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The United States has a new men’s all-around gymnastics champion – and Olympic team favorite – and it is rising college senior and rodeo competitor Brody Malone.
The 21-year-old held on to his first-day lead through all six rotations Saturday night to win with a total score of 170.7 points, a 2.75-point margin over of 2017 U.S. champion Yul Moldauer at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships. Shane Wiskus was second entering the final rotation, but two falls on high bar landed him in ninth.
Malone, the two-time reigning NCAA all-around champion for Stanford, fell off parallel bars in his first event of the night after his right arm buckled but was otherwise clean at his first senior-level national championships.
“It started rough with parallel bars, but that was the kick I needed to get my mind back on track,” Malone told Andrea Joyce on NBCSN.
While a relative newcomer to the Olympic conversation shined in Fort Worth, Texas, Olympic veteran Sam Mikulak had a rocky competition at what he said would be the final nationals of his career.
The two-time Olympian and six-time U.S. champion was seventh entering the night, but worked his way up to the final spot on the podium, which he secured after ending his night with a high-flying high bar routine and stuck landing that scored 14.85 for the event title as well.
This was the first time Mikulak competed all six events at nationals and did not walk away with the win since his first senior nationals in 2012. He ends his U.S. championships career with six all-around titles and two bronze medals.
Malone already had a unique feat in common with both Moldauer and Mikulak in that they are the only three men to win the NCAA all-around title as a freshman. All three are now U.S. all-around champions as well and hold every U.S. title dating back to 2013.
“I really can’t see an Olympic team without him on it,” 2008 Olympic champion and NBC analyst Nastia Liukin commented of Malone on NBCSN.
2018 Youth Olympic medalist Brandon Briones (167.15), two-time world team alternate Allan Bower (166.15) and 2016 Olympic alternate Akash Modi (165.5) round out the top six, all of whom qualify for Olympic Trials, along with others who will be named later.
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Brody Malone wins gymnastics national title, stakes claim as Olympic team favorite originally appeared on NBCSports.com