Tonight, NBC will be broadcasting highlights from the Men's Team Qualifier competition. So far, the news from the qualifier is that Jonathan Horton, who was an MVP gymnast during the last summer Olympics, will not be competing as an all-around gymnast. This means that instead of competing on all 6 of the Olympic Events (High-Bar, Floor, Pommel Horse, Parallel Bars, Rings and Vault), he will be competing only on the events which he is expected to help the team most on. His former Olympic experience makes him our team's most seasoned gymnast, so be sure to check out the events he does compete on!
The two gymnasts who qualified to compete as all-around gymnasts for the U.S. team are John Orozco and Danell Leyva. These two men were very strong at the Olympic Trials held in early July. They are definitely contenders for the gold, in the individual all-around competition.
John Orozco is from the Bronx, NY, where he became an aspiring and successfull gymnast. He is one that I will be watching very closely, since I used to watch him compete in the higher age divisions at competitions when I was a younger gymnast. His routines would always capture my attention, and everyone else's because he was amazing! In 2010 he moved his training to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado with dreams of becoming a member on the U.S. Olympic Team; now his dreams have been realized as he is one of our strongest competitors this year. His routines will be a crucial factor in how well our team does this year, as his routines will have weight on all 6 events.
Danell Leyva was born in Cuba, where his stepfather and mother were both members of the Cuban National Gymnastics Team. When Leyva was just a year old, his stepfather and mother defected to Miami, FL. They opened up a gymnastics training facility in Miami, where Danell became the gymnast he is today. Leyva is still coached by his stepfather. Be sure to watch Danell Leyva's high bar and parallel bars routines, as those are his specialty events. He is the reigning world champion on parallel bars.
The other athletes on the men's team this year include Sam Mikulak, from Corona Del Mar, CA, who currently is a student at the University of Michigan and won the NCAA Men's All-Around title in his freshman year, and Jake Dalton, from Reno, NV, who currently is a student at the University of Oklahoma, and is known for his strength on floor and vault.
I hope everyone enjoys watching the games today. Stay tuned for more about USA Men's gymnastics here!