Sam Mikulak celebrates his win of the 2020 American Cup on March 7, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisc.
Enjoy Sam Mikulak’s gymnastics while you can. The two-time Olympian and six-time U.S. men’s all-around champion will compete through the rescheduled Olympic Games next summer in Tokyo, and then he’s moving on.
“This is going to be my final year of gymnastics,” he said in a YouTube video posted Sunday night.
The 27-year-old Mikulak, who has won every U.S. all-around title he’s competed for since 2013 and is the only U.S. Olympian actively competing on the men’s side, cited both physical and emotional reasons for his decision, as well as a desire simply to focus his energy on other things, such as new fiancee Mia Atkins and their growing family of dogs. He said he’ll document this coming year on YouTube.
The decision to step away, he explained, will allow him to savor the final year in the sport he’s been involved in since he was a toddler.
“I’m finally able to focus on gymnastics from here on out and make the most of this one year,” he said. “It’s just a great feeling to not have that stress but to also feel so wholesome and accomplished emotionally.”
All of those years in the sport have taken a toll on his body, including breaking both ankles in 2011, partially tearing an Achilles tendon in 2015 and then fully tearing an Achilles 2017. More recently, Mikulak experienced wrist inflammation last year. A cortisone shot in November helped, he said in the video, but his wrist didn’t improve further when he took time away from the sport during quarantine. A doctor advised he would need additional cortisone shots to control the inflammation throughout his career.