Sam Mikulak

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Sam Mikulak
Sam Mikulak (28736161771) a.jpg
Mikulak at the 2016 Olympics
Personal information
Full nameSamuel Anthony Mikulak
Country representedUnited States
Born (1992-10-13) October 13, 1992 (age 26)
Corona del Mar, California
HometownNewport Coast, California
ResidenceColorado Springs, Colorado
Height5 ft 6 in (168 cm)
DisciplineMen's artistic gymnastics
Years on national team2007–present (USA)
ClubSCATS
GymU.S. Olympic Training Center- Colorado Springs
College teamUniversity of Michigan
(2010–14)
Head coach(es)Vitaliy Marinitch
Former coach(es)Kurt Golder

Samuel Anthony "Sam" Mikulak (born October 13, 1992)[1] is an American artistic gymnast. He is a five-time U.S. national all-around champion (2013-2016, 2018), the 2018 World bronze medalist on high bar, and a two-time Olympian (2012 Olympics in London and 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro). He is also an eight-time NCAA champion, winning the all-around, team, and several individual event titles at the 2011, 2013, and 2014 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships.

He trains at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Early years[edit]

Mikulak was born inHuntington Beach, CA, is of Polish descent, and attended Corona del Mar High School. His parents both competed in gymnastics at the University of California, Berkeley, and started Sam in gymnastics at age two. He has a younger sister Alexandra Mikulak, who started gymnastics at two as well but stopped at a young age. [2] His father, Stephen Mikulak, is an orthopedic surgeon.[3] Mikulak was a member of the Junior National team from 2007 to 2010. He won the all-around title as well as the floor exercise and vault titles at the 2010 Junior Olympic Nationals.[2]

As a Junior Elite gymnast, Mikulak won the silver medal in the all-around three years in a row in the 14-15 year old division at the 2007, 2008, and 2009 U.S. National Championships. He was runner-up to John Orozco all three years. At the 2010 U.S. National Championships, Mikulak won the Junior national all-around title in the 16-18 year old division. He also won the gold medal on pommel horse, parallel bars, and high bar.

University of Michigan[edit]

Mikulak enrolled at the University of Michigan where he was a member of the Michigan Wolverines men's gymnastics team from 2010 to 2014. As the anchor of the team, he led Michigan to the NCAA team title in 2013 and 2014. As a freshman at the 2011 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships, he won the individual all-around title with a career-high score of 90.75.[2] As a sophomore in 2012, he won the Big Ten Conference title on high bar and pommel horse and placed second in the all-around.[2] Later that year, Mikulak became the first male gymnast from the University of Michigan to qualify for the Olympics.[4] At the 2013 NCAA Championships, Mikulak won the all-around, parallel bars, and high bar titles. At the 2014 NCAA Championships, he won the all-around and parallel bars titles. He was named undergraduate assistant coach for the University of Michigan men's team in August 2014.

Senior Elite Gymnastics Career[edit]

2012: First Olympics[edit]

At the 2012 U.S. National Championships, Mikulak won the bronze medal in the all-around and the silver medal on parallel bars.[5] At the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, he was unable to compete in five of the six events on Day 2 after spraining his ankle while competing on vault on the first night of competition.[6][3][7] Despite the injury, Mikulak was selected for the five-man Olympic gymnastics team.[8] He was the first male gymnast from the University of Michigan to be named to the U.S. Olympic team.[9]

At the 2012 Olympics in London, Mikulak placed 5th with the U.S. team in the team competition. The U.S. team had placed 1st in the qualification round. Mikulak competed in the vault final, placing 5th. His Michigan teammate Syque Caesar also competed in the 2012 Olympics, representing Bangladesh.[3]

2013: First National Title[edit]

Mikulak won his first national all-around title at the 2013 U.S. National Championships in Hartford, Connecticut. He also won the gold medal on parallel bars and high bar. He then competed at the 2013 World Championships, where he placed 6th in the all-around final and 4th in the high bar final.[10]

2014: Second National Title[edit]

In March at the 2014 American Cup in Greensboro, North Carolina, Mikulak won the all-around title. In August, Mikulak won his second national all-around title at the 2014 U.S. National Championships in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He also won the gold medal on pommel horse and the silver medal on high bar. He then competed at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning, China. He won a bronze medal with the U.S. team in the team competition and placed 12th in the all-around final.

