Oklahoma letterwinner earns two event titles in pursuit of a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.
Feb. 5, 2012
LAS VEGAS – Former University of Oklahoma gymnast Steven Legendre continued to make a name for himself in his pursuit of a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team by taking second place and claiming two event titles at the 2012 Winter Cup in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Legendre totaled a two-day all-around score of 175.200, finishing behind John Orozco’s 180.700.
“Overall I was pretty happy,” said Legendre. “It wasn’t a perfect competition for me, but I felt like I was pretty well prepared. I went out there and competed the way I train and am happy with my performance.”
An Oklahoma gymnast has finished in the top-two of the event for the past three straight years with OU letterwinner Chris Brooks (2006-2009) winning the all-around in 2010 and junior Jake Dalton claiming it in 2011.
Legendre, who competed for OU from 2008 to 2011, won the floor exercise title with a two-day score of 31.000 and the vault title with a 32.450.
“Steve had a great night,” said OU Head Coach Mark Williams. “Great vaults and great routines. He really showed some improvement on pommel horse too. Finishing in second at Winter Cup is going to be really good for his Olympic push. I’m really proud of all of our guys that competed this week.”
The former Sooner completed his NCAA eligibility last spring and is still enrolled in classes at OU while he trains under Williams, planning to make a run for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team.
The Winter Cup determines the 15 gymnasts who will comprise the U.S. Men's Senior National Team through the 2012 Visa Championships in June. The seven members of the 2011 World Championships Team, which includes Legendre, Brooks, Dalton and Jonathan Horton (2005-2008), will automatically retain their spots on the national team.
Due to his automatic qualification, 2011 Winter Cup Champion Dalton did not compete in his two strongest events, floor exercise and vault, which he won NCAA and USA titles in last season.
Dalton competed in three events to show the USA Gymnastics Committee what he is capable of in other events. The junior finished fifth on rings (29.250) and 12th on parallel bars (28.550) and high bar (28.100).
The next stage in the Olympic Team selection process is the 2012 Visa Championships, the national championship of USA Gymnastics, June 7-10 in St. Louis, Mo. The top finishers from the Visa Championships will then be invited to compete in the U.S. Olympic Qualifier in San Jose, Calif., June 28-July 1.
Oklahoma was also represented at the Winter Cup by current Sooners Troy Nitzky, Chris Stehl and Presten Ellsworth.
The Sooners, ranked No. 1 in the GymInfo Rankings, return to action Feb. 12 in a tri-meet against No. 7 California and No. 5 Stanford in Berkeley, Calif.