On June 29, 2012, as Bridget Sloan tearfully explained that an elbow injury had ended her elite gymnastics career just minutes before she was set to compete in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, there was one thing keeping her going.
"I'll make it," the 2008 Olympian and 2009 world all-around champion said, fighting through emotions. "I'll head down to Florida, and I'll have a great time, and I will win NCAAs … I'm really excited about it."
Nearly 10 months later, everything has pretty much gone according to plan.
Sam Mikulak's junior year at the University of Michigan didn't have a great beginning, but the ending could be sweet.
While training for the Wolverines' 2013 gymnastics season in October, the 2012 U.S. Olympian tore a muscle in his left calf. Although the injury didn't require surgery, Mikulak had to wear a walking cast for about a month, missed three months of training and then had to go through several weeks of rehab.
Now, however, Mikulak is healthy and he and his teammates are hoping to bring home a team championship at the NCAA Championships which begin Friday at Penn State's Recreation Hall.