2015: Third National Title[edit]

In March, Mikulak, along with Simone Biles, MyKayla Skinner and Donnell Whittenburg, represented the U.S. against a strong international field at the 2015 AT&T American Cup at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Mikulak finished fourth in the all-around.

On July 11, 2015, Mikulak led the U.S. men's gymnastics team to their first gold medal at the Pan-American Games in twenty years. Two days later, he was crowned Pan American champion in the all-around final.[11]

On August 16, 2015, Mikulak won his third consecutive national all-around title at the 2015 U.S. National Championships in Indianapolis. He also won the gold medal on vault and parallel bars and won the bronze medal on pommel horse and high bar.[12] Due to a partially torn achilles tendon injury, he was unable to participate at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.[13][14]

On December 17, 2015, Mikulak and two-time World medalist Donnell Whittenburg accepted invitations to represent the U.S. at the 2016 American Cup in Newark, New Jersey, on March 5, 2016.

2016: Fourth National Title and Second Olympics[edit]

On February 21, 2016, Mikulak won the all-around title at the Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas, with a two-day score of 177.50. He outscored the second place finisher, Akash Modi, by over two points. In March, Mikulak finished fourth at the American Cup, his first international competition since recovering from a torn Achilles tendon. In April, he competed at the 2016 Pacific Rim Championships and won the gold medal with the U.S. team in the team event. He also won the bronze medal in the all-around and the silver medal on the pommel horse.

Mikulak claimed his fourth consecutive national all-around title on June 5, 2016 at the 2016 U.S. National Championships in Hartford, Connecticut. He outscored Chris Brooks 181.500 to 179.850 to become the first male gymnast to win four consecutive national titles since Blaine Wilson won five titles in a row from 1996 to 2000.

On June 25, 2016, Mikulak placed first at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in St. Louis, Missouri, and qualified for his second Olympic team. He was named to the five-man U.S. Olympic men's gymnastics team along with Chris Brooks, John Orozco (who was replaced by Danell Leyva due to injury), Jake Dalton, and Alex Naddour.[15] Mikulak was one of three gymnasts who train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to qualify for the Olympic men's gymnastics team.

At the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Mikulak placed fifth with the U.S. team in the team competition. He went on to place seventh in the all-around final and fourth in the high bar final. The U.S. men's team had placed second in the qualification round.

2017[edit]

In August, Mikulak only competed on two events at the 2017 U.S. National Championships in Anaheim, California and maintained his spot on the U.S. national team. His streak of four U.S. national all-around titles was snapped, as he was still recovering from an Achilles tendon injury that he suffered in February at the Winter Cup. He won the silver medal on pommel horse and the bronze medal on high bar. In October, he competed only on high bar at the 2017 World Championships in Montreal, Canada, as he was still not fully back from his injury. His quest to capture an individual medal ended when he fell on high bar during the qualification round. As Mikulak was recovering from injury, he continued to host and participate in numerous clinics and workshops for aspiring gymnasts.

2018: Fifth National Title and First Individual World Medal[edit]

In February, Mikulak won the gold medal in the all-around at the 2018 Winter Cup in Las Vegas. He also placed first on the floor exercise, parallel bars, and high bar. Following the Winter Cup, the top six ranked all-around gymnasts including Mikulak automatically qualified for the 2018 U.S. national team. In April, he competed at the 2018 Pacific Rim Championships and won the gold medal with the U.S. team and the all-around title. He also won the gold medal on rings and high bar and won the silver medal on floor exercise and parallel bars.

