© John Cheng

LONDON, England, July 28, 2012 – The U.S. men advanced to the team finals at the 2012 Olympic Games after an impressive team effort at the North Greenwich Arena that put them at the top of the team rankings for the qualification round. In addition, the USA’s Danell Leyva of Miami/Team Hilton HHonors (Universal Gymnastics), and John Orozco of the Bronx, N.Y./Team Hilton HHonors (U.S. Olympic Training Center), are first and fourth, respectively, in the qualifying rankings for the all-around. In addition, four men advanced to the individual event finals. The men’s team finals are Monday, July 30, and gymnastics competition continues tomorrow with the women’s 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); Leyva; Sam Mikulak of Newport Coast, Calif./University of Michigan; and Orozco.

The USA posted a team total of 274.342, putting them ahead of Russia (272.595) and Great Britain (272.420), respectively. Scores from the qualifying round do not carry forward to the finals.

The gymnasts advancing to the individual finals are listed below.

    Danell Leyva
    John Orozco

    Individual event finals
    Floor exercise: Jake Dalton
    Vault: Sam Mikulak
    Horizontal bar: Danell Leyva, Jonathan Horton

Men’s Olympic Team coach Kevin Mazeika said, "I’m super proud of the team and how they performed. We were focused on ourselves and what we were doing. It’s day one and we still have team finals to go. We made our plans and worked through the process, and they executed it very well. We had a few mistakes and we’ll go back and work on fixing those. I told the team to stay humble during this amazing opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games."

Leyva said, "It was a good day. It wasn’t a perfect day, but we don’t want to do our best during prelims because then we have no where to go during finals. The USA is going to come out strong during finals and it’s going to be an historical Olympic Team finals."

Orozco said, "We have a lot of first timers here at the Olympics and considering that, I think we did really good. For me I could do way better. I lost eight or nine tenths of a point on parallel bars because they didn’t count one of my skills (because of execution). But I’m happy about vault. I’m trying to keep focused and not get too excited. I’m definitely happy with how things happened, even though it may not show."

The USA men started off with a solid pommel horse set, scoring a 43.965 that included Leyva’s 14.866, Orozco’s 14.766 and Mikulak’s 14.333.

They moved to still rings and Dalton started the USA off on a strong note with a hit routine that included a stuck double-twisting double-back dismount to score a 15.100. Leyva followed with a 14.600. Orozco hit a nice routine and stuck his one-and-a-half twisting double back to score a 15.066. Horton closed out the event for the USA with his jam packed routine, including an Azarian Maltese and tucked double-twisting double-back dismount to grab the USA’s high score on rings at 15.166. The final score for the USA on rings was 45.332.

On vault Leyva led off with a nice Kasamatsu to score a 15.500. Orozco followed with a front handspring double full to score a 15.800. Mikulak blasted a Kasamatsu double to score a 16.300. Then performed a second vault for event finals consideration and also scored a 15.866 on his front handspring double front. Dalton anchored for the USA with a Kasamatsu double twist on his first vault (15.900) and attempted a second vault, layout double front, but sat down for a 14.766. The USA finished the rotation with a team score of 48.000.

On parallel bars, Mikulak started the team off with a solid hit set and dismounted with a double pike to score 15.316. Horton followed and had an uncharacteristic fall to score a 13.133. Orozco scored a 14.533 for his routine, which included a front toss, peach half, peach to front uprise double back, and stuck his double pike dismount. Leyva anchored parallel bars showing his world-class style on this event scoring a 15.333.

Mikulak led off on the horizontal bar and missed a full twisting Tkatchev but finished well with his layout double-twisting double-back dismount to score a 14.033. Orozco hit a clean set with his Liukin and layout Tkatchev to score a 15.266. Horton showed incredible release moves scoring a 15.566. Leyva anchored high bar with his 15.866. The USA total on high bar was 46.698.

On the final event of the day, Orozco led off on floor hitting a solid set including a stuck two-and-a-half dismount to score a 15.166. Leyva followed with a layout double-twisting double-back mount and a double layout dismount to score 15.100. Mikulak mounted with a double-twisting double tuck and dismounted with a triple full to score 15.366. Dalton finished it up for the USA with his routine that included an Arabian double layout mount and a triple twist dismount, which scored a 15.633. Mikulak said, "It was the best memories of my life for sure. Just walking out in the arena with all those people was just mind-blowing. Getting up on the podium and doing pommel horse and hitting that routine was awesome. I was very nervous going up on pommel horse but afterward I was just thinking, ‘Wow we’re all Olympians.’"

Dalton said, "Today was great. We walked out there and it all kind of sunk in. It’s such a great feeling to be here competing for our country. It’s a dream come true to compete here." He added, "We try to stay in our own USA bubble. We just do our thing. When I got started on rings the second event I was fired up and ready to go."

"We did a really good job today and stayed within our own little team," said Horton. "We are going to focus on the next day. Obviously it is a confidence boost, but we are going to take it one step at a time – move on to the next event, the next routine.

The U.S. women will compete in the qualification round on July 29.

The U.S. women are competing at 9:45 a.m. ET in the third of five subdivisions. The USA Women’s Team features: Gabby Douglas of Virginia Beach, Va./Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute, McKayla Maroney of Long Beach, Calif./All Olympia Gymnastics Center, Aly Raisman of Needham, Mass./Brestyan’s American Gymnastics, Kyla Ross of Aliso Viejo, Calif./Gym-Max Gymnastics, and Jordyn Wieber of DeWitt, Mich./Gedderts’ Twistars USA.

The U.S. women’s line-up is: vault – Raisman, Douglas, Wieber, Maroney; uneven bars – Raisman, Wieber, Ross, Douglas; balance beam – Ross, Douglas, Wieber, Raisman; and floor exercise – Ross, Douglas, Wieber, Raisman.

The women’s team final is July 31, followed by the men’s and women’s all-around finals on Aug. 1 and 2, respectively. The individual event finals are Aug. 5-7.

Ways to follow the Olympic Games include:

  • USAGym.org, the USA Gymnastics official website, is a great source for information about the sport: latest news, the schedule of its premier events, athlete biographies, videos, photo galleries, live scoring from major events and more. USA Gymnastics also has usagymclub.org, which is a resource center for parents of potential and existing gymnasts.
  • TeamUSA.org, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s website will also be a good resource for information on the Team USA in London.
  • Facebook – USA Gymnastics has an official Facebook page, www.facebook.com/USAGymnastics, which carries USA Gymnastics information and activities for fans. The USOC’s official Facebook page is www.facebook.com/USOlympicTeam
  • Twitter – USA Gymnastics has an official Twitter feed — @usagym. The USOC’s Twitter feed is @usolympic.
  • NBCOlympics.com – NBC is the broadcast and web source for coverage and news on the Olympic Games. NBCOlympics.com will carry live coverage of every gymnastics session as well as all sports, and maintain an archive for on-demand coverage. A special "Live Extra" app for smartphones and tablets is available as well. For gymnastics, viewing options will include a single "integrated" feed showing various competitors (akin to watching on TV), plus separate feeds for each apparatus.
    Check your local listings for dates and times in your area here: http://www.nbcolympics.com/tv-listings/index.html.
  • YouTube – USA Gymnastics has an official YouTube Channel, www.youtube.com/usagymnasticsorg, which features routines of the top gymnasts from various events, interviews, etc. The USOC’s YouTube Channel is www.youtube.com/TeamUSA.