U.S. men win team title at 2015 Pan Am Games
posted on 07/11/2015

© Grace Chiu

TORONTO, Ont., Canada, July 11, 2015 – For the first time since 1995, the U.S. men won the team title at the Pan American Games. Sam Mikulak of Newport Coast, Calif./Team Hilton (U.S. Olympic Training Center), and Donnell Whittenburg of Baltimore, Md./Team Hilton (USOTC), qualified to the all-around finals on Monday. Gymnastics at the 2015 Pan Am Games continues at the Toronto (Ont.) Coliseum tomorrow with the women’s team finals, and the U.S. women compete in the first subdivision at 10:45 a.m. ET.

To win the title, the USA tallied a team total of 267.750. Brazil was second at 264.050, and Colombia was third with 259.300. The U.S. Pan American Men’s Gymnastics Team includes: Marvin Kimble of Milwaukee, Wis./U.S. Olympic Training Center; Steven Legendre of Norman, Okla./Team Hilton (University of Oklahoma); Mikulak; Paul Ruggeri of Manlius, N.Y./Team Hilton (USOTC); and Whittenburg.

In addition to the all-around, the USA also qualified to all six event finals. Mikulak was second in the all-around preliminary rankings with an 89.850, and Whittenburg was fourth at 87.700. The qualifiers for event finals are: floor exercise – Mikulak and Whittenburg; pommel horse – Kimble and Mikulak; still rings -- Whittenburg; vault – Whittenburg and Ruggeri; parallel bars – Mikulak and Whittenburg; and horizontal bar – Ruggeri and Mikulak.

Competing in the first subdivision, the USA started on the floor exercise, and Mikulak led the way with a 15.000. He performed a new routine that included a back two-and-a-half to double front and a tucked front full to a Randi (front two-and-a-half twist). He closed with a triple full. Whittenburg added a 14.900, and Ruggeri scored 14.750. The U.S. earned a 44.650 on the event.

The U.S. earned a 44.050 on the pommel horse behind a clean routine from Kimble, which included intricate one-pommel work and a handstand dismount. He scored a 15.050. Mikulak posted a 14.850, and Whittenburg delivered a 14.150.

Whittenburg displayed his trademark strength on the still rings, opening with an Azarian Maltese, bounce L cross to push planche sequence. He dismounted with a layout double-double for a 15.450. Mikulak was solid, earning a 14.750. Legendre led off the rotation with a 14.550. The team total was 44.750 for still rings, and a three-event total of 133.450, putting them ahead of

Ruggeri and Whittenburg earned matched 14.900 scores on the vault to lead Team USA to a 44.400 on the event. Ruggeri performed a Yurchenko half-on, front double full as his first vault. His second, a Yurchenko two-and-a-half, scored a 14.700, giving him a 14.800 average score. Whittenburg vaulted a Dragulescu first and followed it up with a Kasamatsu one-and-a-half. Whittenburg averaged a 14.875. Mikulak added a 14.600 to the team total for his Kasamatsu one-and-a-half. The team’s four-event total was 177.850.

Mikulak was dynamic on the parallel bars, swinging smoothly through a giant Suarez immediately into a straddled front to moy. He dismounted with a double front for a 15.550. Whittenburg ended his solid routine with a big double front half out and scored 14.900. Kimble started things off for the U.S. with a 14.500. The team earned a 44.950.

Ruggeri, the reigning Pan Am Games champion on the high bar, posted the highest score on the event for Team USA with a 15.400. He executed a layout Kovacs with a full twist (called a Cassina) and nailed his layout double-double. Mikulak soared on two big release-and-catch moves – a Cassina and a Kolman – before ending with a layout double-double of his own for a 15.100. Kimble added a 14.450, giving the U.S. a 44.950.

The U.S. women compete tomorrow in the first subdivision and start on floor. The other countries in the subdivision are Brazil, Canada, Colombia and Puerto Rico in the team competition, with individual athletes from Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Trinidad and Tobago. The members of the U.S. Pan American Women’s Gymnastics Team are: Madison Desch of Lenexa, Kan./GAGE; Rachel Gowey of Urbandale, Iowa/Chow's Gymnastics; Amelia Hundley of Fairfield, Ohio/Cincinnati Gymnastics; Emily Schild of Huntersville, N.C./Everest Gymnastics; and Megan Skaggs of Marietta, Ga./Gymnastics Academy of Atlanta.

The artistic gymnastics schedule is: July 12 – women’s team final and all-around and individual event qualification (USA, Subdivision 1); July 13 – men’s and women’s all-around finals; and July 14-15 – men’s and women’s individual event finals.

Trampoline follows on the heels of artistic gymnastics, with men’s and women’s qualifications and finals on July 18-19. The U.S. squad features: men – Logan Dooley of Lake Forest, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics, and Steven Gluckstein of Atlantic Highlands, N.J./Elite Trampoline Academy; and women – Charlotte Drury of Laguna Niguel, Calif./World Elite Gymnastics, and Clare Johnson of Huntsville, Ala./The Matrix.

For rhythmic gymnastics, Jazzy Kerber of Highland Park, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, and Laura Zeng of Libertyville, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, are competing, along with the senior rhythmic group. The members of the rhythmic gymnastics group, who train at North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center, are: Kiana Eide of Northbrook, Ill.; Alisa Kano of Glencoe, Ill.; Natalie McGiffert of Northbrook, Ill.; Monica Rokhman of Northbrook, Ill.; Jennifer Rokhman of Northbrook, Ill.; and Kristen Shaldybin of Chicago. Rhythmic qualifications are July 17-18, with finals on July 19-20.

For more information, go to Toronto2015.org.

ESPN and ESPN2 will present live 66 hours. ESPN’s telecasts will kick off with the Opening Ceremony on Friday, July 10, at 7:30 p.m. – marking the first English-language live presentation of the ceremony in 30 years – and wrap up with a five-hour live window on July 26 for the closing day of the Games, starting at 1:00 p.m. Between July 11- 25, ESPN2 will present two to six hours of daily live coverage focused on men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball, diving, swimming, gymnastics, boxing, track and field, and soccer. The network will also present daily highlights of all medal winners and the action across every venue.

ESPN3 will carry 580 hours of Pan American Games programming, with live access to almost every competition in more than 15 different disciplines, including basketball, gymnastics, swimming, diving, soccer, volleyball, karate, taekwondo, track and field, and many others.

Every Pan American coverage option on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, Longhorn Network, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+ will also be available through WatchESPN, accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360, and Xbox One to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.