Tokyo (AP) — Sam Mikulak got off the floor and laughed with his palms up.
The final performances of the three Olympians at the gymnastics team event did not go as planned.
A 28-year-old foot came out from under him to maintain the US fourth place finish in the final on Monday night. In the process, there was no chance to stop Britain.
Oh well. It’s gymnastics. No one knows that Newport Beach gymnast is as good as Mikurak, who has spent nearly a decade fluidly as the flag bearer of the men’s program. The Americans arrived at the Ariake Gymnasium, knowing that aiming for a medal stand would require a major mistake by either a Chinese, a Japanese, or a Russian.
They didn’t happen. But for the first time since winning the bronze medal at the 2014 World Championships, the United States seems to be gaining momentum. Shane Wiskus, Yul Moldauer and Brody Malone, the three Olympic rookie, were solid and occasionally spectacular while competing with the final Olympic champion Russia.
There is no pommel horse blast. It will not fall on the horizontal bar. There are no real kind of big errors other than Mikulak’s untimely slip. The group that invaded the improvised version of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” rarely wobbled and shook.
That is the beginning.
“Team USA has a really strong future,” said Mikurak, who will retire after the tournament. “I know these guys are going (increasingly difficult) and suddenly (in 2024) coming to Paris. I’m trying to get them on the medal podium. I know I’m cranking it out, so I’m excited about what they all do to grow out of this experience. ”
The biggest obstacle in the United States at the moment is mathematics, not talent. The difficulty of their routine cannot be exactly the same as that put together by Russia, Japan and China. Americans are lagging behind before stepping into the stadium. This will need to change over the next three years to close the gap with the three sports superpowers. And they know it.
“Playing safely isn’t worth it in the long run,” Whiskas said. “I’ve been guilty of this many times and I’m pulling out my skills just for a clean hit routine, but when it comes to advancing US gymnastics and getting to the podium of medals, it helps us. It doesn’t mean that we really need to think about our priorities and focus our energy on overcoming difficulties and prioritizing them. ”
I have time. Malone is 21 years old, Whiskas is 22 years old, and Moldauer is 24 years old. They were rarely overwhelmed by the biggest stages of the sport. Starting with the pommel horse (a long place where hope for US medals has disappeared), they cranked out the hit set after the hit set. Tracking the top three wasn’t enough, but Americans spent most of the night hitting their heads against the ceiling.
“I think we can now come back and take in the experience from these games and bring them to the next game,” Whiskas said. “I think it only makes us stronger and better prepared for the next time.”
But for Mikuraku, there is no next time. The six national champions are ready to continue his rest of his life. He is in the process of getting married and moving to North Carolina.
Two days of competition remain in his life. He will join Malone all-round on Wednesday and will chalk on the parallel bars in the event finals later in the game. Then proceed to the next. He’s okay with that. Malone’s victory in both the Nationals and the Olympic trials signaled a change of guards.
Mikuraku has long reconciled with it. If anything, it helped to relieve a little pressure. For the first time in three Olympics, he actually enjoyed it. There are worse ways to end your career. Much worse.
“I feel like I’m in a very good headspace because I can come here, be free, feel like myself, and be vulnerable to these people,” Micrak said. Told. “These people helped me get there.”
Mikulak makes final men’s gymnastics team appearance; USA takes 5th – Press Enterprise Source link Mikulak makes final men’s gymnastics team appearance; USA takes 5th – Press Enterprise