Brody Malone wins gymnastics national title, stakes claim as Olympic team favorite

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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 former rodeo competitor Brody Malone.

The 21-year-old held on to his first-day lead at every turn Saturday night to win with a total score of 170.7 points, a 2.75-point margin over 2017 U.S. champion Yul Moldauer at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships. 2019 World team member and this year’s NCAA silver medalist Shane Wiskus was second entering the final rotation, but two falls on high bar landed him in ninth.

The two-time reigning NCAA all-around champion for Stanford, Malone 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.

Malone won the junior national title in 2017, the last time he competed on this stage. He missed the event in 2018, when he moved from his small town in Georgia to California for college, and 2019, when he competed at the Pan American Games. In Lima, Peru, he helped the team earn silver and was fourth on pommel horse and fifth in the all-around and parallel bars.

He grew up hunting, fishing, frog gigging (hunting frogs) and competing in team roping with his younger brother Cooper at rodeos. To this day, Malone says he draws on the competitive mentality he used in rodeo when it comes to gymnastics.

Malone also had the highest vault score and was second on both still rings and high bar.

“I really can’t see an Olympic team without him on it,” 2008 Olympic champion and NBC analyst Nastia Liukin said of Malone.

GYMNASTICS NATIONALS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

While a relative newcomer to the Olympic conversation shined in Fort Worth, Texas, Olympic veteran Sam Mikulak had a roller-coaster of a competition at the ninth and final senior nationals of his career as he plans to retire this summer.

The 28-year-old struggled this week, falling once each night, as he suffers both from a bone chip floating in his right elbow and a wrist injury. This was the first time Mikulak competed all six events at U.S. championships and did not walk away with the win since his debut senior nationals in 2012.

Mikulak, a two-time Olympian and two-time world medalist, was seventh on day 1, but working with a sport psychologist between competitions helped him return to a mindset of performing for and interacting with the crowd, as opposed to living in the pressure.

Fifth going into the last rotation, Mikulak found his way to the final spot on the podium after ending his night with a high-flying high bar routine and stuck landing that scored 14.85 points (two-night score of 29.6) for the event title as well.

“I felt the passion again,” he said of high bar. “Coming down to a pressure situation, I knew it was going to be a good test for me. To pass the test and get an A+, I remembered why competing is so fun because of those moments when you get a chance to surpass your ability and accomplishments and just be proud of yourself for doing something incredible. I think that was something I really needed to end this competition. … That’s the happiest third-place finish I’ll ever have.”

Mikulak ends his career with six wins and two bronze medals in the all-around at U.S. championships, plus 13 event titles ranging across five apparatuses.

After 100 routines at senior nationals, he also goes out on a high note, having earned the highest all-around score of the day with 84.95 points on Saturday.

“I’m ready for my next adventure,” Mikulak said of knowing he would be finished with gymnastics after Tokyo, whether or not he makes the team.

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 freshmen. After sharing the podium in Fort Worth, all three are now U.S. all-around champions as well and hold every title dating back to 2013.

“Hands down, that kid is the future,” Mikulak said on passing the torch to Malone. “I’m just this old guy trying to keep up with him now. I’m just glad there’s someone to fill my shoes when I’m gone and overstep me right now. For right now, my goal is just to make the team. I know I’m not at my best and I’m trying to keep up with him. … I want to see all the best for that kid, and with him the future’s going to be bright for gymnastics.”

Moldauer, now a two-time all-around runner-up and this week’s parallel bars victor, agreed, saying that Malone’s win will help push the entire national team and also displayed the depth of the U.S. men’s program.

Brandon Briones, a 2018 Youth Olympic medalist and Stanford teammate of Malone’s, was just 0.25 points behind Mikulak in fourth.

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 to be named later.

The men’s competition at Olympic Trials will be held June 24 and 26 in St. Louis, Missouri, after which five athletes will be selected. Four of them will compete in the team event, while one will enter Tokyo solely as an individual thanks to the additional quota Paul Juda secured for his country on Friday at the Pan American Championships.

It is expected that the individual spot will be filled by an event specialist, and there are currently a handful of contenders including this week’s floor exercise national champion Eddie Penev, who also tied for second on vault, pommel horse winner Stephen Nedoroscik and rings champion Alex Diab. 2018 U.S. pommel horse champion Alec Yoder, who was second to Nedoroscik, and Gage Dyer, second to Penev on floor and tied for second with him on vault, are also in the mix.

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Eliud Kipchoge breaks marathon world record in Berlin

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge broke his own world record in winning the Berlin Marathon, clocking 2:01:09 to lower the previous record time of 2:01:39 he set in the German capital in 2018.

Kipchoge, 37 and a two-time Olympic champion, earned his 15th win in 17 career marathons to bolster his claim as the greatest runner in history over 26.2 miles.

His pacing was not ideal. Kipchoge slowed in the final miles, running 61:18 for the second half after going out in an unprecedented 59:51 for the first 13.1 miles. He still won by 4:49 over Kenyan Mark Korir.

“I was planning to go through it [the halfway mark] 60:50, 60:40,” Kipchoge said. “My legs were running actually very fast. I thought, let me just try to run two hours flat, but all in all, I am happy with the performance.

“We went too fast [in the first half]. It takes energy from the muscles. … There’s still more in my legs [to possibly lower the record again].”

MORE: Berlin Marathon Results

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa won the women’s race in 2:15:37, the third-fastest time in history for somebody who ran one prior marathon in 2:34:01. Only Brigid Kosgei (2:14:14 in Chicago in 2019) and Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25 in London in 2003) have gone faster.

American record holder Keira D’Amato, who entered as the top seed, was sixth in 2:21:48. D’Amato, who went nearly a decade between competitive races after college, owns the American record of 2:19:12 and now also the 10th-best time in U.S. history.

“Today wasn’t my best day ever, but it was the best I could do today,” she said in a text message, according to Race Results Weekly, adding that she briefly stopped and walked late in the race.

The last eight instances the men’s marathon world record has been broken, it has come on the pancake-flat roads of Berlin. It began in 2003, when Kenyan Paul Tergat became the first man to break 2:05.

The world record was 2:02:57 — set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 — until Kipchoge broke it for the first time four years ago.

The following year, Kipchoge became the first person to cover 26.2 miles in under two hours, clocking 1:59:40 in a non-record-eligible showcase rather than a race.

Kipchoge’s focus going forward is trying to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles in Paris in 2024. He also wants to win all six annual World Marathon Majors. He’s checked off four of them, only missing Boston (run in April) and New York City (run every November).

Kipchoge grew up on a farm in Kapsabet in Kenya’s Rift Valley, often hauling by bike several gallons of the family’s milk to sell at the local market. Raised by a nursery school teacher, he ran more than three miles to and from school. He saved for five months to get his first pair of running shoes.

At 18, he upset legends Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele to win the 2003 World 5000m title on the track. He won Olympic 5000m medals (bronze in 2004 and silver in 2008), then moved to the marathon after failing to make the 2012 Olympic team on the track.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final