Former Nittany Lion standout named captain of Olympic Gymnastics Team

July 24, 2008

University Park, Pa. — Penn State assistant coach and former Nittany Lion standout Kevin Tan was named captain of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Men's Gymnastics Team that will compete in Beijing in August. He was selected for the honor by a vote of his teammates on Monday evening at the conclusion of a preparation camp in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"It is definitely an honor to be voted captain," said Tan. "I feel, though, we have a lot of great leaders on the team and we have really gelled well together. I am excited to get to Beijing and to get started."

Tan was named to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team in June following the Olympic Trials in Philadelphia.

At the trials, Tan offered further proof that he is the U.S.'s top rings performer and a force to be reckoned with on the international stage by dominating the competition at the trials. He placed first in the still rings by a wide margin on both days, posting identical world-class scores of 16.550. Tan also competed in the pommel horse, parallel bars, and high bar and will likely do so for the U.S. at the Olympics.

Tan's impressive performance on the still rings at the U.S. Olympic Trials added another achievement to what has already been a highly successful competitive year. In late May, he claimed his third straight still rings crown at the VISA Championships. In April, Tan won a silver medal in the still rings at the 32nd Turnier der Meister Cottbus, Germany, an event that featured a collection of the world's elite competitors from 40 countries. His standout showing at the Turnier der Meister came on the heels of two impressive performances earlier this year. In February, Tan captured his third consecutive and fourth overall rings championship at the Winter Cup Challenge. Later that month, he led a select group of gymnasts from the U.S. Men's Senior National Team to a 361.350-352.600 dual meet victory over Canada in Calgary. With perhaps his best performance in his distinguished international career, Tan won the pommel horse (14.900), the still rings (16.300), and the parallel bars (15.500). He also placed third in the high bar (15.000).

A native of Fremont, Calif., Tan was a six-time All-American at Penn State, winning NCAA titles in the still rings in 2003 and 2004. One of just two Nittany Lions to be honored as an All-Big Ten performer in three consecutive years, he captured three Big Ten rings crowns and a parallel bar title during his brilliant collegiate career. Since joining the Penn State coaching staff full-time in 2006, Tan has helped guide the Nittany Lions to the program's NCAA-record 12th national championship (2007) and second Big Ten championship (2008). In 2007, Tan was honored as the NACGC Assistant Coach of the Year.

Tan is Penn State's first American Olympian since 1976 when Nittany Lions Marshall Avener, Gene Whelan, and Wayne Young represented the U.S. at the games in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In total, including Tan, 17 former Penn State gymnasts have competed in the Olympics representing the United States, Sweden, Great Britain, and Puerto Rico.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009