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U.S. Men Win Team Bronze At World Gymnastics Championships

By USA Gymnastics | Oct. 07, 2014, 2:37 p.m. (ET)

(L-R) Donnell Whittenburg, Sam Mikulak, John Orozco, Jake Dalton, Danell Leyva, Alex Naddour and Paul Ruggeri stand on the podium after earning the men's team bronze medal at the 2014 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Nanning, China, on Oct. 7, 2014.

NANNING, China, Oct. 7, 2014 – The U.S. Team rallied in the final two rotations to pull ahead of Great Britain and clinch the bronze medal in the team finals at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning, China. The U.S. Team earned a 270.369, edging out Great Britain at 269.170. China slipped by Japan to win the team gold, 273.369 to 273.269. Competition continues tomorrow with the women’s team finals at 7 p.m. local time/7 a.m. ET.  U.S. fans may follow the action live at universalsports.com and usagymworlds.com.

The U.S. Men’s Team consists of Jake Dalton of Reno, Nev./Team Hilton HHonors (University of Oklahoma); Danell Leyva of Miami, Fla./Team Hilton HHonors (Universal Gymnastics); Sam Mikulak of Newport Coast, Calif./University of Michigan; Alexander Naddour of Queen Creek, Ariz./Team Hilton HHonors (USA Youth Fitness Center); John Orozco of the Bronx, N.Y./Team Hilton HHonors (U.S. Olympic Training Center); and Donnell Whittenburg of Baltimore, Md./Team Hilton HHonors (U.S. Olympic Training Center).

The USA began competition on the pommel horse. Mikulak began his routine with his signature skill, the Mikulak, that is a scissor full from one end of the horse to the other. He executed a Magyar to Sivado sequence before dismounting with a handstand pirouette to earn a 14.708. Naddour was clean on an opening sequence that included two scissors to a handstand before performing an intricate sequence of single-pommel work for a 15.066. Leyva scored a 14.466 as the leadoff competitor, setting the tone.  

On the still rings, Dalton performed piked and tucked variations of the Yamawaki into a back uprise Maltese. He dismounted with a tucked double-double for a 15.000. Naddour anchored the event, where he showed solid strength holds, including an Azarian cross. He nearly stuck his one-and-a-half twisting, double back dismount to match Dalton’s 15.000. Whittenburg claimed a 14.766.

Mikulak started the vault rotation with a nearly stuck Kasamatsu double full and a 15.166. Dalton and Whittenburg followed with matching scores of 14.966. Dalton also performed a Kasamatsu double full, while Whittenburg vaulted a Dragulescu (front handspring double front half out). After three rotations, the USA was in fifth at 134.071.

On the parallel bars, Orozco delivered a 15.066 for his first routine in the team final after swinging through a front uprise to double back and a double pike between the bars. Leyva anchored the event with his routine that begins with an intricate Peach and giant work, consisting of seven skills in a row.  He earned a 15.666. Whittenburg added a 14.633, and the USA moved into fourth at 179.436.

Dalton got things going for the U.S. on the high bar with a half Takamoto to layout Tkatchev to Gienger.  He dismounted with a layout double-double for a 14.500. Orozco followed with a Liukin (full-twisting layout Tkatchev) and closed his routine with a stuck full-twisting double layout for a 14.833. Leyva closed out the rotation, beginning with a full Takamoto to Yamawaki combination.  He soared over the bar through tucked and laid out variations of the Kovacs for a 15.100. The USA moved into third place at 223.869, barely ahead of Russia at 223.570 and Great Britain at 223.537.

Whittenburg got things rolling for the USA on the floor exercise, dismounting with a huge Arabian double pike half out for a 15.300. Mikulak followed and delivered a 15.300 of his own, after executing a back one-and-a-half to front double full and front full to double front.  Dalton was the last one up with the bronze medal on the line, needing better than a 14.701 to pass Great Britain who had already competed their floor routines.  He began with an Arabian double layout and then came back with a whip to Arabian double pike.  His stuck triple full dismount was punctuated with a fist pump. He earned a 15.900 and clinched the USA’s bronze medal.

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Jake Dalton

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John Orozco