The Norman Transcript

National Sports

August 19, 2013

Michigan’s Mikulak cruises to U.S. men’s gymnastics title



Jake Dalton was third. Defending champion John Orozco finished fourth in his first major competition since undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee last October.

Danell Leyva, the all-around bronze medalist in London last summer, finished seventh.

Ultimately, the rest of a deep field was playing for second, and they knew it.

“I would have liked to catch up to Sam,” Dalton said. “I was hoping to hit my routines. I had a few mistakes. Once you had a few mistakes, you know you’re not going to be up there.”

Even if no American is quite in Mikulak’s league at the moment. Mikulak is undefeated in competition this year, the Big Ten and NCAA title this spring then backing it up by draining any drama out of the biggest meet since London.

Not ready to put things on cruise control after opening up a 2.950-point lead over Dalton on Friday night, Mikulak put on a show during in the finals, widening his advantage quickly.

Normally so laid back it looks as if he’s hanging out at the mall rather than competing at his sport’s highest level, Mikulak let loose as the day wore on.

He pumped his fist several times after drilling his floor exercise routine.

“I was stoked,” Mikulak said. “Floor is more personal. You put more of yourself into it. It was fun to hit that one.”

A sentiment echoed by Naddour, who has resurrected his career a year after failing to make the Olympic team.

Considered a specialist on the pommel horse — an event the U.S. has struggled in for three decades —Naddour slipped by Dalton, the co-favorite, to cement a spot alongside Mikulak on the world championship team.

It’s sweet redemption for Naddour, who did some serious soul searching after struggling last summer.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Smoke turns corner at Indy

    INDIANAPOLIS — Drivers always say there’s something magical about Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the opportunity for NASCAR to race there opened the door for one of Jeff Gordon’s most treasured victories. It was a race Tony Stewart ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Roma tops Liverpool

    BOSTON — Marco Borriello scored in the 90th minute to give Roma a 1-0 victory over Liverpool in a preseason friendly Wednesday night at Fenway Park. There were limited chances until Borriello volleyed in a corner from in front of goal....

    July 24, 2014

  • Marcus Mariota helps Oregon’s PAC-12 title chance in preseason polls

    LOS ANGELES — Although Marcus Mariota knew he would be under a spotlight when he stepped onto the famed Paramount Studios lot Wednesday, the Oregon quarterback is getting quite comfortable in his starring role....

    July 24, 2014

  • Majka wins 16th stage, Nibali leads

    PLA D’ADET, France — On the last of four Pyrenees ascents, Rafal Majka winked at a French TV camera and tugged playfully at a motorcycle’s antenna....

    July 24, 2014

  • Aggie’s QB Chuckie Keeton talk dominates Mountain West media day

    LAS VEGAS — Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton got his junior season off to a superb start, only to have it derailed by a knee injury in Game 6....

    July 24, 2014

  • Heavily favored U.S. group faces off against world’s best female golfers

    OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The inaugural International Crown is unique for what it isn’t. Thirty-two elite players from eight countries will compete at Caves Valley Golf Club to determine which nation has the best women’s players in the world. ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Weir, DeLaet attempt to end 60-year Open drought

    MONTREAL — Mike Weir was well aware that it has been 60 years since a Canadian won the Canadian Open....

    July 24, 2014

  • Pyrenees help leader Nibali, winner Rogers in Stage 16

    BAGNERES-DE-LUCHON, France — The Pyrenees on Tuesday lived up to their reputation for causing ups and downs at the Tour de France: A French rider climbed in the standings, an American went down, and an Australian rebounding from an ordeal ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Mountain stage rough on Yankee rider

    BAGNERES-DE-LUCHON, France — The Tour de France entered the Pyrenees on Tuesday for the first of three mountain stages that may well determine the final podium of this year’s race....

    July 23, 2014

  • Strong prefers not talking about a national title

    DALLAS — Charlie Strong riled up plenty of Texas fans during a statewide spring tour by saying the Longhorns wouldn’t be in the national championship game....

    July 23, 2014