As the gymnastics competition of the 2004 Summer Olympics raged on last week, one Evans resident knows the pressure of an international meet.
Dan Hayden, co-owner of Hayden's International Gymnastics Academy, has been named to the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Evans resident Dan Hayden is well-versed in international gymnastics competitions. In the mid '80s, Hayden was believed to have a shot at what Paul Hamm just did last week: win the all-around championship in the Olympics.
Although he never made an Olympic team, Hayden recently was named by USA Gymnastics to the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
Hayden competed for the U.S. Junior Olympic team for six years, and with the national team for four more years.
In 1984, Hayden was an Olympic alternate on the U.S. team that won the gold medal in Los Angeles.
Hayden climbed to the No. 2 ranking in the U.S. in 1986 after he, along with twin brother Dennis, led Arizona State to the national championship. Last fall, he was elected to the Sun Devils' Hall of Fame.
Hayden figured that 1988 would be his Olympic performance. He was ranked No. 1 in the United States and was in second place going into the penultimate event at the Olympic Trials. He separated his shoulder during warmups for his parallel bars routine, ending his dream to compete in Seoul, South Korea.
"In one sense, I wanted to be on the floor, but I'm past that," Hayden previously said. "I understand the meaning and purpose behind it all."
Hayden's accomplishments on the national team made his inclusion in the Hall of Fame a no-brainer.
Besides being on two national teams in 1985 and 1987, Hayden was the national all-around champion in 1988. He also won national individual event titles in the still rings (1985, 1986, 1988), parallel bars (1988), and high bar (1985, 1986, 1987).
He was also a two-time All-American at Arizona State.
Hayden now operates Hayden's Gymnastics, with his brother Dennis, on Evans-to-Locks Road in Evans.
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