Before Sam Mikulak left to compete in the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials he said he wanted to make it difficult on the judges to keep him off the U.S. men's team.
On the first day in San Jose, the Corona del Mar High alum showed just that and took a major step toward having his name called during Sunday's announcement of the U.S. Olympic men's gymnastics team.
Mikulak completed an impressive performance Thursday, posting an all-around score of 91.80, the best of the day. Many of the other contenders to make the five-man Olympic team faltered, according to the Associated Press.
Mikulak remained in third in overall standings, which combine scores from the nationals competition and trials. Mikulak finished third at the Visa Men's Senior U.S. Championships inSt. Louis, Mo. earlier this month.
John Orozco, the national champ, got bumped to No. 2, as Danell Leyva moved into the top spot. The two are basically locks to make the team as they have traded the spotlight throughout the past six months.
Mikulak appears to be moving in right behind them and after a performance like the one on Thursday, he's making U.S. gymnastics more than just a two-man show.
Mikulak's day began on the parallel bars where he scored a 15.700. He was dynamic on the high bar with three big release moves and earned 15.550, according to USA Gymnastics. Mikulak posted a 15.500 on the floor before moving to the pommel horse where he added a 14.600 to his all-around total.
"I just wanted to keep calm and hit all my sets," Mikulak said after the competition in a USA Gymnastics release. "I was pretty nervous coming into this – my first Olympic Trials – and I felt like I came out pretty well."
— From staff reports