Mar 1, 2014, 3:11 PM EST
Sam Mikulak wants another shot at the World Championships and Olympics. Elizabeth Price eyes her first trip to either.
Mikulak and Price took early steps to both major competitions by topping international fields at the American Cup in Greensboro, N.C., on Saturday.
Mikulak overtook Japan’s Shogo Nonomura in the final rotation after Nonomura fell on high bar. Mikulak, the reigning U.S. all-around champion, won his first American Cup with 90.098 points.
Nonomura finished 1.133 behind. Another American, John Orozco, was fifth.
“Final rotation was intense,” Mikulak said on NBC. “There was a lot of nerves going in. Big crowd. Big stadium. I just wanted to go out there and hit my routine, no falls, and then let the pressure sink in on the other competitors. It worked out in my favor.”
Price cruised with 59.966, bettering fellow American Brenna Dowell by a comfortable 2.434. She also won her first American Cup.
“To add this title to a list of many, it’s pretty cool,” Price said. “I hope to keep making the list bigger and bigger.”
Mikulak was the least experienced member of the 2012 U.S. men’s Olympic team that finished a disappointing fifth in London. The 21-year-old Michigan senior came back in 2013 to win his first U.S. all-around title.
But Mikulak won zero medals at the 2013 World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, where he finished sixth in the all-around after being second to Japanese legend Kohei Uchimura in qualifying.
Mikulak remained the best American man by topping Orozco in Greensboro.
“To be able to win another American title outside of the NCAA season, it just feels spectacular,” Mikulak said. “I’m excited for what else is to come.”
Orozco, also 21, won the 2012 U.S. all-around title going into the Olympics, but he did not bring back any medals from London. He suffered a torn ACL and meniscus in October 2012 and came back to win world bronze on parallel bars in Antwerp.
Mikulak and Orozco could face competition from Olympic all-around bronze medalist Danell Leyva and two-time Olympian Jonathan Horton at the U.S. Championships in Pittsburgh from Aug. 21-24.
Leyva, 22, needs to improve upon results from last year’s U.S. Championships (seventh overall) and last month’s Winter Cup (ninth overall) if he’s to be an international medal threat again.
Horton, 28, had shoulder surgery in early 2013 and missed the entire season. He petitioned onto the National Team for 2014 though, a strong indicator of his intention to compete again.
This year’s World Championships, in October in Nanning, China, will include a team competition, unlike in 2013. The U.S. men should vie for medals with powerhouses Japan and China.
Price, 17, notched her biggest victory on U.S. soil at the American Cup. The alternate for the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships is a threat for medals at this year’s U.S. Championships and World Championships should she stay healthy.
“Being so close to the Olympic team back in 2012 definitely made me like really hungry for more meets,” Price said. “Hopefully I can soon say that I’ve won even bigger meets than this one.”
Dowell, also 17, made the 2013 World Championships team after taking third in the all-around at the U.S. Championships. She did not compete in Antwerp, however. Instead, the U.S. opted to enter Simone Biles, Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney in all-around qualifying.
So Price and Dowell go into the major spring, summer and fall events with something to prove. The next big meet is the Pacific Rim Championships at the 2010 Olympic speed skating oval in Richmond, B.C., from April 9-12.
The women-only U.S. Classic just outside Chicago is Aug. 2.
Biles and Ross, the world all-around gold and silver medalists, missed the American Cup with injuries. Maroney is trying to bolster her all-around prospects after winning a world title on vault last year.
That’s not to mention the expected return of triple Olympic medalist Aly Raisman, perhaps at the U.S. Classic. Gabby Douglas and Jordyn Wieber have said they’ve returned to training, but it’s unknown when they will compete again.
Nov 28, 2014, 2:57 PM EST
How the venues for basketball, swimming and other sports are coming along.
Nov 28, 2014, 11:33 AM EST
The youngest Olympic slalom champion tries to emulate one skier above all the rest — an Olympic men’s champion.
Nov 28, 2014, 11:17 AM EST
Kostner, the Olympic and World figure skating bronze medalist, is taking this season off.
Nov 28, 2014, 11:01 AM EST
Coe sees problems with the World Championships and Diamond League.
Nov 28, 2014, 10:41 AM EST
Olympic champion’s status for World Championships in January is unclear.
Nov 28, 2014, 10:30 AM EST
Grand Prix final picture includes plenty of Americans.
Nov 28, 2014, 9:42 AM EST
Legal battle may not be finished, however.
Nov 28, 2014, 9:24 AM EST
Japanese site could break a 46-year Winter Olympic streak.
Nov 28, 2014, 8:47 AM EST
Tikhonov died earlier this week at 84 after a long illness.
Nov 28, 2014, 8:15 AM EST
Olympic champion hopes to return for Beaver Creek next weekend.
Nov 26, 2014, 1:06 PM EST
Full schedule of coverage across World Cups, Grand Prix events and World Championships.
Nov 26, 2014, 7:42 AM EST
Sister-brother team had bronze medals, but the official results didn’t reflect that until Tuesday.
Nov 25, 2014, 1:19 PM EST
Neither has competed since the London Olympics.
Nov 25, 2014, 10:46 AM EST
Scheduling conflicts, another new event?
Nov 25, 2014, 9:27 AM EST
Christ the Redeemer, Olympic motto honored on the coins.
Nov 24, 2014, 10:23 PM EST
Phelps is working toward 2015 goals, a North Baltimore official said.
Nov 24, 2014, 3:52 PM EST
An MRI and bone scan showed no structural damage.
Nov 24, 2014, 11:25 AM EST
Canada won its first men’s hockey Olympic gold in 50 years under Quinn.
Nov 24, 2014, 10:11 AM EST
Olympic champion Shields was named the tournament’s best overall boxer.
Nov 24, 2014, 9:17 AM EST
Tikhonov led the Soviets in the Miracle on Ice game.
- Mikaela Shiffrin: ‘I’m trying to show people what’s not impossible’ 0
- Katie Ledecky faces decisions in 2015, 2016 0
- Michael Phelps back in the pool; Phelps, Ledecky win Golden Goggles 2
- Viktor Tikhonov, Soviet Union Olympic hockey coach, dies at 84 1
- Sun Yang failed drug test, served three-month ban 0
- Rio 2016 Olympic, Paralympic mascots unveiled (video) 0
- Maksim Kovtun rallies to win Trophee Bompard (video); Grand Prix Final picture 0
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (60)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (39)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)