Kevin Tan Places First in Still Rings on Day One of Competition at 2008 VISA Championships
May 23, 2008
HOUSTON, Texas - Penn State men's gymnastics assistant coach Kevin Tan continued to impress in his pursuit of a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team by placing first in the still rings on the first day of competition at the 2008 VISA Championships on Thursday evening. The event, which features 44 of the nation's top gymnasts, is being held at Reliant Park in Houston, Tex.
Tan dominated the all-star field on the still rings, posting a phenomenal score of 16.650 to outdistance his nearest challenger by .950 of a point. His impressive score was the highest by any gymnast in any event on the prestigious competition's opening day.
Tan also fared well in other events, placing fourth in the pommel horse (14.550) and tying for sixth in the parallel bars (15.000). His lone setback of the day came on the high bar where he placed 38th (12.550) after falling twice during his routine. However, he will get a chance to redeem himself on the high bar when the competition continues tomorrow.
The second and final round of competition is scheduled for Sat., May 24 at 7 p.m. ET. All athletes who competed on Thursday advance to Saturday's final day of competition. Scores from both days will be combined to determine the final all-around and individual event rankings. Also, at stake are highly coveted bids to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which will take place from June 19-22 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.
Tan, who is competing as a member of Team Chevron, is the VISA Championships' two-time defending still rings champion. In 2007, after dominating the still rings field in the qualifying session, Tan came through with another impressive effort in the finals to compile a two-day score of 32.850. That total topped the second place competitor by a full point and was the highest score total posted by any athlete in any event at the VISA Championships. However, his success was not limited to the still rings, as he also placed fourth in the high bar (29.150) and eighth in the pommel horse (28.600) and the parallel bars (tie, 29.800).
Tan, the 2007 USA Gymnastics Sportsman of the Year, will be looking to build on a highly successful year of competition at the 2008 VISA Championships. In April, he won a silver medal in the still rings at the 32nd Turnier der Meister Cottbus, Germany, an event that featured a collection of the world's elite competitors from 40 countries. His standout showing at the Turnier der Meister came on the heels of two impressive performances earlier this year. In February, Tan captured his third consecutive and fourth overall rings championship at the Winter Cup Challenge. Later that month, he led a select group of gymnasts from the U.S. Men's Senior National Team to a 361.350-352.600 dual meet victory over Canada in Calgary. With perhaps his best performance in his distinguished international career, Tan won the pommel horse (14.900), the still rings (16.300), and the parallel bars (15.500). He also placed third in the high bar (15.000).
A native of Fremont, Calif., Tan was a six-time All-American at Penn State, winning NCAA titles in the still rings in 2003 and 2004. One of just two Nittany Lions to be honored as an All-Big Ten performer in three consecutive years, he captured three Big Ten rings crowns and a parallel bar title during his brilliant collegiate career. Since joining the Penn State coaching staff full-time in 2006, Tan has helped guide the Nittany Lions to the program's NCAA-record 12th national championship (2007) and second Big Ten championship (2008). In 2007, Tan was honored as the NACGC Assistant Coach of the Year.