Sam Mikulak, Yul Moldauer, Brody Malone highlight U.S. Olympic men’s gymnastics team


Brody Malone went from sitting outside the picture for the U.S. Olympic men’s gymnastics team to being the first to lock in his trip to Tokyo in a matter of weeks.

The 21-year-old won the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials in St. Louis to automatically qualify for the four-person team. He is the youngest member of the five U.S. men’s gymnasts who will compete in Tokyo.

“So much was going through my head,” Malone said of knowing he was going to the Olympics. “I was just thankful for my coaches. I ran up and thanked them for everything they’ve done for me.”

Yul Moldauer also guaranteed his Olympic debut by meeting both requirements of the second spot — second in the all-around and finishing top three on at least three apparatuses.

After the selection committee met to decide the two remaining team members, it was determined Shane Wiskus and Sam Mikulak who were announced and will make up the strongest U.S. team.

Alec Yoder was chosen for the individual spot — new to this year’s Olympic program — and will vie for a pommel horse medal in Japan. He also competes on parallel bars, though was eighth in the nation at both the 2021 U.S. Championships and Olympic Trials.

Mikulak is headed to his third Olympics and will join a list of just 10 other Americans who have competed at three or more Olympic Games. At 28, he is younger than any of the men on that list were at their third Games — even with the one-year Olympic postponement.

Blaine Wilson was the last U.S. gymnast to make three Olympic teams, in 2004, when he won his first and only medal. Mikulak will hope to do the same at what he has promised will be his final Olympic appearance. His best result to date was fourth on high bar in Rio, and he has since won bronze on the event at the 2018 Worlds.

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

Malone won the U.S. junior title in 2017 but had never competed against the nation’s best at the senior level until earlier this month at the 2021 U.S. Championships. He missed the 2018 and 2019 editions, first while moving from his small Georgia hometown to Stanford and then to compete at the Pan American Games.

The rising Stanford senior was a star at the collegiate level, though, winning the NCAA title as a freshman in 2019 and defending his crown in 2021 (both NCAAs and U.S. Championships were not held in 2020 due to the pandemic).

He made headlines at nationals in Fort Worth, Texas, both for his gymnastics excellence and his background. Malone won nationals among a deep field that included six-time U.S. champion Mikulak and 2017 U.S. champ Moldauer. Of note, only Mikulak and Moldauer had won the NCAA men’s championship as freshmen before Malone.

It then became well known that Malone grew up competing in rodeo — team roping with younger brother Cooper, to be exact — and that his hobbies include ‘frog gigging’ (hunting frogs with a long, pronged spear, in his case for the purpose of a frog fry), a term he helped introduce to many.

He remained his calm, cool, collected and unfazed self at Trials, leading from the fifth rotation on Thursday’s Day 1 all the way through to the 12th and final rotation Saturday afternoon. His final score of 171.6 points was 3 ahead of Moldauer (168.6).

“Everything from the past, all my accomplishments, it doesn’t matter anymore,” Malone commented on his massive breakthrough year. “It’s a clean slate at each meet, so I just try to take it one event at a time.”

Malone won high bar with a two-day score of 29.25, and was second on both floor exercise (29.1) and still rings (28.45).

He is expected to contend for an Olympic medal on high bar at that event final in early August.

“That was as perfect as any routine I’ve seen,” NBC commentator and Olympic medalist Tim Daggett said of Malone’s routine, adding that it was “spectacular.”

Now 24, Moldauer first made his name known by winning the 2017 American Cup and 2017 U.S. Championships, when Mikulak was only competing two events, and then going on to earn bronze on floor at the 2017 Worlds.

Moldauer remained one of the top men throughout this Olympic quad, as U.S. all-around runner-up in both 2018 and 2019, and helped the U.S. team to fourth at the past two world championships.

Five years after his first Olympic Trials, where he was no better than fifth on any given event, this time Moldauer won parallel bars with a score of 28.95, was second on pommel horse (28.35) and third on floor (29.05).

The 22-year-old Wiskus, who was second on Thursday and traded spots with Moldauer throughout Saturday, finished third with 168.15 points. He was second on parallel bars (28.85) and third on high bar (27.4).

