May 30, 2012
Sophomore men's gymnast Sam Mikulak, a United States Senior National Team member and 2012 NCAA high bar champion, is gearing up for the 2012 Visa Championships, set for June 7-10, and the U.S. Olympic Trials, to be held June 28-30. Mikulak owns 34 career event titles through his two collegiate seasons, capturing the 2011 NCAA All-Around crown before claiming runner-up honors in 2012. He seeks to earn one of the six coveted spots on the Olympic squad.
As you head into the VISA Championships and the U.S. Championships, what has your primary focus been in training? What does a typical day look like?
My primary focus going into Visa Championships has been to really work on perfecting skills to minimize as many deductions as possible, along with doing as many repetitions of skills and routines to become as solidified and confident as I possibly can be before going into the competition. So, a typical day includes waking up and going over to the training room for treatment on my lats, back and ankles. After that I'll drink some tea with my teammate and roommate, Jordan Gaarenstroom, to get pumped up for practice. The workout starts with a few minutes of trampoline to get the blood flowing then stretching, a conditioning warm-up and off to the events. Afterward will be conditioning, a warm down and a final stretch before it's back to the training room to get in the ice tub for 10 minutes to recover my body. Outside of the workouts, I just relax at home. If the sun is still out, I'll go get some sun.
Health is always a question for any gymnast. How are you feeling health wise? Are you where you want to be at this phase of your training?
As of right now, I'm the healthiest I have been all season. I am feeling more in shape, better conditioned and confident, and my body feels ready for competition. My ankles still need taping, but the amount of pounding they can take is improving the more rehab I continue to do. As for my lat and back, the treatment I do every day has been keeping it strong, and I haven't had any other issues regarding my body. So, I'm excited to show what I'm fully capable of next week.
Do you feel any added pressure competing at national meets as a member of Team USA?
No, there's no added pressure. I get a great sense of pride when I put on that US jersey, and nothing else matters when I step up on the floor and raise my hand. I'm not going to be thinking of any other meets, I'll be living in the now, and my focus will be nowhere other than performing my best over at the Visa Championships.
Does your performance at the NCAA Championships motivate you to reach higher at the upcoming national meets?
There was motivation after NCAAs because I didn't feel as prepared for that meet as I had been the previous year. But following that, it helped me in the gym for my pursuit of perfection when I got back home. Ever since NCAAs finished, I've been preparing myself as best as I can, doing everything to make sure there will not be any doubts in my mind about any of the gymnastics I'm going to do at the championships.
What is it like training with Syque Caesar, who has already locked up a spot with the Bangladesh National Team for the Olympics?
It's really nice having Syque and fellow national team member Adrian de los Angeles working out in the gym. All my other teammates here are on their summer plan and are working new skills. Having those two being in the gym every day working routines and keeping the energy level high is a great way to keep me motivated on my goals to make the Olympic team. It's also nice to have Syque as the constant reminder that we're training for the Olympic Games. What he has is what I want. So, every day I see my dreams, and I work to make every day count.