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Take 5 with Sam Mikulak

June 16, 2010
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Brian Taylor

Over the past couple of years, Sam Mikulak has been making a name for himself in the junior ranks, nationally and internationally. After taking home a total of 6 medals at this past May’s JO National Championships, 4 gold (team, all-around, floor and vault), 1 silver (high bar) and 1 bronze (p-bars), Mikulak is looking forward to his next competition, the Visa Championships in August. This soon-to-be high school graduate will be joining the Michigan Wolverines in the fall. With some big tricks, great form and winning attitude, Mikulak is a rising star in USA Gymnastics, and a name everyone should watch out for in the future. Mikulak recently spoke with Inside about his recent successes and what the future might hold for him.

After winning JO's, you’re a favorite for the junior title at Visa Championships in August; do you feel that you have a good chance to win and how do you feel about the pressure?

I definitely am glad to gain some fame from winning JO Nationals, because I love putting on a show for people when I perform and the bigger my crowd is the better I feel I will do. Unfortunately, I couldn't have the chance to compete at the JO Nationals against John Orozco, CJ Maestas, and Dylan Akers who are definitely the strongest competitors, but they were all away to a meet in Australia. Even if people do see me as a favorite to win, I have many competitors working to take my place. I feel that this meet could be anyone’s win; I am just going to go out there and do what I can to my best ability and have fun.

What are you goals for Visa Championships?

My goals are to make the Junior National team. My biggest goal is to make the Senior National team, which is a long shot, but if I go out and compete like I have recently been doing, it could just happen.

You’re now finishing up your senior year of high school and about to start a new chapter at Michigan. What made you decide on Michigan?

To be honest I didn't have any thought about Michigan as a possible school choice, but when I got there and saw how everything was, I just knew that was where I wanted to be. The gym is amazing, the team works like a family, the school help is great, and they got the Big House. Plus after seeing them win NCAA's I feel like a made a good choice.

What are your goals for your freshman year, as well as the three years following that at the NCAA level?

Every year I hope our team can take the NCAA title, and we all will work on that together as a team. Personally, my goals are to just make the Senior National team and travel to different countries to compete.

Where do you see yourself fitting into Team USA? Do you see yourself as a possible threat for 2012, or are you looking beyond that?

Well considering my strengths are on floor and vault, I see myself being a specialist for those events. I mean I would love to get to go all-around in the Olympic Games or World Championships in my years to come, but that just going to be my motivation to work hard in the gym. My biggest goals as of now are through 2016 and they are to make the senior national team, and travel the world to compete, be it through Olympic Games or World Championships. As for 2012, no one can be too sure for something so great, but if I have ever wanted something so bad it would be for that to happen.

Mikulak at the 2009 U.S. Championships photo by Lloyd Smith for Inside Gymnastics

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