Tan earns bid to U.S. Olympic Trials with VISA Championships title

May 30, 2008

Houston — Penn State men's gymnastics assistant coach Kevin Tan demonstrated once again that he is among the nation's and world's elite competitors by capturing his third consecutive VISA Championships still rings title on Saturday evening at Reliant Arena in Houston, Tex. As a result of his standout performances over the course of the two-day event, Tan was named to the U.S. Men's Senior Team for the third straight year and automatically qualified for the upcoming U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

After dominating the still rings field on day one of the 2008 VISA Championships (16.650), Tan, competing as a member of Team Chevron, came through with another impressive effort on the final day (16.700) to compile a two-day score of 33.350. That total topped the second place competitor by 1.5 points and was the highest score total posted by any athlete in any event at the VISA Championships.

Tan's success was not limited to the still rings, as he also placed fourth in the parallel bars (30.550) and sixth in the pommel horse (28.950). After struggling in the high bar on the first day of competition, Tan bounced back tonight by finishing in fifth place in the event with a score of 14.750.

Tan was among 10 gymnasts who qualified for the senior men's national team based on the points system and advanced to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which will take place from June 19-22 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. A total of 14 gymnasts will receive invitations to trials. The team that represents the United States at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing will consist of six members and three alternates. Tan is bidding to become Penn State's first American Olympian since 1976 when Marshall Avener, Wayne Young, and Gene Whelan qualified.

Tan's 2008 VISA Championships rings crown adds another achievement to what has already been a highly successful competitive year. In April, he 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 five-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.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009