Olympics: Mikulak, U.S. men fall short
Corona del Mar High product Sam Mikulak and the other four members of the United States Olympic team finished a disappointing fifth in the men’s gymnastics team final contested Monday in London.
The Americans were plagued by mistakes on the pommel horse and the floor exercise to finish with 269.952 points. China (275.997), Japan (271.952) and Great Britain (271.711) earned the top three spots to claim gold, silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Team USA had topped the point list in the team qualifications on Saturday, posting 274.342 points, which was followed by Russia (272.595) and Great Britain (272.420).
Mikulak, a 19-year-old Newport Coast resident who competes at the University of Michigan, led three American gymnasts in the pommel horse Monday with a score of 14.500. His score featured no deductions, but his two teammates fell from the apparatus, leaving the Americans with the seventh-best team score in the event.
Mikulak, the NCAA overall champion in 2011 who was third overall at the 2012 NCAA championships, touched one hand on the floor after a triple-twisting back somersault in his floor exercise routine. The resulting deduction produced a score of 14.600, worst among three Americans in the event. Team USA posted the third-best combined score in the floor exercise.
Mikulak posted scores of 15.966 in the vault and 15.266 on the parallel bars to round out events in which he took part on Monday. Both scores were second-best among three America competitors. Team USA ranked No. 3 on the parallel bars and No. 6 in the vault.
The Americans ranked third and fourth as a team on high bar and rings, respectively, Monday.
Mikulak will compete in the individual vault final on Monday at 7:41 a.m. PT.
WOMEN’S BEACH VOLLEYBALL
Newport Harbor High product Misty May-Treanorand partner Kerri Walsh Jennings, in search of their third straight Olympic gold medal in women’s beach volleyball, remained unbeaten in Olympic competition on Monday.
The two-time defending gold medalists topped Kristyana Kolocova and Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic, 21-14, 21-19.
The Group C match began on May-Treanor’s 35th birthday, but ended after midnight. May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings, who have never lost a set in three Olympics, had to rally from an 18-15 deficit in the second game to complete their second sweep in these Games.
May-Treanor had 14 kills, 12 digs and one ace serve, while Walsh Jennings had seven kills, seven digs, three blocks and three aces.
On Sunday, Newport Harbor High product April Ross, alongside Jennifer Kessy, won their opening match in Group D, 21-11, 21-18, over Ana Gallay and Virginia Zonta of Argentina.
Ross had nine kills, four digs, three aces and one block.
May-Treanor and Walsh won their opener on Saturday, 21-18, 21-19, over Australia’s Natalie Cook and Tamsin Hinchley. May-Treanor had 14 kills, 14 digs and one ace serve in the match.
Ross and Kessy face Marleen Van Iersel and Sanne Keizer of the Netherlands in Group D action Tuesday.
May-Treanor and Walsh are back in action on Wednesday against Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger of Austria in another Group C clash.
MEN’S WATER POLO
UC Irvine alums Ryan Bailey and Tim Hutten each scored a goal as the U.S. Olympic men’s water polo team held off Montenegro, 8-7, in group play Sunday.
The next opponent for the Americans is Romania Tuesday at 11:40 a.m. (PT).
Bailey’s power-play goal with 1:32 left in the first quarter tied the game at 1-1 and Hutten’s goal with 7:32 remaining in the second period put the U.S. up, 2-1.
Peter Varellas led the Americans with three goals and Tony Azevedo’s goal with 57 seconds left in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winner as Montenegro’s Vladimir Gojkovic scored with 46 seconds remaining to make it a one-goal game.
Bailey is one of the first two male athletes (along with Azevedo) in USA water polo history to compete in four Olympics. UCI alum Jeff Powers is making his third appearance in the Olympics and Hutten his second. They were members of the 2008 U.S. squad that won silver in Beijing.
MEN’S BEACH VOLLEYBALL
Costa Mesa resident Jake Gibb and Corona del Mar resident Sean Rosenthal were defeated in men’s volleyball action on Monday, 21-17, 21-18, by the Polish pair of Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel.
Rosenthal had 20 kills, 10 digs and two aces, while Gibb totaled six digs, five kills, three blocks and two aces.
In their opening match, Gibb and Rosenthal defeated South Africans Freedom Chiya and Grant Goldschmidt, 21-10, 21-11, on Saturday.
Rosenthal had 19 digs and nine kills in the victory, while Gibb collected 15 kills, four digs and three blocks.
Gibb and Rosenthal continue in Group D on Wednesday, when they will square off against Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Ruslans Sorokins of Latvia.
The U.S. men’s volleyball team opened defense of its Olympic gold medal with a 25-17, 25-22, 25-21 win over Serbia Sunday.
Team USA, ranked fifth in the world, continues Pool B play Tuesday against Germany at 8:45 a.m. PT.
Former UCI All-American David Smith, a middle blocker, made his Olympic debut as a substitute in the opening set.
Team USA, coached by former Orange Coast College standout Alan Knipe, also includes backup setter Brian Thornton, a former UCI All-American.
WOMEN’S WATER POLO
The U.S. women’s water polo team, including backup goalie Tumua Anae, a Corona del Mar High product, defeated Hungary, 14-13, on Monday in their first Group A match.
Team USA, with seven players back from the team that won a silver medal in Beijing in 2008, is listed along with Australia, as favorites to win the gold in London. The U.S. has won a medal in every Olympic women’s tournament. It won silver in 2000 and 2008 and won a bronze in 2004.
Newport Harbor High product Esther Lofgren contributed to the U.S. women’s eight winning its heat in the opening round of competition Sunday to qualify for the final on Thursday.
The U.S. boat, with Lofgren in the No. 6 seat, completed the 2,000-meter course in six minutes, 14.68 seconds, besting runner-up Australia by nearly seven seconds on Dorney Lake.
The U.S. women’s eight is unbeaten in six years and is the prohibitive favorite to win gold on Thursday.
In the women’s cycling road race Sunday, Amber Neben, who owns a master’s degree from UC Irvine, finished 36th in a time of three hours, 36 minutes, 20 seconds in the 140-kilometer event held in rainy conditions.
Neben will compete in the time trial Wednesday.
— From staff reports