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OSU gymnast falls short at Olympic trials

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Junior Sean Melton competes during the 2015 P&G Championships. Courtesy of OSU athletics

Junior Sean Melton competes during the 2015 P&G Championships. Courtesy of OSU athletics

“If you don’t want it, it’s not going to happen.”

This mantra is what junior gymnast Sean Melton lives by. He said it applies to both his team play with the Ohio State Men’s gymnastics team and his personal endeavors to go for gold in Rio.

Melton travelled to St. Louis this weekend for the first step in accomplishing his Olympic dream, to participate in the U.S. Olympic Trials. 18 participants were vying for the coveted spot to represent Team USA and to hopefully earn gold at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.

With only five gymnasts named to the U.S. Olympic team, Melton’s quest for Rio came to an end Sunday when he finished 12th.

Melton was disappointed about his finish.

“Trials didn’t go as well as planned,” Melton said. “I wasn’t able to do all-around either day because I was battling with some shoulder problems throughout the year. It kind of just acted up at the wrong time.”

Even with battling shoulder injuries, Melton managed to finish ninth in rings and tenth in floor exercise.

He feels an Olympic berth is not far away.

“I’m definitely headed in the right direction,” Melton said. “It comes between a couple of tenths to who makes the Olympic team and who doesn’t. I just need to get better on everything.”

His accolades as a member of OSU’s gymnastics team is what got him to participate in the Trials. A six time All-American and five time Big Ten champion, Melton won 2016 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year. The 2015 team captain also led his team to a third place finish at the NCAA Championship in April.

Looking back at his accomplishments this year, Melton said he feels like he has improved immensely.

“I became more of a professional in the sport,” Melton said. “I really just dedicated my life to the sport because I know that is what it takes to get to this level and to make the Olympic team.”

That same dedication is what fuels his leadership ability. Melton made an extra effort to become a more established leader for his college teammates.

“I stopped talking as much and started doing what I thought was right,” Melton said. “They see me having success and they want success also. It made me train harder in the gym just knowing I’m doing it for 20 other guys and not just myself. It really just made me better in all aspects of the sport.”

The team is Melton’s next focus after falling short of Rio.

“I’m going right back to Columbus,” Melton said. “First, I’m going to get fully healthy again. Then I’m right back to training. Start preseason for college and get ready for the NCAA season.”

As for his Olympic dreams, they are still alive and well. Melton now knows exactly what he needs to do to make that leap to Olympic glory.
“I know I want it just as bad as everyone else if not more because now I have a taste of it and didn’t get it,” Melton said. “It’s definitely a huge learning process. I just need to take my gymnastics to another level now.”

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