american male gymnasts

American male gymnasts often don’t spend as much time in the spotlight as their female counterparts. Even so, US men’s gymnastics has produced a crop of superstars in the past years, and these athletes have certainly done their best to make the country proud on the world stage. We’re listing here six of the best American male gymnasts that your kids can look up to as role models.

Bart Conner

 

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Bart Conner is a three-time Olympian, a rare class among athletes. He was barely out of high school when he made TeamUSA for Montreal 1976. Bart qualified for the team once again for Moscow 1980 but didn’t participate because of the USA boycott. In 1984, he bagged two gold medals in Los Angeles 1984—one of which was the first team medal that the USA won in gymnastics in 80 years. Bart barely made TeamUSA that year because of an injury, yet his performance at parallel bars helped clinch the team’s win.

Bart was inducted to the US Olympic Hall of Fame in 1991 and to the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997. He’s married to the legendary gymnast Nadia Comaneci, and the couple remains active in gymnastics and philanthropy.

Watch this clip of Bart Conner on the parallel bars at the 1984 Olympics: https://bit.ly/3xokJSE.

Mitch Gaylord

mitch gaylord, american male gymnasts

Mitch Gaylord was part of the squad that ended TeamUSA’s Olympic gold medal drought in men’s gymnastics in Los Angeles 1984. He contributed significantly to the team’s win, earning bronze on rings and parallel bars and silver on vault. The year before that, he was the all-around champion at the NCAA and the US Nationals.

After the 1984 Olympics, Mitch became a fitness advocate. He was appointed as a member of the Presidential Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He had a brief stint in acting and then worked as a motivational speaker, financial advisor, and teacher.

Watch the story of how Mitch helped TeamUSA win Los Angeles 1984: https://bit.ly/36f2ALi.

Paul Hamm

paul hamm, american male gymnasts

Paul Hamm was a dominant figure in men’s gymnastics in the 2000s. He became the US national all-around champion in 2002 and held this title for three consecutive years. Paul was also the first American to win the all-around in the World Championships, which he achieved in 2003. The following year, he won gold for the all-around in Athens at the Summer Olympics, once again the first American to do so.

Paul almost didn’t make gold in Athens. He had a dangerous fall while performing on the vault and could have sustained injuries had he not landed on the judges’ bench. Nonetheless, he made a comeback on the parallel bars and the high bar, winning by a thin margin. He was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2015.

Watch the moment Paul Hamm won gold in Athens 2004: https://bit.ly/3hg7MVi.

Donnell Whittenburg

 

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Unlike the other American male gymnasts on this list, Donnell Whittenburg only made it to the Olympics as an alternate at Rio 2016. Nonetheless, he has been representing the US in various international meets since 2014 and remains a consistent gymnastics contender. He has a collection of medals from the World Championships, Pan American Games, and the FIG World Cup. Donnell was also the national champion on vault in 2014 and on rings in 2015.

Aside from his medals, Donnell has the distinct achievement of being the first American male gymnast since 2008 and one of the few African-American gymnasts to have a FIG-valued skill named after him. The Whittenburg, a triple back pike dismount, is an H skill, the most difficult level in the most recent Code of Points.

Watch Donnell Whittenburg perform on the pommel horse at the 2021 Winter Cup: https://bit.ly/3xnncN9.

Yul Moldauer

 

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Since Yul Moldauer joined the national team in 2010, he has been a constant presence in national and international gymnastics competitions. His medal collection includes those won from the World Cup Championships, the American Cup, and the NCAA, where he competed for the University of Oklahoma. Recent additions to this collection are gold medals for parallel bars at the 2021 Winter Cup and the 2021 US Championships.

Yul placed second at the all-around at the 2021 US Olympics Team Trials. This means he’s headed to Tokyo 2020, his first-ever Olympic Games. As a Korean adopted by American parents, Yul’s selection highlights the achievements of Asian-Americans not just in gymnastics but in American sports in general.

Watch Yul Moldauer’s floor performance at the 2021 Winter Cup: https://bit.ly/3hGoxbl.

Sam Mikulak

 

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Sam Mikulak has always been the man to beat when it comes to all-around events in US gymnastics. After all, he has won it six times at Nationals—from 2013 to 2016 and 2018 to 2019. Sam has earned medals from international meets like the Pacific Rim Games, the World Championships, and the Pan American Games. Additionally, he won eight championship medals at the NCAA for the University of Michigan. Sam was also the first Wolverine gymnast to qualify for the Olympics.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics is Sam’s third, making him a member of that small and elite club of three-time Olympians. However, despite his appearances in London 2012 and Rio 2016, an Olympic medal has eluded Sam. He has been open about the pressures of not placing podium at the Games on his mental health. As a result, he encourages elite athletes like himself to reach out for help if they need it. The picture of perseverance, Sam expressed his hope of winning a medal in Tokyo, a swan song for his planned retirement from gymnastics afterward.

Watch Sam Mikulak on still rings at the 2021 US Gymnastics Championships: https://bit.ly/3qPdAID.

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