Now that the Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions has come to a close, what are the plans for some of our US Olympians.
Here is what they told USA Gymnastics:
Madison Kocian – Kocian is fully settled in at UCLA for her freshman year of school and first season of college gymnastics, though tour stops in Los Angeles, Texas and Boston have had her doing some homework on back-and-forth flights. She will take next season off from elite gymnastics, then decide what’s next. “I am having a lot of fun, especially with the great team that I’m on here,” she said from Los Angeles. “I’m going to focus on doing college gymnastics and just be a freshman. The plan right now is to compete all-around, which I’m really excited about. After the season, I’m going to see how my body is feeling and what is making me happy.”
Sam Mikulak – Mikulak is making plans to join Kocian in Southern California, though he’s not sure exactly where yet. “After tour I’m going to move back to Colorado Springs and train there, I would like to move back to California to train as soon as possible,” he said. First Mikulak has to get his training situation settled, then he will make the move. “I want to be close to family and friends.” He added: “I’ve spent so much of my life outside of California and gotten the chance to experience a lot of different cultures and I’ve learned a lot about myself, but I want to be in a place now where I am familiar, where I feel comfortable. I want to use that to my advantage in my training.”
Danell Leyva – Another soon-to-be Californian is Leyva, who is heading to Tinseltown with the same dream of many Americans: Making it as an actor. “I’m focusing on acting for some time, but I’m not ruling out gymnastics just yet,” Leyva said. “I want to do all kind of acting – anything and everything. I would probably do TV at first and then if I can work my way into movies that would be great. The plan is to head there immediately after tour.”
Alex Naddour – Naddour said that the support on tour has been incredible to see in person: “We hear it and see it on social media, but it’s a different thing to have the crowd here to cheer for us and celebrate our accomplishments, he said. He’s motivated to continue to train, though he will “play it by ear.” He said: “If I continue on – which I’m planning on as of right now – I’ll probably do three to four events maximum. I really want to push the younger generation. Sometimes all of the guys stop (in one generation) and the younger ones get a pass onto the national team. I’m going to continue on so I can push them and help grow the sport in the U.S.”
Jake Dalton – Dalton is on a mission – or missions, rather. “I’ll go back home to Oklahoma and start training to see how my body feels,” he said. “I also want to get into the fitness industry, create a lot of things with Brandon Wynn because we want to do a lot with fitness.” Dalton said his body needs a break, perhaps a little holiday indulgence over Thanksgiving and Christmas, then a week-long vacation in January. Then, however, he has his eye on 2017 Worlds. “Individual worlds is a goal if my body can hold up and I can push through,” he said. “I’m not thinking too far ahead, especially as I get older, I’m taking things year by year.”
Chris Brooks – Brooks continues the let’s-see-how-it-goes theme of the men’s team. “I’m going to go back to Colorado and take it one day at a time,” he said, saying he needs a check-in with his body, as well. “If I can make some adjustments to these new coaching changes and focus on parallel bars and high bar, then I want to chase that one more world medal at individual Worlds. It’s a goal. It’s not top priority because I know, realistically, I have to check in with my body and see where I am.”
John Orozco – With his Olympic dreams dashed by an ACL tear in July, Orozco has been showered with support during his time on tour, saying he’s felt overwhelmed at times with fans checking in on the progress of his knee. He would like to return to competition, though he doesn’t want to rush the decision. “It’s a big question mark,” he said. “I feel like I don’t want to end my career on a low note.” “I want to see what happens when I get back to 100 percent healthy and see how I feel about competing then,” he said. “It’s easier to make a decision when I’m fully healthy.”
Nicole Ahsinger -Making the 2016 Rio Olympics was unexpected for trampolinist Ahsinger, but the experience has only made her want to do it all over again. “I’m going to national team camp a few days after tour,” she said. “I have already decided that I’m going to go for 2020. I am still young and trampolinists don’t peak until their late 20s or 30.”
Logan Dooley – Fellow trampoline Olympian Dooley will also be at national team camp, though he’d is unsure of what his coaching set up will be after that. (He’s looking to make a change.) “It’s going to be very hard and very difficult, but hopefully I can keep up with everybody that is out there still playing the game hard,” he said. “First, though, I need a little downtime before I ramp up for another Olympic cycle.”
Laura Zeng – Zeng, who finished 11th in rhythmic gymnastics, would like to make another Olympics, as well. “I’ve already gotten all my new routines, so what’s next is just continuing to practice and improve upon myself and keep going,” she said. “2020 is always a little bit in the back of my mind, but in order not to get caught up in everything, I have to focus on one season at a time. The Olympic cycle was one heck of a ride. I think the next cycle will be much different. I think I achieved so much this time around that it’s going to be hard to continue on my same trajectory. I just have to work even harder.