Male Gymnasts Who Competed During the 2016 Rio Olympics

Gymnast applying chalk power to hands in preparation
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The Male Gymnasts of 2016

2012 Olympic Rings London
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The 2012 Olympic men's team was a very young one – only Jonathan Horton had Olympic experience, and the other members were 20 years old or younger. The gymnasts also had a disappointing competition, placing first in the qualifying rounds before dropping to fifth in the team finals. 

The 2016 team hoped to dramatically improve on that result, but they didn't take home the gold. Two members of the team, however, did win medals. 

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Sam Mikulak

Sam Mikulak

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Sam Mikulak was largely an event specialist for the U.S. men's team at the London Games, but in 2013, he came into his own as an all-arounder. He won the national all-around title and was the only U.S. male gymnast to compete in the all-around at worlds. He placed sixth but could have been higher had he not made a mistake on high bar in the final rotation.

In 2014, Mikulak defended his U.S. national title, won his third NCAA all-around title and helped the men's team win a bronze medal at worlds.

In 2015, he took home the all-around title at the 2015 Pan American Games, as well.

At the 2016 Olympics, Mikulak finished seventh in the all-around competition (despite earning the highest all-around score at the Olympic trials). He also took home fourth on the high bar.

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Danell Leyva

Donnell Leyva

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Danell Leyva was originally picked for the Olympic team as an alternate but ended up moving in after John Orozco was injured and couldn't compete. 

This once-alternate ended up being the only member of the team to earn multiple medals (the only other medal was earned by Alex Naddour, a bronze on the pommel horse). Leyva earned silver on the parallel bars and horizontal bar in the 2016 Olympics. In fact, those two apparatus are his specialty and he even has a signature move on the horizontal. He earned the 2011 world title on the parallel bars. 

At the 2016 Olympics, he won both of his silvers on the same day. 

But the 2016 games weren't all rosy for Leyva. He did have a shocking fall off the high bar

The national all-around champ in 2011, Leyva won the 2012 Olympic Trials and was a bronze medalist in the all-around at the Olympics later that year. He withdrew from the 2013 world team to heal an injury. He skipped the post-Olympic tour and went right back to training after London. 

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Donnell Whittenburg

Donnell Whittenburg
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Donnell Whittenburg has come on strong in the last couple of years, winning bronze on vault at the 2015 worlds and winning bronze with the team in 2014. He was also the runner-up at the 2015 U.S. nationals in the all-around. He won the 2014 U.S. nationals on the vault and the 2015 nationals on the rings.

Whittenburg made the 2016 U.S. Olympic team as an alternate. 

Since then, he has kept in the spotlight. He earned bronze at the 2017 Winter Cup. 

Other accomplishments of Whittenburg: He was the 2016 rings champion; the 2016 American Cup silver medalist; and the 2016 Winter Cup rings champ (he also got a bronze in the vault there). 

He was also the champion on the bars and rings and got a silver on all-around and vault in the 2016 Pac Rim team. 

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John Orozco

John Orozco

 

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John Orozco was the 2012 national all-around champ, and he was hoping to medal at the Olympics but had a disappointing competition in London. He ended up eighth all-around, after finishing fourth in qualifying.

Orozco suffered an ACL and meniscus tear in his knee shortly after the games while on the post-Olympic tour but recovered enough to earn a bronze on parallel bars at the 2013 worlds.

A three-time junior national champ, Orozco was expected to be a huge factor both in the world and Olympic teams, for medals during the competition itself. Unfortunately, after he made the 2016 U.S. team, an ACL tear kept him out of the competition. 

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Jake Dalton

Jake Dalton

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Like Mikulak, Jake Dalton was primarily considered an event specialist in London. He is known for his skills on both floor and vault.

In 2013, he earned the silver on floor at worlds ahead of four-time, world, all-around champ Kohei Uchimura. Dalton also picked up two all-around victories, at the American Cup and at the Winter Cup, proving he could hold his own in the all-around, as well.

At the 2016 games, he competed in the floor exercises final. 

Also in 2016, Dalton was named U.S. floor and vault champion and he earned bronze on the rings and in the all-around competition. He also won floor at that year's Pam Rim competition. 

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Alex Naddour

Alex Naddour

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Alex Naddour was one of the 2012 Olympic alternates, and since the U.S. is often weak on the pommel horse, he easily earned a spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team. It's his strongest event.

Naddour has won three national titles on pommel horse, and he further enhanced his reputation by winning a bronze in that event during the 2016 games. 

Since then, at the 2017 Winter Cup, he earned another championship on the pommel horse. In that competition, he also got a silver on the rings.

Watch Naddour's Winter Cup pommel horse win here.