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Former University of Oklahoma Gymnast Attempts Olympic Comeback After Injury

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Former University of Oklahoma gymnast and silver medalist from the 2008 Olympics, Jonathan Horton tweeted his enthusiasm this evening. "Had my last hard workout today. I leave Monday for the Olympic trials and I feel pumped and ready to go!" said Horton. The Olympic Trials for USA Gymnastics begin June 28 and run through July 1 in San Jose, California. Horton of course wants to bring home the gold in London, but he will first have to make the team.

Horton, who was born in Houston, Texas is not the only member of the current USA National Team to hail from the University of Oklahoma. The Sooners, known better for their dominance on the football field, are actually a major powerhouse in both men's and women's collegiate gymnastics. Horton is joined by fellow Sooners, Chris Brooks, Jake Dalton, Steven Legendre and Alex Naddour.

University of Oklahoma gymnasts make up a full 1/3 of the current National Team. Horton told NBC that his time at the University of Oklahoma changed him as a competitor and taught him how to be a team player. He added that it made him part of a "family for life."

Horton won silver on the high bar event and a bronze team medal in Beijing, and afterward proved himself as a two time U.S. all-around champion. He looked like one of the best hopes for Olympic gold in London before he tore ligaments in his foot last October during the World Championships.

Horton has a great attitude about the injury, though. Although he was getting burned out before the injury, his recovery stoked his passion for the sport once again. Fighting hard to return to the sport he loves, he performed well at the VISA Championships earlier this year.

Horton says his number one goal at this point is team gold in London. He acknowledges that his pommel horse routine is still his weakest event following his injury, but he is training hard on the other events and hoping to continue to improve on the horse.

As an Oklahoman with Sooner roots, I can't help but cheer for Horton as he goes into the Olympic trials this week. Coming back from an injury is never easy, and in gymnastics even the best efforts sometimes fail. I reported earlier about the end of Shawn Johnson's Olympic comeback attempt following the knee injury she sustained while skiing. Hopefully, Horton's dream of Olympic gold will turn out better than Johnson's, and this week's trials are only the beginning.

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Tavia Fuller Armstrong is an Oklahoma resident and a lifelong fan of the Olympic Games with old photos of commemorative childhood haircuts to prove it.
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