Price, Mikulak win American Cup all-around titles
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) American gymnast Elizabeth Price has been dealing with injuries off and on since the 2012 Olympics.
Now that she's healthy, Price is showing why she could be a contender at the 2014 World Championships. Price dominated the field to win the women's all-around title Saturday at the American Cup, the only major international gymnastics competition held in the United States.
''USA Gymnastics knew what I was capable of,'' said Price, an alternate on the team that earned the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. ''This was just me coming back and saying `I'm still here and I'm still as good.'''
Price scored 15 points or better in two of four events, including a 15.7 on the vault. She was the top scorer in three events and finished with a total score of 59.966 points, ahead of American Brenna Dowell (57.532). Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland was third.
Defending national and NCAA champion Sam Mikulak won the men's all-around title after a mistake by Japan's Shogo Nonomura in the final event at the Greensboro Coliseum flipped the standings.
Mikulak finished with a total score of 90.098 points to 88.965 for Nonomura, whose last World Cup title came in 2011 at Stuttgart, Germany.
Daniel Purvis of Great Britain was third at 88.899, and moved to the top the overall World Cup standings ahead of Andrew Likhovitskiy of Belarus by 25 points.
''I don't always like winning by someone else falling, but I'll take my victories and be happy I came out on top,'' said the 21-year-old Mikulak, who finished sixth at last year's world championships.
The 17-year-old Price won her second World Cup title this season, her fourth overall, and clinched a share of the overall World Cup championship with her performance.
In the overall World Cup standings, Price holds a 35-point lead over Italy's Vanessa Ferrari with one event remaining on April 15 in Tokyo.
''I was able to hit all four pretty strong routines,'' said Price, who was invited to the American Cup after 2012 Olympic medalist Kyla Ross withdrew because of an injured knee. ''I knew I was in first, because they tell us after every rotation. But I had no idea of what the range was.
''But it's pretty cool. No matter what happens at the next World Cup event, I'll definitely have a medal.''
Mikulak, competing in his first World Cup event, had two scores of 15 points or higher, including a 15.666 in the floor exercise. But Nonomura, whose last World Cup title came in 2011 at Stuttgart, Germany, posted three 15s in the first five events. He held a 0.234-point lead heading into the high bar.
However, after Mikulak had posted a 14.9 on his routine, Nonomura lost his grip on the bar. He finished the event with a 13.533, helping Mikulak move into the lead.
''I regret making that mistake,'' Nonomura said through a translator. ''I hit everything, but not as strong as I usually do.''
Mikulak, who was watching the final routines, said he knows just how Nonomura felt after the fall.
''I feel especially bad for him,'' Mikulak said. ''Last year at worlds, I was up there in the all-around rankings and could have been second if I had hit my high bar set. But I made a mistake and fell.
''I was rooting for him. If I was going to beat him, I wanted to beat him at his best and respectfully take the second if it came my way. But it came out with me on top. Now, I've got to get back to the gym and train so that it doesn't happen to be such a nail-biter the next time.''