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May 25, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Nittany Lion men's gymnast Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel) realized a lifelong dream on Thursday when he officially qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics based on his performance at the European Gymnastics Championships in Montpellier, France. A rising senior at Penn State, Aronovich will compete as an individual, representing his native country of Israel.
In January, the International Gymnastics Federation awarded Aronovich an individual spot for the Games based on his performance at the Olympic test event in London. However, to participate in London, the Israeli Olympic committee required Aronovich to prove himself again at the European championships. He passed that test by placing 11th in the all-around with a score of 80.623.
The gymnastics competition at the 2012 London Olympics will take place from July 28-August 7 at North Greenwich Arena on the banks of the River Thames. A total of 98 of the world's top men's gymnasts will vie for team and individual honors at the 30th Games of the Olympiad.
In 2012, Aronovich was a key member of a Penn State squad that finished third at the National Collegiate Championships, the program's highest placing since the Nittany Lions won their NCAA-record 12th national title in 2007. During the team finals, junior Felix Aronovich secured his first career All-America award, placing seventh in the all-around with a score of 86.750. At the individual finals, Aronovich was one of six Nittany Lions to earn All-America honors, the program's most since 1959, placing fifth in the parallel bars.
The former Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Year had his best collegiate season in 2012, setting career highs in five of six events and the all-around. In a win over Minnesota on March 17, Aronovich helped Penn State post the nation's highest score for the season (360.600), establishing career bests in the floor exercise (14.900), pommel horse (15.100), still rings (15.300), and the all-around (89.400). One week later, versus Temple, the five-time Big Ten Gymnast of the Week won the parallel bars (15.400) and high bar (15.300) crowns with career high scores.
At the 2012 Big Ten Championships, Aronovich placed fourth in the all-around, earning First Team All-Big Ten honors.
Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Aronovich possesses an extensive international resume. He competed in the European Championships from 2004-2009 and at the World Championships in 2006 (Aarhus, Denmark) and 2010 (Rotterdam, Netherlands). At the 2008 World Cup in Cotbus, Germany, Aronovich placed ninth in the pommel horse.
Aronovich will be the 19th Nittany Lion to compete in the Summer Olympics since 1948, representing five different nations. Current Penn State assistant coach Kevin Tan was the last when he earned a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China for the United States.