Analyzing the U.S. gymnastics men’s World Championships team
INDIANAPOLIS -- The U.S. men’s team for the World Gymnastics Championships includes two Olympians, and five of six members have World Championships experience.
Sam Mikulak, who captured his third straight U.S. all-around title Sunday, leads the team. He’s joined by Donnell Whittenburg, Alex Naddour, Danell Leyva, Paul Ruggeri III and Brandon Wynn. The alternates are Chris Brooks and Marvin Kimble.
The World Championships are the last week of October in Glasgow, Scotland.
The U.S. took bronze medals at the last two World Championships with team competitions in 2011 and 2014. It has never earned team medals at three straight World Championships.
China has won every Olympic/Worlds gold medal since 2007. Japan has won every Olympic/Worlds silver medal since 2007. The U.S. could contend with host Great Britain for at least a bronze in Glasgow, should the Americans clean up mistakes from an error-filled Sunday at the P&G Championships.
Japan’s Kohei Uchimura has dominated the individual all-around competition, winning every Olympic and World title since 2009. Mikulak was a medal threat in 2013 before a mistake on his last routine on high bar dropped him to sixth. He was 12th behind Uchimura in 2014.
The last American man to earn a Worlds all-around medal was Jonathan Horton, who captured bronze in 2010. Horton, 29, competed at the P&G Championships in Indianapolis, but he placed ninth in the all-around and did not make the Worlds team.
Neither did Olympian Jacob Dalton, a four-time Worlds veteran who withdrew before the P&G Championships with a small shoulder labrum tear but hoped for a spot on the Worlds team.
Here’s a look at the men who did make the Worlds team with each gymnast’s credentials:
Sam Mikulak: 2012 Olympian, 2013/2014 Worlds veteran. Mikulak is the three-time reigning U.S. all-around champion, but his résumé is missing an individual Olympic or Worlds medal. He finished fourth in the 2013 Worlds high bar final, fifth in the 2012 Olympic vault final and sixth in the 2013 Worlds all-around.
Donnell Whittenburg: 2014 Worlds veteran. Whittenburg qualified fourth into the Worlds all-around final in his debut last year but struggled under the bright lights of the final and finished 17th. He was seventh in the parallel bars final and is also strong on floor exercise, still rings and vault.
Danell Leyva: 2012 Olympian, 2009/2010/2011/2014 Worlds veteran. The Olympic all-around bronze medalist is a two-time Worlds medalist on parallel bars. He was also used on pommel horse and high bar in the 2012 Olympic and 2014 Worlds team finals.
Alex Naddour: 2011/2013/2014 Worlds veteran. Naddour has finished first or second on pommel horse at the U.S. Championships each of the last five years. He could also be used on still rings, as he was at the 2014 Worlds.
Brandon Wynn: 2010/2013 Worlds veteran. Wynn took bronze on still rings and seventh on parallel bars in his last Worlds appearance. He was second on rings at the P&G Championships and no better than ninth in the other five events.
Paul Ruggeri III: Ruggeri was an alternate for the 2010, 2013 and 2014 Worlds teams. He is the lone Worlds rookie this year. Ruggeri was second on high bar and vault and fifth on floor exercise at the P&G Championships.