BOSTON — Sam Mikulak’s feet hit the mat and a guttural scream soon followed. Winning national championships never gets old for the best American gymnast of his generation. Yet the title the 25-year-old captured Saturday felt different.
Eighteen months ago an Achilles injury threatened to derail the two-time Olympian’s career. Back issues that popped up last week left him wary. A shaky performance during the opening round on Thursday fueled his angst, or at least close as the relentlessly optimistic Mikulak gets to angst.
But Mikulak finished with the top scores on floor exercise, high bar and parallel bars while posting a two-day total of 172.