The road to Rio begins in Oklahoma for Jake Dalton
NORMAN, Okla. (KOKH) —
The road to Rio is beginning here in the Sooner state.
An OU Gymnastic coach and three former OU athletes just got back from training in Colorado Springs and they are now getting ready to head to Rio for the Summer Olympics.
Even with all the success this team has had, they had a little bit of a set back in training. One of the athletes, John Roscoe tore his ACL and Danell Levya is now stepping in.
One of the five finalists for the U.S. men's gymnastics team, Jake Dalton says the road to Rio wasn't his initial path.
"My baseball coach told me it would be good for my pitching arm, so I used to be a baseball player and my mom was hoping I'd be a good baseball player, but i turned to gymnastics," said Olympic athlete, Jake Dalton.
It's Dalton's second time competing in the Olympics. He's in the gym 40 hours a week and in 10 days he's taking off for Rio.
"We're all kind of anxious to get there because we know we're in pretty good shape and we have time to clean some things up that we really wanted to," said Dalton.
Coach Mark Williams isn't new to the Olympic games, but this is the first year he's head coach for the Olympic team and he could not be more excited.
"I'm excited about the whole experience. Each game and different path of the world has it's challenges, and you just focus on what you're there to do and get it done," said Williams.
As athletes around the world continue to get ready for the Summer games, some are concerned for their health due to the Zika Virus. Some athletes have opted out of competing all together, but Dalton says that's not an option.
"My wife and family are going so I'll probably get tested to make sure when we get back, but like I said for us this is the biggest stage and I think I'll take pretty much any risk to compete at the Olympic games," said Dalton.
Dalton also says the support around the state, as well as around the country has been overwhelming. An Air Force veteran gave him a special gift and Dalton says he plans to take it with him to help him get the gold.
"I did receive a pretty special gift from an Air Force Veteran. He gave me a flag that he had in Iraq and I'll probably take that with me to have as a good luck charm," said Dalton.
The team leaves in just ten days and the Summer Olympics starts on August 5th.