“I dropped to the floor and hugged my coach,” he said of making the team. “I still really haven’t had time to process it, so generally overwhelmed. I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep tonight; so many things running through my head right now.”

Mikulak was fourth (166.75), but a fall on pommel horse seemed to make his Olympic chances a little dicey.

Still, Malone, Moldauer, Wiskus and Mikulak make up the most competitive team based on their Trials scores.

Mikulak had the highest score on floor (29.3) and second best on high bar (28.6).

“The whole time [we waited to find out the team], pommel horse was on my mind. Was that the one moment that blew it for me?” Mikulak said.

Then he learned his fate.

“I’ve been living in the moment for so long. … All of a sudden that moment came, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I actually did it.’ Everything got emotional.”

At the Olympics, three men will compete on each apparatus in the team final and all three scores will count.

The U.S. men were fifth at the last two Olympics and are seeking their first team medal since 2008. Powerhouses Japan, China and Russia have made up every Olympic and World podium since 2016; Japan and China have been on the last 11.

“This team is very same-goal-oriented,” Moldauer said. “We all know in previous years the U.S. hasn’t done as well, and we’re all hungry. Shane’s a young guy, Brody’s a young guy, and then we have Sam who’s been to a lot of Olympics. …

“The mindset is always trying to get on the podium. That’s a challenge and that’s the challenge I like to take on.”

As for Yoder, the specialist spot appeared to come down to himself, fellow pommel swinger Stephen Nedoroscik and two-time U.S. rings champion Alex Diab.

Reigning national champion and 2020 Melbourne World Cup winner Nedoroscik fell off the horse on Thursday, but on Saturday he outscored Yoder, who had a few minor errors of his own.

“I was really scared,” Yoder laughed of waiting to learn his fate. “I had a really, really good routine Day 1, and I think Day 2 was a little more wobbly. I was pretty nervous. I know Alex Diab had some killer sets, I know Stephen had a good set today, and so in my mind I was just crossing my fingers and trying to ignore all the text messages I was getting asking if I made the team. I feel like there was too much going through my mind, honestly.”

Men’s high performance director Brett McClure, himself a 2004 Olympic team silver medalist, said the decision came down to Yoder or Diab.

“The start values were definitely something that we really looked at moving forward,” McClure explained. “Rings, you need that 6.3, and pommel horse anywhere from a 6.3-6.6.”

Yoder’s pommel horse difficulty was 6.5 on Day 1 and 6.4 Day 2. Diab’s on rings was 6.0 both days.

Yoder, 24, competed at the Youth Olympic Games in 2014, taking bronze in the all-around, but now with his Olympic debut locked up, he’s set a new goal.

“The next goal is an Olympic pommel horse medal,” he proclaimed.

Five traveling replacement athletes were also named.

Brandon BrionesCameron BockAllan Bower and Akash Modi were chosen to form a strong alternate team, should, for example, one of the Olympic team members test positive for COVID-19 and the entire team have to be removed due to contact tracing. 2018 Youth Olympian Briones, 2016 Olympic alternate Modi and three-time world team alternate Bower were fifth through seventh in the all-around. Bock was 10th but had the fourth-best scores on parallel bars and high bar; he was fifth on pommel horse.

Diab is the alternate for Yoder.

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Faith Kipyegon breaks second world record in eight days; three WRs fall in Paris


Kenyan Faith Kipyegon broke her second world record in as many Fridays as three world records fell at a Diamond League meet in Paris.

Kipyegon, a 29-year-old mom, followed her 1500m record from last week by running the fastest 5000m in history.

She clocked 14 minutes, 5.20 seconds, pulling away from now former world record holder Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia, who ran 14:07.94 for the third-fastest time in history. Gidey’s world record was 14:06.62.

“When I saw that it was a world record, I was so surprised,” Kipyegon said, according to meet organizers. “The world record was not my plan. I just ran after Gidey.”

Kipyegon, a two-time Olympic 1500m champion, ran her first 5000m in eight years. In the 1500m, her primary event, she broke an eight-year-old world record at the last Diamond League meet in Italy last Friday.

