By Patricia C. Duffy

After a storied career that spanned approximately 21 years and included two Olympic appearances and four FIG World Championships medals, Jake Dalton has decided to retire from competitive gymnastics.

Feature photo by Ricardo Bufolin.

After a storied career that spanned approximately 21 years and included two Olympic appearances and four FIG World Championships medals, Jake Dalton has decided to retire from competitive gymnastics.

“I could kind of feel my body going downhill,” Dalton told Inside Gymnastics in an exclusive interview. “It [was] definitely a struggle to maintain peak conditioning getting ready for the Olympics. I tried to take a little bit of a break and recover. It was really hard to enjoy going into the gym every single day, hurting that much on all the events… I wanted to end my career on a high note. The Olympic [Team] was a really special thing to make for the second time and experience that.”

Dalton was known for combining jam-packed, high difficulty routines with a high standard of artistic presentation and cleanliness.

The 25-year-old fan favorite from Reno, Nevada is now focused on helping manage his family’s Gymnastics Nevada gyms in Reno and Sparks.

“I’m trying to build myself up and save up to get into an ownership role, so I can purchase the gyms from them,” Dalton said. “That’s definitely my long-term goal: to stay in the sport, help kids go as far as possible in the sport, [and] make a lot of memories.”

Dalton also has a budding Youtube channel (search @jdflipkid or Jake Dalton) focused on health and fitness that he is using as a medium to reach people from all walks of life.

Most importantly, the former NCAA gymnast (Oklahoma) is looking forward to returning to his roots and, down the line, potentially starting a family with wife and fellow former Sooner gymnast Kayla Nowak.

“I lived in Oklahoma for almost 8 years, so being away from that part of the family and obviously training, even when I was younger, we didn’t have a lot of family vacations. My competitions were basically our family vacations,” Dalton said. “The first week I was home [in Nevada] we got to go camping. I get to experience things with my family that I couldn’t before because of training or that I had to have the right nutrition.”

Dalton began gymnastics in 1996 at the age of five and trained at Gymnastics Nevada before joining the Sooners in 2009.

During his three seasons with the Sooners in Norman, Oklahoma, Dalton won four NCAA individual championships. It was also during this time, leading up to London 2012, that Dalton burst onto the scene as a strong contributor for USA Gymnastics on the national and international stages.

He would go on to help Team USA to a bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships. Dalton subsequently finished his junior season with Oklahoma in 2012, ultimately deciding to end his NCAA career and turn professional after making the 2012 Olympic Team.

In the years following his first Olympic appearance, Dalton accumulated three more World Championships medals (2013 floor exercise silver; 2014 team and vault bronze). He earned a spot on the 2016 Olympic Team after stellar performances at the 2016 Men’s P&G Championships (floor exercise and vault champion; all-around and still rings bronze) and 2016 Men’s Olympic Team Trials (third in all-around; first in floor and vault).

Be on the lookout for an in-depth interview with Dalton in Inside Gymnastics Magazine’s October 2017 issue.

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