TAMPA — Even though Brody Malone set a new record for his first night of competition at the U.S. Championships in men’s gymnastics, he was not satisfied with his performance.
Even though he was frustrated with his first routine on the still rings, Malone scored 88.942 on Thursday, the first of two nights of competition. On the final day before the U.S. men’s national champion is crowned, he has a 3.462-point lead over Asher Hong. This is the largest one-day lead in U.S. history.
The 22-year-old Stanford star Malone should easily defend her U.S. all-around crown.
Although he had a good day on Thursday, he does not think he will be able to medal in the all-around at the world championships in a little over three months. He gained about two points in total by trying his hand at some challenging skills. In international play, the bonus system is not in effect.
To be competitive internationally, Malone believes he needs a score of “around that” (88.942) without bonuses. Thus, “we have a lot of work to do.”
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In his first year competing at the senior nationals, Malone won, dethroning six-time defending U.S. all-around champion Sam Mikulak.
Malone, a former rodeo competitor and frog gigger from a four-square-mile hometown in Georgia, missed out on a high bar medal by one place and finished tenth in the all-around at the Tokyo Olympics.
The United States men’s Olympic team placed fifth overall, and for the first time since 2000, the United States men failed to win any medals in any Olympic event.
The United States men have unified their efforts to improve their starting values by completing increasingly challenging routines. With Mikulak’s retirement, the shy Malone is thrust into a leadership role.
He later admitted that he had considered taking charge of USA Gymnastics. No, I’m not the only one. Likewise, [Olympic teammates] Yul Moldauer and Shane Wiskus. Guide us as we begin to increase the level of difficulty in our pursuit of an Olympic medal.
To be on par with global powers like China, Japan, and Russia by the time of the 2024 Paris Games, if not sooner (which is banned indefinitely from international competition due to the war in Ukraine).
Bonus points, sometimes worth more than a full point per routine, are given to the men as an incentive to throw more difficult skills at nationals. Since last season, Malone upgraded rings, parallel bars and pommel horse, plus put in new floor exercise passes. A medalist on the high bar and one of the top five gymnasts in the world is one of his 2024 goals.
The winner of the all-around competition on Saturday will be one of five gymnasts selected to compete in the upcoming world championships in Liverpool, Great Britain. A selection camp in the month of October will determine the final roster. Without defending champion Russia, the United States has a legitimate shot at the medal podium. In 2014, the United States men’s national team last won a medal at the Olympics or World Championships.
Hong, an 18-year-old in his senior nationals debut, boosted his chances Thursday with the top scores on floor and vault. Donnell Whittenburg, a 2016 Olympic alternate who turned 28 on Thursday, was third for his best single-day finish in a U.S. all-around since 2017.
Both Wiskus and Moldauer placed in the bottom five.
Women’s competition at the nationals begins on Friday, the first of two nights of action.
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Brody Malone leads U.S. Gymnastics Championships by record margin originally appeared on NBCSports.com
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