Asher Hung takes the lead after the first day of the USA Gymnastics Championships

There was perhaps no clearer sign that a new generation in American men’s gymnastics is ready to take the helm in the USA Gymnastics Championships on Thursday night (August 24, 2023) than the last two men to win the national all-around title – Sam Mikulak And Brody Malone – they were moving the mats and cheering from the stands.

Six-time US champion Mikulak has retired after making his third Olympic appearance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and is now coaching a squad of six gymnasts for the event in San Jose, California.

The 2021 and 2022 US champion Malone is still looking forward to the trip back to the Games in Paris 2024, but he found himself circling the arena in an army green baseball cap, cheering on his Stanford teammates as he recovers from a devastating leg injury sustained earlier in the year. this year.

In his absence, a teenager Asher Hong19, (85,615) ahead of the 2017 winner Yul Moldwer (85,548). Fred RichardAnother 19-year-old (85.469) rounded out the top three.

Hong said afterwards, “Overall, I’m happy with what I did. You know, today is kind of just coming to the set, and getting to know everything.” “Then, you know, on Saturday, I make adjustments here and there… So overall I’m really happy.”

Hong hit a whopping 15.455 vault points early in the competition to pull away, performing a fully twisted Tsukahara double. He opened the door a bit for challengers in the fifth session with his only big mistake of the day when he failed the throw forward double on the floor exercise.

The USA men are using the American Championships to select their team for the upcoming Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, where they will look to earn a team quota for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The men’s competition concludes on Saturday (26 August).

For Moldauer, these are universal experiences

Moldauer, a Tokyo 2020 Olympian, ignited his 2023 campaign with disappointment at missing out on the World Championship squad last year as he served as a substitute.

Friday approach? It’s life or death, and for him, this event isn’t just the US Championship, it’s the world trials.

“At the end of the day, I don’t want to be left out, so I’m going to make sure I put myself in a position to talk about,” Moldauer said afterwards. “I want to make a world class team, that’s my main focus. I call these world trials, not the US Championship.

He finds himself in good stead for a trip to the world event next month in Antwerp, Belgium, after earning top five points in three events: pommel horse (14.229); fixed loops (14.414); parallel bars (15.805).

Missing costume

For Richard, the reigning NCAA champion, his biggest problem of the day came before the competition even started: He forgot to bring his uniform into the arena, something he didn’t realize until near the end of the pre-competition warm-up session.

“I’m the type of person who only wears the uniform for the last event,” Richard explained to afterward. “So, I warmed up for all five events, and I went into event six to put my uniform on, and I didn’t see that. After that, there’s about 20 minutes left in the meet, and that’s when I said, ‘Oh, shoot.'”

Michigan assistant coach Jordan Jarnstrom is sent to Richard’s hotel to retrieve his uniform.

Meanwhile, Richard and his colleague Javier Alfonso hatch a plan: they will stop wearing Alfonso’s costume.

Gaarenstroom arrived just in time as the warm-up ended in a touch for the first event.

“Sometimes athletes just focus on gymnastics, and that’s their job, so these things happen,” Jarnstrom said. “Those things happen and, you know, his performance today has obviously not been affected by that.”

After securing the uniform, Richard put in a strong showing across the six events, highlighted by a 15.105 on the horizontal bar.

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