Horton In Ukraine With Team USA

NORMAN, OK -- Oklahoma’s Jonathan Horton will be part of the six-member U.S. squad that will travel to Kiev, Ukraine, to compete against teams from Russia and the Ukraine on June 30.

Oklahoma’s Jonathan Horton

Horton will be joined by OU head coach Mark Williams who will serve as an assistant coach for the American team.

The format for the international meet will be the same as the World Championship finals and the Olympic Games. Three gymnasts from each team will compete on each apparatus and all three scores will count towards the team total.

“Jon hasn’t competed under these rules yet so it will be great experience for him,” Williams said.

Horton was a member of the 2006 U.S. World Championships team but did not advance to the team or individual finals. With his sights set on a return to Worlds in 2007 and a possible berth on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, Horton says he knows the value of this competition.

“It’s really intense knowing that your score is going to count if they put you on the floor,” Horton said. “There are going to be a lot of nerves that I’m going to have to know how to control.

“Competing against the best in the world from Russia and Ukraine will be a great experience. It’s definitely a step towards the Olympics and I’m looking forward to figuring out how to deal with that pressure.”

The other members of the U.S. team include Horton’s 2006 World Championships teammates Alexander Artemev and Kevin Tan. Joseph Hagerty, Tim McNeill and Sean Townsend round out the American squad with David Durante as the alternate.

Horton finished second at the recent U.S. National Qualifier, June 7-9, in Colorado Spring, Colo.

The Houston, Texas, native tied for the top spot on the floor exercise and finished third on the still rings and fourth on both the vault and pommel horse.

In his most recent international competition, the Tyson American Cup on March 3, Horton earned an all-around score of 92.75 to earn his second consecutive Cup title.

He became the first male gymnast to win back-to-back Tyson American Cup titles since the USA’s Blaine Wilson won three straight from 1997-99.

Source: Sooner Sports

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