Dan Hayden has conquered the U.S. Gymnastics Championships and now he's ready for bigger things - the world.
"I feel like I'm a complete gymnast now and I'm ready to take on the world," Hayden said Sunday after winning two events and tying for a third individual title.By "the world," Hayden referred to the Olympic Games in Seoul, and he feels as confident about his chances as anyone.
"There are about 10 guys at Seoul that can win the gold," Hayden said. "It will depends on who does the best at the time."
Hayden won the parallel bars and the still rings and tied for the horizontal bars title in individual championships Sunday at The Summit.
Hayden, who won the men's all-around title Saturday, will join the women's champion, Phoebe Mills, in leading the U.S. team into the Olympic Trials Aug. 4-7 at Salt Lake City.
Mills repeated the same floor routine in Sunday's individual program that helped her win the all-around title on Saturday. The routine, accompanied by the Western song Red River Valley, is the same routine she plans to take all the way to the Olympics.
"I'm just going to concentrate on being 100 per cent from here on out," Mills said. "I just put it in my mind to go out and stick all of my routines."
Hayden shared the gold medal in parallel bars with Kevin Davis of the University of Nebraska. Davis, who finished second to Hayden in the men's all-around competition, and Hayden each had 9.8 scores in parallel bars.
While Mills won the gold in the floor exercise, the highest score in the finals went to teammate Chelle Stack, who had a 9.938 score in the individual competiton.
But she finished third based on her 9.625 score in Saturday's optionals, which was added to her Sunday score for the final total.
Hayden won the rings with a 9.85 performance, beating out Bob Gauthier of Brigham Young, who was second at 19.575.
Hayden, who earned a spot on the men's national team for the sixth straight year, placed fifth in floor exercise.
Mills led a strong contingent from Houston's Karolyi Gym in winning individual titles. Karolyi students won three of the four titles, losing the gold only in the balance beam, won by the University of Oklahoma's Kelly Garrison-Steves with a 9.875 performance.
Kristie Phillips and Mills placed second and third behind Garrison-Steves.
Rhonda Faehn, Houston, who scored a perfect 10 in the optional vault program, won the event with a 9.906 average on two vaults.
"I've got my confidence back now," said Faehn, recovering from a hamstring injury. "I was kind of tentative coming in here but now I'm not concerned about it any more. I can just concentrate on the trials."
Karolyi students finished 1-2-3 in the floor exercise, with Stack placing second behind Mills and Brandy Johnson third, both with 9.9 performances.
Mark Oates, Abilene, Texas, and all-around bronze medalists Charles Lakes, Newhall, Calif., tied for the men's national title in the floor exercise.
Davis, Lithonia, Ga., won the pommel horse with a 9.85 performance and Bill Paul and John Sweeney tied for the vault title.
The top 18 men and top 20 women in Saturday's competition advance to the Olympic Trials. They earned 40 percent of their final score in Houston and the final 60 percent at the Olympic Trials will determine the U.S. Olympic team.
Stack had a near perfect 9.938 score to win the uneven bars, edging out Stacey Gunthorpe, Huntington Beach, Calif.