Together, the team’s goal will be to win the first Olympic gymnastics medal for American men in 13 years. The last time the team stood on the podium at the Olympics was when they won a bronze medal at the Beijing Games in 2008. McClure, who helped the US men’s team to a medal in the Olympic Games. silver in the 2004 Olympics said it wouldn’t be easy to break that streak this year.
The U.S. team has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic as the closures have resulted in the closure of universities across the country, he said, and many athletes on his national team have trained at universities.
“Looking at China, Russia and Japan, they all bubbled up immediately and were able to stay together and continue their training, and we couldn’t,” said McClure. “So it was hard.”
The team, however, can turn to Mikulak for advice on how to handle the pressure of the Olympics and find a way to at least perform well. He has competed in two Olympics, and both of these men’s teams finished fifth in the team competitions. In 2012 Mikulak finished fifth in vault. In 2016, he finished fourth on high bar.
His teammates have said they would like nothing more than to end his career with “some gear,” Moldauer said, referring to an Olympic medal or two. And they hope to help him do it.
When considering advice he could share with his teammates, who are all first-time Olympians, Mikulak said he would warn them against internalizing other people’s expectations. Just do the gymnastics for yourself, he said, and don’t put the pressure on yourself.
“I wish someone had said me that, ”he said.