Two days after the U.S. Men’s Gymnastics team had a disappointing finish in the all-around team final, Sam Mikulak looks to medal in the men’s all-around individual final.
Mikulak made his first Olympic appearance in the 2012 London Olympics as a youthful 19-year-old. Since then, he has grown into a top medal contender in several events, with a personality that continues to make him a fan favorite.
Here is a look at Mikulak’s parents, and family life.
1. Both of His Parents Are Former Gymnasts
Mikulak got his start in gymnastics at a young age. His mom took him to Mommy & Me gymnastics classes when he was only two years old. Both of Mikulak’s parents, Stephen and Tina were gymnasts and met while competing in the sport for the University of California, Berkeley.
According to NBC, Mikulak has joked that his parents were attempting to “create some super baby for gymnastics,” when they had him.
He has seen footage of his father competing, but not his mother, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I don’t know if they had video of her, or maybe she just hasn’t shown me,” he told the paper. “He [Stephen] was competing at Cal and I could see so much of myself in him. I think that was the cool part.
“We look a lot alike … as far as that point of his life and the point I’m in right now. It was inspiring. My family has grown up around this sport and it’s definitely molded me into the person I am today. It’s in my blood.”
In his childhood, Mikulak took a stab at nearly every sport including including baseball, soccer, hockey and basketball. However, gymnastics is what piqued his interest the most.
Mikulak is now considered the United States’ strongest and most consistent male gymnasts. He has earned four consecutive all-around national championship titles from 2013 to 2016.
2. His Dad, Stephen Is an Orthopedic Surgeon
Mikulak’s father Stephen is an orthopedic surgeon.
The 23-year-old gymnast told NBC that his dad has helped him throughout his career:
With my dad being an orthopedic surgeon he helped me quite a bit throughout my gymnastics career when it came to injuries that I sustained. He also would flip me around when I was a little kid and I credit my amazing air awareness to him for starting me off at such a young age.
3. His Mom, Tina Is a Gym Coach
Tina Mikulak is currently a gym coach at Scats Huntington Beach, which is where she and her son both learned gymnastics.
Mikulak told NBC that although his parents split, they are still a close family.
“My parents split but they still have a good relationship and made it very easy for my sister and I to make the transition,” he said to NBC.
4. His Whole Family Is in Rio to Watch Him Compete
Mikulak will have a large group of supporters cheering him on in Rio, according to NBC.
When asked who would be in attendance to support him at the games, he told NBC:
My Mom, Dad, Stepmom, Sister, Aunt, and Uncle. Also my high school friend base and a couple of their families. You can always spot them because they’ll have Team Sam tank tops to represent our Cali- vibes.
5. Mikulak Has Said He Hopes His Own Children Will Follow in His Footsteps
Mikulak has said that when he has his own children, he plans to enroll them in gymnastics lessons.
He told People:
I definitely want to put my kids in gymnastics at an early age, whether that’s what they want to or not. Gymnastics just builds such a great fundamental strength at a young age, and they get great, they learn how to move with their body. I think that can translate to any sport later in life.