Five OU gymnasts representing the United States at the 2011 World Championships.
October 6 , 2011
NORMAN, Okla. -- With Olympic hopes on the line, the five current and former University of Oklahoma gymnasts on the U.S. Men’s National Team begin competition at the 2011 World Championships on Saturday night in Tokyo, Japan.
Juniors Jake Dalton (second World Championship appearance) and Alex Naddour (first) and OU letterwinners Steven Legendre (third) and Jonathan Horton (fifth) are featured in the United States’ six-man World Championship lineup. OU letterwinner Chris Brooks (second) was awarded the team’s one alternate spot.
"This World Championships will really be a special one for me,” said OU Head Coach Mark Williams, who will serve as a Team USA assistant. “Rarely do you have one gymnast on a team that does something like this, but to have five is unprecedented.”
“I know these guys well. I’ve worked with them for at least three years, some of them five years. To have a chance to be on the international floor with them competing to qualify for the Olympic Games is going to be a special thing.”
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 United States men's squad will begin competing in the team qualifier on Oct. 9 at 11:15 a.m. Tokyo time (Oct. 8 at 9:15 p.m. CT). The men’s team final will be held Oct. 12 followed by four days of individual competition in the all-around and the six events.
The five Sooners are joined on Team USA by John Orozco and 2011 Visa Championships all-around champion, Danell Leyva.
Sooner fans can follow the action at the 2011 World Championships via the web, cable TV and network television. UniversalSports.com will have a live webcast of the team, all-around and individual event finals from Tokyo for $19.99. Universal Sports will show all of the finals on its cable network during prime time. Check local listings and contact your cable provider for more details.
NBC Sports will also include highlights from the men’s competition during its broadcast of the women’s all-around final at 1 p.m. on Oct. 16.