Horton 'on fire' leads team to medal podium

Tuesday, August 12th 2008, 5:52 pm
By: News 9

By Matthew Wells, NEWS 9

NORMAN, Okla. -- The U.S. Men's gymnastics team won a Bronze medal Monday night following a performance led by Oklahoma's Jonathan Horton.

The 22-year-old appeared in his first Olympics, but performed like a veteran.

"Jon was on fire as far as the gymnastics he was doing, he had ratcheted things up a notch," said OU Gymnastics head coach Mark Williams.

Williams traveled to Beijing and described Horton's performance as a huge success.

"Jon was in my mind as the best guy we had for the team and was very clutch in many situations throughout this evening," Williams said. "He kept sticking dismounts and doing some of the best gym I have seen him do."

Horton helped the OU Sooners win three NCAA titles in his four years on the team. Williams said he was surprised the former Sooner led the team in four of the six events in Monday night's team competition.

"He was the best he has ever been. I thought he anchored the team well, put them in a great position to medal," Williams said.

Former classmate Rashell Greebon noticed Horton's accomplishments.

"I saw the parallel bars and it's kind of cool because I had a class with him, M.I.S.," Greebon said. "We had to vote for the best Web page and I voted for his."

Horton accumulated 18 All-American honors along with six individual titles during his four years at OU.

"He seems to be the strong factor for the Men's Olympic Gymnast, which is pretty cool since he goes here," Greebon said.

The Americans were not expected to medal, but were able to capture Bronze after solid performances from the team, including Horton.

"The first thing he said to me was ‘We did it, we did it,'" Williams said. "I just saw him have a great time on the floor."

Horton will compete again in the all-around finals on Thursday night and will also compete in the high bar finals August 19.