Five Sooners Selected by U.S. Olympic Committee

Posted by Gilbert Sam on 3:13 AM
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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- All five of the Sooners competing at the U.S. Olympic Trials this weekend were selected by the men's gymnastics committee to represent the squad in the 2012 Olympic Games in London later this month.

Jonathan Horton (2005-08) and junior Jake Dalton were named to the five-man squad while Chris Brooks (2006-09), Steven Legendre (2008-11) and Alex Naddour (2010-11) were named the three alternates.

It marks the second Olympic appearance for Horton, who helped lead Team USA to a Bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Games, while also collecting a Silver medal on the high bar.

Dalton, who helped Team USA to a Bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships, will make his Olympic debut.


Brooks, Legendre and Naddour were also on the 2011 World Championship Team with Horton and Dalton, and all three are making their first appearance on the Olympic squad.

Danell Leyva and John Orozco topped all competitors and earned automatic spots on the squad Saturday and the remaining three spots were determined by the selection committee early Sunday morning. Sam Mikulak rounded out the fifth spot.

In addition to this week's trials, the committee also figured in the Visa Championships held in June, which saw Dalton collect national titles on the floor exercise and vault.

"I think it's pretty incredible that we are talking about a select group of eight athletes and five of them are from the University of Oklahoma program," said OU Head Coach Mark Williams, who has coached all five gymnasts at Oklahoma and will be taking part in his fourth Olympic Games as a coach.

"It's a dream come true for me as a coach to see their lifetime goals come to fruition and see them compete in the sport at the highest level. It's pretty surreal to be in that room, to have Guard (Young), Tom Meadows, and all those guys, and hear the news. The guys really worked hard for this accomplishment. We are all excited going forward to compete for some medals in London."

The University of Oklahoma represented five of the 15 competitors this week in San Jose. Dalton, who has one year of eligibility remaining at OU, is the program's second gymnast to compete in the Olympics while still attending school (Bart Conner).

All five Sooners are current members of the U.S. National Team and advanced to the U.S. Olympic Trials after their performances at the 2012 Visa Championships in June.

Oklahoma has produced three prior Olympians in men's gymnastics and has been represented in the past two Summer Olympic Games by Guard Young in 2004 and Horton in 2008, both under current head coach Mark Williams.

OU's Olympic History:
The University of Oklahoma has produced three past Olympic gymnasts, dating back to three-time Olympian Bart Conner. The 1981 graduate represented the United States in both 1976 and 1980 before winning it all on American soil at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Calif. In addition to helping Team USA take home Gold, Conner proved to be the world's top gymnast on parallel bars, winning individual Gold.

In 2008, Oklahoma gymnast Jonathan Horton helped the United States win Bronze at the Summer Games in Beijing, China. Horton also found individual success, taking Silver in the high bar portion of the event.

Upon graduating from BYU in 2001, current OU assistant Guard Young returned to his home state of Oklahoma to train with Williams for the Olympic Games while serving as an assistant coach for the Sooners. Young represented the United States at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, where the Americans claimed Silver.