Courtesy of Penn State Athletics
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Olympic bronze medalist and current Penn State assistant coach Kevin Tan has officially announced his retirement from competitive gymnastics, bringing to an end a storied career that places him among the all-time greats in the history of the Nittany Lion program.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” said Tan. “This sport has given me so many wonderful tools and memories that I will carry for a lifetime. I will always cherish the support of my friends and family who have helped me realize my Olympic dream. Although the future is uncertain, I’m ready to open a new chapter in life and begin my next journey.”
In 2008, Tan attained the crowning achievement of his brilliant career and realized a lifelong dream when he captained the U.S. men’s gymnastics team that captured a bronze medal at the Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Tan was Penn State’s first American Olympian since 1976 when Nittany Lions Marshall Avener, Gene Whelan, and Wayne Young represented the U.S. at the games in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
In qualifying for the Olympic team at the U.S. trials in Philadelphia, Tan reaffirmed his status as the U.S.’s top rings performer and as a force to be reckoned with on the international stage by dominating the competition. He placed first in the still rings by a wide margin on both days, posting identical world-class scores of 16.550.
Following the Olympics and a three-month stint with the nationwide Tour of Gymnastics Superstars, Tan underwent shoulder surgery late in 2008. His rehabilitation took longer than expected, forcing him to take an entire year off. Returning to competition at the 2010 Winter Cup Challenge, Tan again qualified for the U.S. national team. However, he continued to be hampered by a variety of injuries, including one to his ankle during a training day leading up to the VISA Championships, and ultimately fell short of securing a place on the squad. After training for the next few months, Tan made the decision to retire after the New Year.
Prior to his Olympic pursuits, Tan assembled an impressive gymnastics resume, both nationally and internationally. His national achievements included capturing three VISA Championships rings titles (2006-08) and four Winter Cup Challenge rings championships (2004, 2006-08). In international competition, he placed first in the rings at the 2007 Internationaux da France and won a silver medal at the 32nd Turnier der Meister Cottbus, Germany, an event that featured a collection of the world’s elite competitors from 40 countries. Early in 2008, Tan led a select group of gymnasts from the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team to a 361.350-352.600 dual meet victory over Canada in Calgary. With perhaps his best performance in his distinguished international career, he won the pommel horse (14.900), the still rings (16.300), and the parallel bars (15.500) and placed third in the high bar (15.000).
A native of Fremont, Calif., Tan was a six-time All-American at Penn State, winning NCAA titles in the still rings in 2003 and 2004. One of just two Nittany Lions to be honored as an All-Big Ten performer in three consecutive years, he captured three Big Ten rings crowns and a parallel bar title during his stellar collegiate career. Since joining the Penn State coaching staff full-time in 2006, Tan has helped guide the Nittany Lions to the program’s NCAA-record 12th national championship (2007) and second Big Ten championship (2008). In 2007, Tan was honored as the NACGC Assistant Coach of the Year.