Brody Malone leads Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships in return from injury

Brody Malone returned from major injury and went right back to the top of U.S. men's gymnastics as he bids for a second Olympics.

Malone, the 2021 and 2022 national champion, leads after the first of two nights of the Xfinity U.S. Championships.

In his first all-around competition in nearly 19 months, Malone had no major errors, stuck his closing high bar landing and tallied 85.95 points.

XFINITY U.S. CHAMPIONSHIPS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

He leads by 1.6 points over 2023 World bronze medalist Frederick Richard going into Saturday's final night of competition in Fort Worth, Texas.

The five-man Paris Olympic team will be decided based largely on results this week and at the Olympic Trials from June 27-30 in Minneapolis.

At trials, the all-around winner makes the team if he is also among the top three on three of the six apparatus. A committee picks the rest of the roster.

On March 18, 2023, Malone suffered a right tibial plateau fracture, meniscus tear, a partially torn PCL and a fully torn LCL in a high bar dismount fall.

He underwent three surgeries, was bedridden for a month and said he essentially had to relearn how to walk.

Malone, 24, returned to competition in January. On Thursday, he performed in the all-around (all six apparatus) for the first time since placing fourth at the 2022 World Championships.

Richard, who last year became the youngest U.S. man to win an individual world medal at 19, hit his foot on the pommel horse in his opening routine Thursday. He climbed back, recording the second-best score on floor exercise and high bar.

Richard is followed in the all-around standings by Donnell Whittenburg and Colt Walker, who like Richard are trying to make their first Olympic team.

Asher Hong, who last year at age 19 became the youngest U.S. men's all-around champion since 1989, is in 10th place. He had significant errors on floor and pommel horse.

Nationals continue Friday with the first of two days of women's competition, live on Peacock from 8-10 p.m. ET.

Brody Malone
Brody Malone