Sept. 24, 2012
Mikulak's Pommel Horse Performance (YouTube)
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) recently approved naming a pommel horse skill after University of Michigan junior men's gymnast and 2012 United States Olympic team member Sam Mikulak (Corona del mar, Calif./Corona del mar), who became first gymnast to compete the skill at an official FIG competition. He performed what is now known as the "Mikulak" during the men's qualification round at 2012 Olympic Games in London. The skill was included in the FIG's 2013-16 "Code of Points" for Men's Artistic Gymnastics, published on Sept. 14.
"The pommel horse skill was something where I just pushed an old skill to the limits, and just made it more exciting and a little bit more interesting," said Mikulak. "Having that skill, the Mikulak, in the books forever is something that I can look back on and say that I made a difference in the world of gymnastics. This is one of my biggest honors and it just makes me happy to be a part of (the Code)."
The "Mikulak" is a double scissor with a hop from one end of the horse to the other. The skill begins with forward leg swings and half turn of the body, but ends with backward leg swings. A typical scissor on the pommel horse is a skill where the gymnast performs a pendulum swing with both legs individually, changing sides of the horse at its peak.
The "Mikulak" is valued as a D skill on a scale from A to F, with F being the most difficult. The 2013-16 "Code of Points" has three scissor skills for pommel horse bearing individual gymnast's names, all with a D value, and it does not have any other single leg scissor skills that have greater than a D value.
He is the second U-M gymnast in program history to have a skill with their namesake, as Wayne Miller (1966-68) had a skill named after him on trampoline, which is a double back somersault with one and a half twists in the first and one and a half twists in the second.
Mikulak and the rest of the Wolverines open up the 2012-13 season with the annual Maize & Blue Intrasquad meet at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, from Cliff Keen Arena.
Contact: Scott Kemps (734) 763-4423