April 11, 2014
Michigan Head Coach Kurt Golder
Opening statement ... "It doesn't get any better than winning at home. This is my fourth championship, and they're all great, but winning in front of the Michigan crowd in Crisler Center makes it even sweeter. I couldn't ask for anything more."
On winning the national title in front of the entire alumni base ... "It's just fantastic. Coaching at Michigan for me was a dream come true. I remember walking into the stadium as an undergraduate and telling a dear friend of mine that one of these days I'm going to be the head coach at Michigan. And then to be able to assemble a team like this and win some national championships and then host it and win it at home for Michigan, I can't wait to see my alumni friends that I haven't seen yet that I know are in town this weekend."
On how this championship compares to the rest ... "Going back to 1999, I took over winless team. The team that I inherited was 0-16, and three years later we won the national championship, and that was really special. I had a very young team, and I thought that the next three were going to be easier than this one. And then I won my next one 10 years later. To win three within a five-year span, it's great, and I think we have the [athletes] to win next year, and that's what we're going to set our sights on come Monday. We'll get through this, take a deep breath on Sunday, then get back at it on Monday or Tuesday."
On what he said to Sam Mikulak after he fell off the high bar ... "I asked him if he wanted to repeat the skills, and he said, 'No, I just want to finish up.' That is what I was in favor of doing anyhow, but my style has always to get the athlete's opinion and not just tell them what to do. I want them to do what is best for themselves."
On whether he was concerned about losing the lead when Sam fell ... "I was getting concerned. Any time you see a big lead get cut in half, I know that that can evaporate quickly with another mistake. We were evaluating, my assistants and I, and we were watching the scores very closely of whether we needed to go aggressive and need huge scores to win, or whether to go conservative and just play it safe. And as we went through floor we got hit after hit, and we took a skill out of Sam's routine that he had trouble with the other day. It was only three-tenths reduction from the start value, so theoretically three-tenths lower in a score; he won't make a mistake that way. We ended up going conservative, and it worked out."
On Sam Mikulak winning his third all around title ... "It's phenomenal. In 1963, Michigan was national champion in the all around, and we had one in 2010. And then Sam has gotten three of them, so that is three out of five. We have a pretty good history here at Michigan in gymnastics, so I'm as proud as proud can be. And the year that he didn't win, I was okay with that, that was the Olympic year, and I knew that he had his mind on making the Olympic team. He was kind of pacing himself, and it worked out well. It would have been nice if he would have won four, but I'm as happy as can be that he has three and made the Olympic team in the middle of that."
On what makes Sam Mikulak so good ... "He's a very talented individual, and he's a good competitor. Both of his parents were gymnasts at an elite level. His dad was a U.S. National Team member and his mother was a national champion in vault, so genetically he's got a lot going for him. He's a great person, and his personality is a product of the environment he grew up in, his mother and father mentoring him. He's just a fantastic person."
On responding well on parallel bars after stumbling on the vault ... "You know you're going to have some adversity, and we talked about this quite a bit. You have to handle everything, and we talked to the team before the competition and said, 'Expect adversity, it's going to come.' We don't know when it's going to come, we don't know what form it's going to come in, but when it comes you have to handle it, and you have to move on. We had that fall on the vault, and the rest of the guys stepped up, and we went to the next event and hit a grand slam home run on that one."
U-M Senior Sam Mikulak
On the team's pommel horse performance to start ... "We decided as a team to start on horse. It's a shaky event, but we have a very confident pommel horse team, and we wanted to get that out of the way, and we did it with a bang. That's just the way you always want to start a national championship."
On the Michigan crowd ... "We knew the crowd was going to be there. I mean, we are here at Michigan, it's going to be loud, and we are going to use that to our advantage. There's nothing you can do, you just have to use it and have fun with it."
On his high bar fall ... "Just finish the routine. Mistakes happen, but I knew our team was strong enough that it wouldn't hinder the result very much, so we still came out champions. I'll have to watch the video, but I guess when I fell, I just dropped my feet down too low. I actually haven't missed that skill in like two months or something, but, it happens. I feel good about it still. It gave me a little motivation for floor, just to go out and stick everything there, so, I was alright with that."
On the chance to become most-decorated athlete in collegiate history ... "Yeah, last year was real hard to sleep too. But, last year worked very well too. I'll just have to keep going. I'm going to take an ice bath, do as much recovery as I can, and just get as pumped as I was today for tomorrow."
On last technique on floor, clinching the national championship ... "Right after I did my Thomas, I was just thinking 'Alright, one more,' and then it was a quick back handspring, and I just had to finish it off. Went, stuck it, and something just deep inside me just came out. I just got vicious, and I don't think I've ever had my heart race as fast as it did after that routine. I came over and just gave everyone a hug. I almost can't remember it, it was so good."
On Stacey Ervin rebounding from injury ... "Stacey is a fighter, and all us Michigan Men, we handle adversity to the best of our abilities. It's such a privilege to compete for this team, and Stacey was very motivated to get back in the gym and be a counting score for this championship team. We just have such high motivation in the gym, and everybody wants the same thing and always pushes for the best."
On winning at home ... "Just having the whole crowd. You look up you see maize and blue. Just to see all the support and all the people that are here to root for you for the win. It was so much better than it was last year; it was at Penn State, there was so much blue and white. Just seeing your home colors, that's comforting to you, and I had so much family and friends that came to support, and it's nice that I can look up and have all that support looking at me, seeing that they helped me win this championship."
On difference between collegiate and Olympics ... "This was the loudest competition I have ever been in, for a Michigan/collegiate meet, and it was just phenomenal. It's a whole different experience when you are with your team, your brothers, who you've been with for four years in college. It's just a whole new aspect to the sport, and it's unbelievable. It was awesome, we loved it.
"I don't know if I could ever compare the Olympics with this. They are two totally different sides to the spectrum. With this team, we've done so much together. We're not just teammates, we're best friends, and it just goes so much deeper than just being a part of the team. At the Olympics, you're there on the biggest stage. I guess they both have the most amazing feeling in the world, it's just two different sides of it."
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