The 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials the Last Stop on the Road to Beijing for Kevin Tan
June 18, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's gymnastics assistant coach Kevin Tan will put four years of preparation and hard work on the line and look to fulfill a lifelong dream when he competes at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, which are scheduled to take place from June 19-22 at the Wachovia Center in downtown Philadelphia. At stake, is a coveted spot on the U.S. Men's Gymnastics Olympic team that will compete at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, China.
Tan is bidding to become Penn State's first American Olympian since 1976 when Nittany Lions Marshall Avener, Gene Whelan, and Wayne Young represented the U.S. at the games in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In total, 16 former Penn State gymnasts have competed in the Olympics representing the United States, Sweden, Great Britain, and Puerto Rico.
Day one of the trials is scheduled for Thurs., June 19 at 7 p.m. The second day of competition will take place on Sat., June 21 beginning at 3 p.m. NBC will broadcast day two of the team trials from 4:30-6 p.m. ET on June 21.
Ranked as one the world's top rings competitor and considered perhaps the finest performer this nation has ever produced in the event, according to Penn State head coach Randy Jepson, Tan will also compete in the pommel horse, parallel bars, and high bar.
Tan is among 15 gymnasts who qualified for the Olympic Trials based on performances at last month's VISA Championships in Houston or petitions made to the U.S. Olympic Committee. Tan demonstrated once again that he is among the nation's and world's elite competitors at the pivotal event by capturing his third consecutive VISA Championships still rings title on May 23. After dominating the still rings field on day one (16.650), Tan came through with another impressive effort on the final day (16.700) to compile a two-day score of 33.350. That total topped the second place competitor by 1.5 points and was the highest score total posted by any athlete in any event at the VISA Championships.
Tan's success at the VISA Championships was not limited to the still rings, as he also placed fourth in the parallel bars (30.550) and sixth in the pommel horse (28.950). After struggling in the high bar on the first day of competition, Tan bounced back tonight by finishing in fifth place in the event with a score of 14.750.
Tan's 2008 VISA Championships rings crown adds another achievement to what has already been a highly successful competitive year. 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.