Mikulak to play reduced role on final day of trials
SAN JOSE, California |
SAN JOSE, California (Reuters) - Sam Mikulak's hopes of selection for the London Games hinged largely on his superb first day at the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials after he opted to compete in only one routine on Saturday.
The 2012 U.S. parallel bars silver medalist hurt his left ankle in his last event on Thursday, the vault, and planned to take part in only the pommel horse on the final day of competition, his coach Kurt Golder said.
Fifteen gymnasts are vying for five spots on offer at next month's Olympics and the fast emerging Mikulak was third in the overall standings after dominating the opening day at the HP Pavilion.
The 19-year-old was the most impressive gymnast of the afternoon, totaling 91.800 from his six routines to close the gap on world parallel bars champion Danell Leyva and U.S. all-around champion John Orozco.
However, Mikulak had to put ice on his left ankle after a painful finish on the vault on Thursday and was not optimistic on Saturday about his chances of competing in all six routines.
"It's in bad shape but we'll see right before the competition," he tweeted about his swollen ankle.
Mikulak, who claimed the 2011 NCAA all-around title as a freshman at University of Michigan, was ruled out of selection for last year's world championships after breaking his ankles during a competition in Puerto Rico.
He was sidelined for several months and wore walking boots on both feet for protection while recovering.
The top two men, based on combined scores from the U.S. nationals and trials, will earn automatic Olympic selection after the second day of competition on Saturday if they also finish in the top three in at least three events.
If not, the selection committee will pick two gymnasts on Saturday with the remaining three spots for the London Games to be added on Sunday.
Leyva and Orozco are likely to remain as the top two with Mikulak, Jonathan Horton and Jake Dalton expected to round out the team.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)
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