Sam Mikulak Returns To International All-Around Competition, Wins World Cup Bronze

By Blythe Lawrence | April 14, 2018, 9:30 p.m. (ET)
Sam Mikluak competes on high bar at the FIG Individual All-Around World Cup on April 14, 2018 in Tokyo.

 

After spending much of 2017 sidelined by an Achilles injury, Sam Mikulak climbed back onto the podium at the in Tokyo Saturday at the final FIG Individual All-Around World Cup of 2018.

Mikulak, a standout for Team USA at the Olympic Games London 2012 and Rio 2016, spent the first half of 2017 recovering from the Achilles he tore mid-tumbling pass during a training session early last year. He fought to recover in time for the 2017 world championships in Montreal last October and made the team only to fall from the high bar, his only event at worlds, during the qualification round.

The Tokyo world cup marked Mikulak’s first time competing on floor exercise barefoot since the 2016 Olympics.

“One year, one month and 11 days later I’m finally tumbling without ankle tape,” Mikulak posted on Instagram late last month along with a training video of his new floor routine.

Japan, the reigning Olympic team champion, kept the momentum going at home. Floor master Kenzo Shirai, nicknamed the “twist prince” for his ability to do more rotations in the air than anyone in the world, spun his way to the all-around gold with 86.064 points. The medal is the 21-year-old’s first major international all-around title, coming after three world titles on floor.

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Teammate Wataru Tanigawa, a member of Japan’s “golden generation” of gymnasts born in 1996 that includes Shirai, had a successful day to capture silver with 84.399 points. Tanagawa posted solid scores around the gym, with the exception of pommel horse, where a mishap left him fifth of the eight competitors.

As for Mikulak, he got revenge on the high bar, with the highest score of the competition on the apparatus, as well as the second-best mark on pommel horse.

His total score was 84.098.

Based on his performances at previous world cup stages, China’s Sun Wei won the world cup all-around title, while Shirai’s performance in Tokyo assured Japan the men’s team title as well.

Blythe Lawrence is a journalist based in Seattle. She has covered two Olympic Games and is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.