Kevin Tan to represent United States at 2008 Olympic Games

June 23, 2008

University Park, Pa. — Four years of hard work and dedication paid off and a lifelong dream was realized on Sunday when Penn State men's gymnastics assistant coach and former Nittany Lion standout Kevin Tan was named to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team. The announcement comes a day after the conclusion of the U.S. Olympic Trials at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.

"It still hasn't quite sunk in yet," said Tan. "I am really excited about the future and the future of this team. I think the team is really strong and ready to make its mark in Beijing."

"In spite of some rough spots this weekend, I think Kevin showed his qualifications and his history demonstrates that he is a steady competitor, which paved his way to being named to the team," said Penn State head coach Randy Jepson, who will accompany Tan to the games as part the U.S. coaching staff. "I think we have a great team that will contend for a medal. I am glad we could be a part of it."

As he did at last month's VISA Championships, 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.

Other gymnasts named to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team include Joey Hagerty, twin brothers and 2004 Olympians Paul Hamm and Morgan Hamm, former Oklahoma Sooner and NCAA all-around champion Jonathan Horton, and former Illinois standout Justin Spring. Alternates are Raj Bhavsar (Ohio State), Alexander "Sasha" Artemev, and David Durante (Stanford). The 2008 Summer Olympic Games are scheduled for Aug. 8-24 in Beijing.

Tan's impressive performance on the still rings at the U.S. Olympic Trials adds 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.

  • Kevin Tan, former student-athlete and current assistant men's gymnastics coach, is headed to the Olympics. For more photos, click on the image above.

    IMAGE: Ann Williams

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010