In August, Mikulak won his fifth national all-around title in dominant fashion at the 2018 U.S. National Championships in Boston. After a somewhat shaky performance on Day 1 that included falls on pommel horse and high bar, he came back with a very strong outing on Day 2 and won the gold medal easily. His margin of victory was the largest of any of his national titles. He also won the gold medal on floor exercise, parallel bars, and high bar. Mikulak is the first male gymnast to win five U.S. national titles since Blaine Wilson won five straight crowns from 1996 to 2000.[16]

In October, Mikulak competed at the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar. He and the U.S. team finished fourth in the team competition. He qualified for the all-around final in third place, and also qualified for four event finals. Mikulak is the first U.S. man since Kurt Thomas in 1979 to qualify for that many event finals at one World Championships.[17] In the all-around final, he had a strong competition and was in third place heading into the last event, high bar, where a costly error left him in fifth place. This result was the best finish at Worlds by a U.S. man since 2011.[18] In the event finals, Mikulak broke through and won his first individual World medal, a bronze on high bar. Before the high bar final, he had placed seventh on floor exercise, fourth on pommel horse, and fourth on parallel bars.

2019[edit]

In March, Mikulak placed second in the all-around at the 2019 American Cup, just 0.001 of a point behind fellow American Yul Moldauer.

References[edit]

  1. ^ California Birth Index. "Samuel Anthony Mikulak, Born 10/13/1992 in California". California Birth Index. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "Sam Mikulak". MGoBlue.com. University of Michigan.
  3. ^ a b c Barnas, Jo-Ann (July 1, 2012). "Sam Mikulak becomes Michigan's first U.S. Olympian in men's gymnastics". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  4. ^ Barnas, Jo-ann. "Sam Mikulak becomes Michigan's first U.S. Olympian in men's gymnastics". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
  5. ^ Jo-Ann Barnas (June 10, 2012). "U-M's Mikulak 3rd at U.S. championships: He clinches spot in June's Olympic trials". Detroit Free Press.[dead link]
  6. ^ http://mgoblue.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3755
  7. ^ "Injured ankle limits Mikulak to one event: But U-M star's hopes for Olympics still alive". Detroit Free Press at newspapers.com. July 1, 2012. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  8. ^ "Michigan's Sam Mikulak named to U.S. Olympic gymnastics team". AnnArbor.com. San Jose, California. Associated Press. July 1, 2012. Archived from the original on August 1, 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  9. ^ "Mikulak Named to 2012 U.S. Olympic Team". MGoBlue.com. University of Michigan. July 1, 2012.
  10. ^ http://usagym.org/pages/athletes/athleteListDetail.html?id=325413
  11. ^ http://results.toronto2015.org/IRS/en/gymnastics-artistic/event-overview-men-s-all-around.htm
  12. ^ http://www.pgchamps.com/2015/08/mikulak-wins-third-all-around-crown-in-a-row.htm
  13. ^ https://olympics.nbcsports.com/2015/10/10/sam-mikulak-withdraws-gymnastics-world-championships-chris-brooks-marvin-kimble/
  14. ^ https://www.freep.com/story/sports/olympics/2016/03/12/2016-olympics-rio-sam-mikulak/81689016/
  15. ^ Graves, Will (June 25, 2016). "National Champion Sam Mikulak Leads US Men's Gymnastics Team". ABC News. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  16. ^ https://www.teamusa.org/News/2018/August/18/Sam-Mikulak-Wins-Fifth-National-Title-With-Biggest-Margin-Yet-Is-First-To-5-In-18-Years
  17. ^ McDougall, Chrös (October 26, 2018). "Sam Mikulak Finishes Third, U.S. Men Fourth After Qualifying At Gymnastics World Championships". Team USA. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  18. ^ McDougall, Chrös (October 31, 2018). "In Contention All Day, Sam Mikulak Just Misses All-Around Medal At Gymnastics World Championships". Team USA. Retrieved October 31, 2018.

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