Brody Malone leads at Olympic gymnastics trials; Shane Wiskus makes major comeback


Brody Malone proved his surprising U.S. Gymnastics Championships victory earlier this month — at the first senior nationals of his career — was far from a fluke, once again leading the rest of the domestic competition halfway through the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials.

With six more clean routines on Saturday, the 21-year-old would have a guaranteed spot on the Olympic team, almost a full point ahead as day one concluded on Thursday night. The cumulative winner when the men’s event ends will lock in a spot on the Olympic team, and so will the runner-up, provided that person finishes top three in at least three events in St. Louis, Missouri.

Malone has an all-around score of 85.25 points.

A 2019 and 2021 NCAA all-around champion for Stanford, he is setting himself up to contribute to the U.S. team final on the most events, having notched the top score on high bar (14.45), tied for first on floor exercise (14.6), and in second on still rings (14.2) and third on parallel bar (14.1).

Just behind Malone, and perhaps the bigger story of the night, was Shane Wiskus with 84.3 points.

Wiskus had the most devastating finish to the 2021 U.S. Championships, and 18 days later he returned to the competition floor for the most redemptive start to the Olympic Trials.

In second place after 11 of 12 events in Fort Worth, Texas, Wiskus ended the event with a shocking high bar routine that included three falls. He dropped to ninth in the all-around.

This time, Wiskus was clean across the board – including the third-highest-scoring high bar routine (13.8) – and had the best night of his career when it mattered most, scoring 84.3 points.

GYMNASTICS TRIALS: Results | TV Schedule | Men’s Preview | Women’s Preview

The recent University of Minnesota grad has never finished higher than fourth in the all-around at U.S. Championships.

“He’s got something going for him,” 1984 Olympic team champion Tim Daggett said of Wiskus on the NBCSN broadcast. “He does not lack confidence, he never has. He shouldn’t because he’s got tremendous ability.”

If all athletes were to repeat their performances on day two, Wiskus would ensure his spot on the four-man Olympic team; he had the highest score on parallel bars (14.5), was third on both vault (14.6) and high bar (13.8).

Yul Moldauer, the 2017 U.S. all-around and two-time U.S. silver medalist, sits third with 83.65 points. He was second on both parallel bars (14.4) and pommel horse (14.1).

Contending for his third Olympic team, Sam Mikulak is fourth with 83.2 points. The six-time national champion tied Malone for the high score on floor and was second-best on high bar (13.85).

Brandon Briones, a rising junior at Stanford and teammate of Malone’s, rounds out the top five with 82.7 points. He was fourth at his first senior nationals in Fort Worth.

The other all-arounders who have been in the Olympic team mix have an uphill climb to remain as such: 2016 Olympic alternate Akash Modi is in sixth (82.55) and no better than tied for fourth on any particular event and three-time World team alternate Allan Bower is right behind him (82.5) but third on pommel horse (14.05)

Colin Van Wicklen, who competed on three events in the 2018 Worlds team final and won four U.S. event medals between the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Championships, was injured during warmups and withdrew before the start of competition.

In addition to the four-person Olympic team, the U.S. men also qualified one individual spot for Tokyo. That spot will likely be filled by an event specialist, and several remain in the running.

After missing the U.S. Championships while he was in Rio — being an alternate for the team at Pan American Championships — 2016 Olympic alternate Donnell Whittenburg added his name to the conversation, landing the highest score on vault (15.05) by 0.35 points. He hasn’t had this strong of a showing since winning vault and placing third in the all-around at the 2017 U.S. Championships; Whittenburg earned the bronze medal on vault at the 2015 World Championships. Fourteenth in the all-around, Whittenburg also had the third-highest score on rings (14.1).

Pommel horse has long been the U.S. men’s weakest event, but two powerhouses have emerged in the last couple years as favorites to go to Tokyo: Stephen Nedoroscik and Alec Yoder.

Nedoroscik won the U.S. title on the event in Fort Worth — outscoring Yoder both days — but came off the horse at Trials for a one-point deduction. His 13.65 points (fifth best) may have made things clearer for the selection committee.

“I tried my hardest,” Nedoroscik said to the camera. “I got lost in the moment, type of thing… I have to be happy with what I did and I’m happy to be here. … There’s always Saturday, so stay tuned.”

Yoder lived up to the pressure a few rotations later, scoring 15.05 points — higher than either of his scores from nationals — and was nearly a full point ahead of Moldauer, who was second.

“It didn’t impact me,” Yoder told NBC reporter Andrea Joyce of Nedoroscik’s fall. “In gymnastics, you never want that to happen for anybody.”

“All the hard work is paying off,” he continued about his own performance, “so such a great feeling. … I just have to keep swinging. I know what I can do on this event and I want to prove it.”

Yoder also competes on parallel bars and was tied for eighth there with a score of 13.9.

