if ever there were a time to upgrade, this is certainly it.
11:36 a.m.: Legendre: Front double full to immediate double front. Incredible tumbling pass. Steve told me also he dreams of one day performing an Arabian triple front. Whether this Olympics process works out or not, he seems pretty committed to four more years.
11:23 a.m.: Warmups continue. Seeing a bit of real tumbling (a Lou Yon from David Sender) and some real vaulting (Steven Legendre stuck a handspring double front onto an eight inch mat, Chris Brooks went for a handspring double front pike and missed) and a businesslike stuck double pike off pbars from Danell Leyva.
11:13 a.m.: What a meet this has been for Paul Ruggeri. The former Illinois star went six for six yesterday and looks just on so far in warmups on floor. Great Arabian double layout, great 1.5 to front double, great Thomas. He’s done himself a solid so far here.
11:11 a.m.: This is a good strategy on the part of Mikulak and Michigan — if Sam hits pommels, he’ll solidify his value to the team, where pommel horse is not the Achilles heel it once was, but is still a concern. And Mikulak’s pommels looked good on day one.
11:03 a.m.: Per Michigan coach Kurt Golder, per USA Gymnastics: Mikulak will compete today, but only on pommel horse.
11:00 a.m.: Sam Mikulak is on the floor out here, stretching in his tracksuit while everyone else warms up. USA Gymnastics was going to have an announcement concerning his status about five minutes ago, but they have changed their minds due to “complications.”
10:56 a.m.: Of course, Sam Mikulak has competed under worse circumstances. At the Puerto Rico Cup in 2011, he fractured both his ankles on floor exercise (which I believe was the U.S. men’s first event) and kept competing through the meet. (He didn’t vault, he said, but he did the other events.) “He was in a wheelchair the whole meet and he did pommels, high bar, pbars, and he landed on both his feet,” Yin Alvarez recalled.
It wasn’t until after the meet when Stephen said to him, “Son, you’re not walking so well,” that Mikulak thought something might really be wrong. An X-ray confirmed that he had fractured both ankles.
Given this history, Yin says, “Yeah, I want him on my team.”
10:49 a.m.: Meanwhile, on the floor, the rest of the guys are warming up — er, standing around the chalkbowl killing time before the meet begins and occasionally doing simple skills on the apparatus. Chris Brooks (on parallel bars) to Steven Legendre (on high bar): “Nice, Steve, that was…delicious!” He pronounces delicious “dee-lish-ius.”
10:46 a.m.: The Detroit Free Press’s Jo-Ann Barnas is sitting in the stands talking to Sam Mikulak’s father, who looks exactly like Sam plus 25 years and with his shoulder-length hair is every inch the California surfer dude (and, in his downtime, an orthopedic surgeon). Stephen Mikulak is wearing a blue “Team Sam” tank top with the American flag on it, which was the uniform of all Sam’s supporters on day one.
10:37 a.m.: The day begins with a dilemma.
If you’re Sam Mikulak, and you’re 19 years old, you’re having a banner couple months. Thanks to your strong performances at the U.S. Championships and on day one at the Olympic Trials, your berth to the Games looks set.
You’re great on vault and floor and surprisingly good on pommel horse and high bar. You’re being looked at not only as the guy who earns a place on this Olympic team but can potentially take over as a leader of the program for the next quadrennium.
There’s just one small problem: you sprain your ankle landing your Tsuk triple on night one of the Olympic Trials.
Here’s the dilemma: Do you compete on day two? On the one hand, you’ve shown you can do it injured (and under worse circumstances). But on the other, you might get more injured and then really not be named to the Olympic team. So Mikulak has two options: Compete through it and make the team in his own right, or petition to the team, leaving things in the hands of the selection committee which doesn’t like injuries much (remember David Sender).
What do you do?
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