© John Cheng

LONDON, July 25 – The U.S. men trained on the competition equipment and had a chance to experience the arena during today’s podium training at the 2012 Olympic Games at the North Greenwich Arena on Wed., July 25.

The U.S. men are in Subdivision 2 (of three), along with Italy, Japan and three mixed groups, which are comprised of gymnasts not competing on a full team for their country. The USA, which starts on the pommel horse, will compete on July 28 in the qualification round.

The U.S. Men’s Team includes Jake Dalton of Reno, Nev./University of Oklahoma; Jonathan Horton of Houston/Team Hilton HHonors (Cypress Academy); Danell Leyva of Homestead, Fla./Team Hilton HHonors (Universal Gymnastics); Sam Mikulak of Newport Coast, Calif./University of Michigan; and John Orozco of the Bronx, N.Y./Team Hilton HHonors (U.S. Olympic Training Center)

Olympic Team coach Kevin Mazeika said, "The guys did a great job at podium training. We’ll make a few adjustments and be ready to go on Saturday. This is the first time we were out on the floor, and for the most part, everything went just as planned. Overall I’m very, very happy."

Here are a few comments from the U.S. Olympic Team members.

Horton on podium training: "Podium training went good and bad. Our entire team had good spots and rough spots. Me, personally, I struggled on parallel bars and high bar but did good on rings and vault. I fell on pommel horse but I was actually very happy because I was swinging really good. It was just my second turn up on pommel horse in this arena. I’m happy overall. I’ll go back and spend some time on high bar and I’ll be ready to go."

Leyva on podium training: "Podium training went good. It wasn’t perfect but it’s weird because it feels like a meet but then it’s not. You’re just testing everything out. You always want to be perfect in podium training but it’s always good to mess up now and get the kinks out for first day prelims."

Leyva on the venue: "The arena was very bright. It’s pink, there is no denying it. It’s a lot bigger then I remember from 2009."

Dalton on podium training: "Podium training went great. It felt good to get out there and feel the equipment. It was time to work things out and actually everything went really well."

Dalton on the arena: "The arena is bright, and we just need to get used to everything and adjust to it. It’s a great place."

Orozco on the Olympic Village: "The village is really cool, with all the great variety of different food and walking around with all the high level athletes. The environment is great."

Orozco on podium training: "It was pretty good. I had a tough vault workout today, but that was what this was all about – just getting used to everything. I don’t think it has hit me yet that this is the Olympic Games. It seems like a really big meet, but it’s the Olympic Games."

Mikulak on the village: "It is pretty sweet being in the village with all the other athletes."

Mikulak on the podium training: "The equipment was great. You walk out there and you think okay ,this is where we are going to be. I think we made it our home tonight."


Photos by John Cheng