The USA selection team has carefully picked the athletes that will compete for the USA in the men’s artistic competition in Rio.

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“Our goal is to select the team that has the best chance for a team medal, but also considering all those athletes could be up for individual medals as well,” explained Steve Butcher. “We want to maximize our medal count. “

Steve Butcher works at Premier Athletics in Knoxville, but also assisted in choosing the team representatives for Rio at the men’s gymnastics Olympic Trials.

“You choose your best all-arounder for example and you work your way adding more members of the team according to strengths and weaknesses,” Butcher stated.

The criteria that the Olympic selection committee used to pick Olympic athletes was not only based on the scores the gymnasts acquired at the Olympic trials.

“During the entire competition, all of the selection committee members take their own notes, but we’re also fed a list of different results, results of how the team might be composed based on the score in our trials. So, with those results, we’re starting to formulate our own opinion and then we meet periodically to go over those opinions.”

For this year, the selected athletes to represent the USA in the artistic team competition at the Olympic Games are Sam Mikulak, Alex Naddour, John Orozco, Jake Dalton and Chris Brooks. Naddour and Brooks were alternates at the London Olympic Games.

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“I think if you were an alternate last time, you’re highly motivated to show what you can do and help the team to earn a medal, because we were the number one, the U.S., in the first segment of the competition in 2012, but fell short and come in fifth, meaning we were out of the medals. So, for all of the members of the team, everyone is highly motivated.

“It was very enjoyable, as I said, to see such a high level of gymnastics and the U.S. has a chance for a medal.”

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