Kevin Tan Tops the Field in Still Rings on Day Two of U.S. Olympic Trials
June 21, 2008
PHILADELPHIA - Penn State men's gymnastics assistant coach Kevin Tan easily bested the field in the still rings on day two of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, matching his day one score by posting a 16.550. His Olympic fate now resides in the hands of the Olympic selection committee, which will meet overnight to determine the squad that will represent the United States at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
The full team will be introduced on Sun., June 22 during day two of the women's all-around finals. The squad will be composed of six gymnasts, plus at least one or as many as three alternates. The 2008 Olympic Games are scheduled for August 8-24.
While dominating the competition in the still rings on the second day of the trials, Tan struggled in his other three events, scoring a 13.400 on the pommel horse, 14.750 in the parallel bars, and 13.850 in the high bar.
Two gymnasts, Paul Hamm and Jonathan Horton, were nominated to the team at the conclusion of the trials. When deciding upon the remaining team members, the selection committee will take into account consistency, leadership, international experience, strength in particular events, team needs, and other factors.
"We will pick the team with the best potential for success based on how they have performed," said Dennis McIntyre, senior men's program director for USA Gymnastics. "No one met the automatic selection criteria. The selection committee met in advance and we had a game plan for what we would look for and consider in the event no one automatically qualified. We will meet tonight and tomorrow to review the results, look at scores, look at what each can contribute to the team and run through all of the scenarios to see what combination of men will give us the best team."
Tan has built a strong case for securing a spot on the Olympic team over the past four years. He has proven to be one the nation's dependably strong performers, whether competing nationally or internationally, earning Sportsman of the Year in 2007 by USA Gymnastics. Tan has fared well against some of the world's top gymnasts, medaling in the still rings in several competitions. He has provided leadership as captain of two World Championship teams. Called "perhaps the best rings man the United States has ever produced" by Penn State head coach Randy Jepson, Tan is ranked among the world elite on rings and consistently scores .7-1.0 higher than any other American in the event.
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.