OU men's gymnasts selected to compete in team qualifying event for the 2012 Olympics.
Aug. 20, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. - When Team USA heads to the 2011 World Championships later this fall, five of the seven U.S. National Team members will be former or current University of Oklahoma men's gymnasts.
Juniors Jake Dalton (second World Championship appearance) and Alex Naddour (first) and OU letterwinners Steven Legendre (third) and Jonathan Horton (fifth) were selected to the United States’ six-man World Championship lineup Saturday afternoon. OU letterwinner Chris Brooks (second) was awarded the team’s one alternate spot.
“I am absolutely thrilled with the responsibility of having more than half of the United States’ World Championship Team be from the University of Oklahoma program,” said OU Head Coach Mark Williams. “With this event being used as a qualifier for the 2012 Olympics, we will be taking it very seriously in our preparations.”
The five Sooners are joined on Team USA by John Orozco and 2011 Visa Championships all-around champion, Danell Leyva.
The 24-team 2011 World Championships, held October 7-16 in Tokyo, Japan, will decide the 12 countries that will compete in the team portion of the 2012 Olympics in London.
The top eight teams at the World Championships (for both men and women) will earn the right to compete in the Olympic final next summer in London. Medalists in Tokyo's individual events will also qualify for the Summer Games.
In addition to the eight teams that qualify in Tokyo, four more countries will advance to the 2012 Summer Games through a new qualifying tournament in January 2012 where the teams ranked 9th to 16th from the 2011 Worlds compete for the final spots of the Olympic team final.
The World Championship Team announcement came one day after a dominant performance by OU gymnasts at the 2011 Visa Championships, the national championship for USA Gymnastics, in Saint Paul, Minn. Five Sooners finished in the top seven and half of the events were won by OU gymnasts.
Dalton took home a pair of gold medals and was crowned national champion on both floor (32.450) and vault (33.650). The junior finished in fifth overall with a 177.800.
Naddour was named a national champion on pommel horse total with a 31.100. He took seventh place with a 175.850 all-around total.
Horton, winner of the 2009 and 2010 Visa Championships, took second place with a two-day all-around score of 181.05.
Brooks boasted a 178.600, including the event's second-best high bar total (31.300), to take fourth.
Recent OU graduate and Nissen-Emery Award winner Legendre (177.600) placed in sixth and recorded the second-highest totals for both vault (32.900) and floor (32.000).
NBC (Cox Channel 4, 704 HD in Oklahoma City) will air a taped recap show of Friday’s men's finals of the Visa Championships on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. CT.