Tan Helps U.S. Advance to Team Finals at Olympics
Aug. 8, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State assistant coach Kevin Tan helped the U.S. Men's Gymnastics Team place first in its subdivision and sixth overall in qualifying competition at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China on Saturday. With the top eight finishers advancing, the U.S. earned the opportunity to vie for a medal in Tuesday's team finals, which will air live in the U.S. on Aug. 11 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.
"I thought we did exactly what we needed to do today," Tan said. "We needed to come here, stay level-headed and do our job. This team kept together, stayed in it and fought all the way through. Being in the first session, scores may be a little lower, but we definitely set the pace. There's no question."
Individually, Tan, who captains the U.S. team, scored below his normal range in the still rings, his signature event. He did lead the team on the rings with a score of 15.725, but his score fell .025 short of qualifying him for the individual event finals. However, Tan is the first reserve athlete and, should one of top eight finalists withdraw, he will get a chance to compete for a medal. Tan also competed on the pommel horse and high bar in the qualifier.
Reigning team world champion China finished first in the qualification round with 374.675 points, followed by 2004 Olympic team champion Japan in second with a 369.550 and Russia in third at 366.225. Germany and South Korea finished both finished at 365.675. The U.S. earned a total of 365.200 points for sixth. Rounding out the team finalists are France (361.200) in seventh and Romania (359.350) in eighth. Scores from the qualification round do not carry forward to the finals.
"To make a major team personnel change, compete in the first subdivision and qualify for the team finals is a huge accomplishment, and we are looking forward to competing on Tuesday," said Kevin Mazeika, head coach for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team for men's gymnastics. "We accomplished our first set of goals -- to go out and be consistent, and to qualify for team finals. We will go through our usual process and review our performances in the prelims, and the coaches will meet to determine our line up for the 6-3-3 format in the finals.
"They did absolutely outstanding today. It was a lot of fun out there. The guys were very consistent and they showed a lot of spirit from start to finish. It was just a great day for Team USA."
The competition format for the qualification round is that six gymnasts are on a team, five athletes compete on each event and the top four scores count toward the team score. In the final round, three athletes compete on each event and all three scores count.
The top 24 gymnasts in the all-around with a limit of two per country move on to the finals. The top eight athletes in each event with a limit of two per country advance to the individual event finals.
Alexander Artemev, who was added to the team after Morgan Hamm resigned earlier this week, and Jonathan Horton, a former NCAA all-around champion at Oklahoma, qualified for the all-around finals, as well as the pommel horse and horizontal bar finals, respectively.
The men's team finals are Aug. 12 (10 a.m.), with the all-around finals on Aug. 14 (11 a.m.). The individual event finals are Aug. 17-19, (6 p.m.) each day.