The Wolverine

August 2014

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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BY JOHN BORTON G reat athletes pervade the Michigan campus, from The Big House to Crisler Center, Yost Ice Arena and on down to the southernmost out- posts along State Street. Sam Mikulak takes a back seat to none of them. The three-time NCAA all-around champion and 17-time All-American isn't just big on Michigan's campus. He's gone international, having per- formed in the London Olympics in 2012, and he is gearing up for 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. He's also the choice of The Wolver- ine for Michigan's Male Athlete of the Year. Michigan men's gymnastics head coach Kurt Golder puts him among the most luminous names ever to don the maize and blue. He's been that good, for a coach who has over- seen four national championships by the Wolverines. "It's him, Charles Woodson, Ron Kramer, Don Lund … he's definitely up in that group," Golder noted. Mikulak certainly did nothing to hurt his legacy in his final competi- tive season for the Wolverines. He earned the Nissen-Emery Award as the top male collegiate gymnast in the nation. He added a pair of national titles (all-around, paral- lel bars) to an impressive list of achievements. The senior out of Corona del Mar, Calif., already owned the highest all- around score (93.70) in NCAA his- tory and the best parallel bars effort (16.10) recorded in NCAA competi- tion. Those sorts of notches on the belt don't require a whole lot of ver- bal backup, and Golder insists Miku- lak isn't much on self-promotion. "He's very naturally talented, in many ways," Golder said. "He's a very calm competitor. He's confi- dent. He trusts himself. But his best component is his demeanor. He's a humble and friendly guy, and treats everyone like they should be treated. "I can't say enough good things about his character. He's phenom- enal in that respect, and it's very fit- ting that his athletic ability just goes right along with it." For his part, Mikulak loved every minute of it. His return to Michigan for two straight national titles after competing in the Olympics repre- MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR SAM MIKULAK TOP OF HIS GAME Sam Mikulak Is In A Class By Himself Among U-M Athletes

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