Alex Diab and Gage Dyer are the remaining specialists in contention. Diab had the highest rings score (14.5), which was just 0.3 points ahead of second-place Malone, and Dyer, who was second on floor and third on vault at nationals, tied for fifth on both of his events this time.

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French Open: Sloane Stephens takes out seed Karolina Pliskova

Sloane Stephens

PARIS — Back on her “favorite court in the world,” Sloane Stephens looked sharp in her opening match at the French Open with a 6-0, 6-4 win over two-time major finalist Karolina Pliskova.

While Stephens’ only Grand Slam title came at the 2017 U.S. Open, she’s also had sustained success at Roland Garros, finishing as a runner-up to Simona Halep in 2018 and reaching two quarterfinals on the red clay in Paris — including last year.

“This is my favorite court in the world, so I’m super happy to be back,” Stephens told the crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier. “To start a Slam on your favorite court, your favorite surface, is always incredible.”

She helped American women go 4-0 through the first few hours of play on Day 2 of the tournament after a 1-4 start on Sunday, when the only U.S. victory came in a match between two players from the country: Jessica Pegula beat Danielle Collins.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Madison Keys, the runner-up to Stephens in New York six years ago and a semifinalist at Roland Garros in 2018, beat Kaia Kanepi 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 on Monday to improve her career record in the first round of majors to 35-5.

Keys next plays American qualifier Kayla Day, who eliminated French wild-card entry Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 6-1.

Also, Croatian-born American Bernarda Pera beat former No. 2-ranked Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (6), 6-2.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a finalist in Paris in 2021, breezed past Czech teenager Linda Fruhvirtova 6-2, 6-2; and 22nd-seeded Donna Vekic beat qualifier Dayana Yastremska 6-2, 7-5.

Stephens was down a break in the second set against Pliskova but then won three straight games to close it out.

Stephens had a 19-16 edge in winners and committed only 10 unforced errors to 31 by Pliskova, who lost in the finals of the U.S. Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2021.

“This court is a bit tricky. You have to play on it a lot to understand when the wind is blowing and where it’s coming,” Stephens said. “The more you play on it, the more you understand it. But it’s a very complicated court. But that’s what makes it so amazing.”

Stephens won a small clay-court tournament in Saint Malo, France, at the start of the month and also reached the semifinals of the Morocco Open last week after only playing a total of three matches at bigger clay events in Madrid and Rome.

“Last year, my clay season wasn’t great, but I played amazing at Roland Garros last year,” Stephens said, “and this year, I really wanted to get matches and play a lot and to see where that got me.”

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Canada wins men’s hockey world title; Latvia wins first medal

IIHF Hockey World Championship

TAMPERE, Finland — Samuel Blais scored two goals to rally Canada to a 5-2 victory over Germany in the final of the world men’s hockey championship on Sunday.

It’s a record 28th world title for Canada, and its second in three years. Russia has 27 while Germany has never won the trophy.

Blais netted with a backhand 4:51 into the final period for a 3-2 lead for Canada, which was playing in its fourth straight final.

“It feels really good,” Blais said. “We’ve been in Europe for a month and we’ve all waited for that moment to play for the gold medal game. And we’re lucky enough to have won it.”

Lawson Crouse, Tyler Toffoli and Scott Laughton also scored for Canada, Peyton Krebs had two assists and goaltender Samuel Montembeault stopped 21 shots.

Toffoli stretched the lead to 4-2 from the left circle with 8:09 remaining and Laughton made it 5-2 with an empty net goal.

Adam Fantilli became only the second Canadian player after Jonathan Toews to win gold at the world juniors and world championship the same year.

Canada had to come back twice in the final.

John Peterka wristed a shot past Montembeault from the left circle 7:44 into the game. It was the sixth goal for the Buffalo Sabres forward at the tournament.

Blais was fed by Krebs to beat goaltender Mathias Niederberger and tie it 1-1 at 10:47.

Daniel Fischbuch put the Germans ahead again with a one-timer with 6:13 to go in the middle period.

Crouse equalized on a power play with 2:32 remaining in the frame.

It was the first medal for Germany since 1953 when it was second behind Sweden.

The two previously met just once in the final with Canada winning 6-1 in 1930.


Defenseman Kristian Rubins scored his second goal 1:22 into overtime to lead Latvia to a 4-3 victory over the United States and earn a bronze medal earlier Sunday.

It’s the first top-three finish for Latvia at the tournament. Its previous best was a seventh place it managed three times.

The U.S. lost in the bronze medal game for the second straight year. The U.S. team was cruising through the tournament with eight straight wins until it was defeated by Germany in the semifinal 4-3 in overtime.

Rubins rallied Latvia with his first with 5:39 to go in the final period to tie the game at 3 to force overtime.

Roberts Bukarts and Janis Jaks also scored for Latvia.

Rocco Grimaldi scored twice for the U.S. in the opening period to negate Latvia’s 1-0 and 2-1 leads.

Matt Coronato had put the U.S. 3-2 ahead 6:19 into the final period.

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