2012 U.S. Olympic Trials- Sam Mikulak Update
June 30, 2012
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By Evan Heiter
When Sam Mikulak landed a tumbling pass at the 2011 Puerto
Rico Cup something happened. Well, actually a couple things—his ankles
The gutsy Mikulak had taken some rough landings throughout
his career, but this one was obviously a bit more significant. In the life of a
gymnast, the good pair of ankles stays atop the body functionality priority
list. Mikulak returned to the University of Michigan and began down the rehab
Mikulak’s injury that he sustained in Puerto Rico actually
helped bolster his Olympic dream for 2012, though. Staying away from floor and
vault, Mikulak was able to focus on pommel horse—a glaring weakness for the
U.S. men. Scoring over 15.000 in NCAA competition and consistently mid-14.000
on the USA scene, Sam Mikulak was stronger than ever—in the all around!
In his final event on Day 1 of competition at the U.S.
Olympic Trials, something happened. This time only one of Mikulak’s ankles
decided to act a fool. However, fueled by adrenaline and his six-for-six
performance, Mikulak didn’t show any visible signs of pain or discomfort. As is
usually the case, though, the next day told the story. He awoke on Friday
morning with some bruising and added discomfort to his ankle - not the type of
morning you want to have with another day of competition and the Olympics
Mikulak immediately consulted and sought the guidance from a
trio of key people: his coach Kurt Golder, National Team Coordinator Kevin
Mazeika and his father Stephen—an orthopedic surgeon. In training on Friday,
Mikulak was present but did not train and was wearing a boot. When he arrived
at the arena today, however he was suited up an no boot in sight. A “game day
decision” will be made with Scenario A: competing only four events (no
floor or vault) or Scenario B : competing only on pommel horse which appeared to be the plan in today's warm up or Scenario C: petitioning for consideration for a spot
directly on the team.
As opposed to the women’s Olympic selection procedures, the
men are permitted to petition directly onto the Olympic team if the need
Petitions directly to the 2012
Olympic Team will be considered for approval by the Selection Committee. In
order to be considered by the Selection Committee, petitions onto the 2012
Olympic Team must be submitted in writing to USA Gymnastics’ national office as
soon as practical after the athlete becomes aware of his inability to
participate in the applicable competition and no later than the
conclusion of competition at the 2012 Olympic Team Trials – Gymnastics.
Mikulak was seen as a likely
lock for the team prior to the injury and the shake up likely has the selection
committee running all kinds of new potential scenarios.
With a sprained ankle, many
gymnast recover completely within the span of a week, so this could be just a
minor hiccup on the road to London or it could be a major development in the
painting of the picture of Team USA. How will it all play our? We’ll know more
in hours – stay tuned…
Update at 11:00 am: Coach Kurt Golder says Mikulak will only compete on the pommel horse in today's competition.
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