Mikulak cruises to 6th national title in men's gymnastics

Associated Press

Samuel Mikulak competes on the rings at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships on Saturday in Kansas City, Mo. Mikulak won the men's all-around title.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Samuel Mikulak doesn't show off the stash of medals he's earned from the U.S. men's gymnastics championships through the years. They sit in relatively anonymity in the basement of the place he shares with his girlfriend back in Colorado.

It's not that Mikulak doesn't appreciate what he's accomplished. It's just that two-time Olympian's standard of success is no longer measured by what he does on home soil.

So while Mikulak pumped his fists in joy after clinching his modern era-record sixth national title on Saturday night by topping runner-up Yul Moldauer by a staggering 5.550 points, Mikulak remains equal parts perfectionist and realist.

Yes, he's the most decorated American male gymnast of his generation. He's also aware that his generation might not be as deep as the ones that came before.

"I guess it is just a weird place for the U.S. right now," Mikulak said. "You could probably make the argument that maybe this is the easiest time period for USA Gymnastics for a guy like me and so it doesn't quite hold as much to it right now."

After picking up his first individual world championship medal by grabbing bronze on high bar last October, the lack of any Olympic hardware is the lone hole left on his otherwise stuffed resume. And he knows it.

"I see the Russians and the Chinese and the Japanese and all the big skills they're throwing and I'm just trying to live up to those expectations," Mikulak said.

He remains adamant that he believes his best years are ahead of him. It certainly looks like a possibility after he captured gold in high bar, parallel bars, pommel horse and floor exercise and completed 12 routines over the course of two days without a fall. His overall total of 174.150 also created the largest winning margin of his six national championships.

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