Morgan Hurd returned from missing the 2019 World Championships to win the American Cup. She will like this history: Every female gymnast to win the American Cup in an Olympic year went on to make the Olympic team.
Sam Mikulak, a two-time U.S. Olympian and six-time national all-around champion, won the men’s competition.
Hurd, the 2017 World all-around champion during Simone Biles‘ break, totaled 55.832 points to prevail by seven tenths over fellow American Kayla DiCello in Milwaukee. The one-day competition lacked Biles and the other all-around medalists from worlds in October.
Hurd had no falls across four routines and few significant errors. The last time a non-U.S. woman won the American Cup was in 2001. Full results are here.
“The message I guess I’m sending myself and the world is just, it’s not over until it’s over,” she told Andrea Joyce on NBC. “I feel at my greatest I’ve ever been.”
In the last 18 months, Hurd went from the best U.S. gymnast outside Biles to being left off the 2019 World team of six. She was fourth at the 2019 U.S. Championships and ninth at a later world team selection camp.
Hurd previously won the American Cup, the U.S.’ most prestigious annual international meet, in 2018. Other winners in Olympic years included Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, Carly Patterson, Nastia Liukin and Gabby Douglas.
“This was a watershed for [Hurd],” said Tom Forster, the U.S. national women’s team coordinator. “This was her opportunity to state who she is as an athlete, not to be ignored. I think she felt ignored for not making the world team.
“You never know how the athletes are going to handle that. Some get really sad and it kind of crumbles their self-confidence. Others get mad and do something about it. That’s what you hope for, and that’s exactly what she did. She made a statement.”
DiCello, a Maryland high school sophomore, was similarly clean to Hurd in her senior debut. DiCello won last year’s U.S. junior title, making her an Olympic team contender. At least one woman who turned 16 or younger in the Olympic year made the last 10 Olympic teams. DiCello, by being selected for American Cup, became likeliest to extend that streak.
The U.S. Olympic team of four, plus two gymnasts in individual events only, will be named after June’s Olympic Trials. Jade Carey has all but wrapped up one of the individual spots.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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