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OU gymnast rides momentum to spot on U.S. Olympic team



Jonathan Horton has a trophy case stuffed full of medals and a résumé highlighted with countless honors and accomplishments. He's been part of three national championship teams, won six individual national titles, earned All-America honors 18 times and was named the 2008 Nissen-Emery Award recipient, which is given annually to the nation's best male collegiate gymnast.

But what Horton did over the weekend may just be his biggest achievement yet.

The former University of Oklahoma standout took all of the momentum and experience he established during the whole of his NCAA career and parlayed them into a performance that helped earn him a spot on the United States Olympic team, set to compete at the 2008 summer games in Beijing.

Horton solidified his opportunity to compete for Team USA later this summer by impressing the selection committee with the best overall individual score and performance at the Olympic trials this past Saturday in Philadelphia. The Houston native posted the second-best scores on the vault, still rings, floor exercise and parallel bars.

The committee named Horton and world champion Paul Hamm to the U.S. team late Saturday night and announced the final selections for the six-man squad on Sunday, including Joe Hagerty, Morgan Hamm, Justin Spring and Kevin Tan.

Horton is the first OU gymnast to make the U.S. Olympic Team since Bart Conner last accomplished the feat 24 years ago. Conner was part of three Olympic teams from 1976 to 84, winning individual gold on the parallel bars and a team gold medal in '84. "Jay C. Upchurch



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