Know yOUr Sooner Olympians – Jonathan Horton

Posted on July 25, 2012

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Jonathan Horton is probably the most world widely known of our Sooner Olympians as he competed in Beijing in 2008.  Jonathan came away with a couple of medals from Beijing, with an individual Silver medal on the horizontal/high bar (It should have being Gold, it was a better performance but when in China against the Chinese…) and the team Bronze medal. He was a huge part of that medal winning team as he took part in 5/6 apparatus (not pommel) and lead the team with high scores on floor, rings, vault and high bar. He is the only member of the current Team USA gymnastic team that has Olympic experience, so others from the team will be drawing on his experience to lead them to glory. Horton is an exciting gymnast to watch and will be key in the team coming together to take medals back home.

Horton’s Olympic High Bar Routine 2008 Olympics

Horton represented the University of Oklahoma from 2005 to 2008, where he won 6 individual NCAA titles and 18 All-American honours. This broke the record set previously by Olympic Gold medallist, Bart Conner, and still stands today as an OU school record. He also has 3 NCAA Team National Titles to his name, won in 05, 06 and 08 whilst also finishing up in 07. Horton set Oklahoma gymnastics alight, thrilling and exciting the fans with his all out high energy and extreme skills he pulls out. He was known as a daredevil, he admitted that “I’m still kind of crazy”. He is also an adrenalin junkie, saying “I just always enjoyed that adrenalin rush.” If the sport was just made for once person, it was Horton.

What does Horton bring to Team U.S.A?

No doubt that Horton brings experience of competing at the Olympics which will be invaluable to the young Team USA. After finishing 3 in the All-Around at the Olympic Trials, he has all the ability and will be expected to contribute everywhere, with the exception of pommel. We are expecting great things from the high bar, with Jonathan hoping to go one better than last time and win that first Olympic Gold. He struggled on the high bar in the Olympic Trials but this is one routine all Sooner fans need to make sure they check out, you will be amazed by the power, precision and air time he gets off the bar. Horton usually leaves people with their jaw on the floor on the high bar, as the Olympic silver medal routine video from 2008 shows. Horton will also be looking to excel in the rings, which he high scored at the Olympic trials, and the parallel bars. Team USA will need Horton to lead from the front and put in another performance of his life. The competition will be strong from China and Japan especially, but Horton can lead this young USA team to medals, both as an individual and as a team.

“People think that China and Japan are probably going to win, but that’s the position we want to be in,” said Horton.  “We want people to kind of doubt us because when you put our scores and what we’re capable of on paper, we’re just as good as those two teams.  It’s going to come down to what team has the better day in the team finals.  And I think that just our heart and our passion, everything’s going to come out on that day, and we’re all going to have great performances.”

Horton also has another motivation for Team USA to do well at the Olympics as men’s gymnastics is a ‘dying sport’, with the sport losing participants on the college and club levels. “If I can be a part of that history making and help our men’s sport grow, people will see that men’s gymnastics is a great sport to be a part of and maybe the collegiate level, which I think is so important, it’s so close to my heart, can grow again.  I’m a true believer that if people just saw something great at the Olympics, saw us win, then it could really just explode gymnastics into a great sport again.”

Horton is widely followed on Twitter with nearly 15,000 followers and you can follow him at @J_Horton11 so go on, give him a follow!

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