Kipyegon said she will have to talk with her team to decide if she will add the 5000m to her slate for August’s world championships in Budapest.

Next year in the 1500m, she can bid to become the second person to win the same individual Olympic track and field event three times (joining Usain Bolt). After that, she has said she may move up to the 5000m full-time en route to the marathon.

Kipyegon is the first woman to break world records in both the 1500m and the 5000m since Italian Paola Pigni, who reset them in the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m over a nine-month stretch in 1969 and 1970.

Full Paris meet results are here. The Diamond League moves to Oslo next Thursday, live on Peacock.

Also Friday, Ethiopian Lamecha Girma broke the men’s 3000m steeplechase world record by 1.52 seconds, running 7:52.11. Qatar’s Saif Saaeed Shaheen set the previous record in 2004. Girma is the Olympic and world silver medalist.

Olympic 1500m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway ran the fastest two-mile race in history, clocking 7:54.10. Kenyan Daniel Komen previously had the fastest time of 7:58.61 from 1997 in an event that’s not on the Olympic program and is rarely contested at top meets. Ingebrigtsen, 22, is sixth-fastest in history in the mile and eighth-fastest in the 1500m.

Olympic and world silver medalist Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic won the 400m in 49.12 seconds, chasing down Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, who ran her first serious flat 400m in four years. McLaughlin-Levrone clocked a personal best 49.71 seconds, a time that would have earned bronze at last year’s world championships.

“I’m really happy with the season opener, PR, obviously things to clean up,” said McLaughlin-Levrone, who went out faster than world record pace through 150 meters. “My coach wanted me to take it out and see how I felt. I can’t complain with that first 200m.”

And the end of the race?

“Not enough racing,” she said. “Obviously, after a few races, you kind of get the feel for that lactic acid. So, first race, I knew it was to be expected.”

McLaughlin-Levrone is expected to race the flat 400m at July’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, where the top three are in line to make the world team in the individual 400m. She also has a bye into August’s worlds in the 400m hurdles and is expected to announce after USATF Outdoors which race she will contest at worlds.

Noah Lyles, the world 200m champion, won the 100m in 9.97 seconds into a headwind. Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs of Italy was seventh in 10.21 in his first 100m since August after struggling through health issues since the Tokyo Games.

Lyles wants to race both the 100m and the 200m at August’s worlds. He has a bye into the 200m. The top three at USATF Outdoors join reigning world champion Fred Kerley on the world championships team. Lyles is the fifth-fastest American in the 100m this year, not counting Kerley, who is undefeated in three meets at 100m in 2023.

Olympic and world silver medalist Keely Hodgkinson won the 800m in 1:55.77, a British record. American Athing Mu, the Olympic and world champion with a personal best of 1:55.04, is expected to make her season debut later this month.

World champion Grant Holloway won the 110m hurdles in 12.98 seconds, becoming the first man to break 13 seconds this year. Holloway has the world’s four best times in 2023.

American Valarie Allman won the discus over Czech Sandra Perkovic in a meeting of the last two Olympic champions. Allman threw 69.04 meters and has the world’s 12 best throws this year.

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Iga Swiatek sweeps into French Open final, where she faces a surprise


Iga Swiatek marched into the French Open final without dropping a set in six matches. All that stands between her and a third Roland Garros title is an unseeded foe.

Swiatek plays 43rd-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova in the women’s singles final, live Saturday at 9 a.m. ET on NBC,, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.

Swiatek, the top-ranked Pole, swept 14th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-2, 7-6 (7) in Thursday’s semifinal in her toughest test all tournament. Haddad Maia squandered three break points at 4-all in the second set.

Swiatek dropped just 23 games thus far, matching her total en route to her first French Open final in 2020 (which she won for her first WTA Tour title of any kind). After her semifinal, she signed a courtside camera with the hashtag #stepbystep.

“For sure I feel like I’m a better player,” than in 2020, she said. “Mentally, tactically, physically, just having the experience, everything. So, yeah, my whole life basically.”

Swiatek can become the third woman since 2000 to win three French Opens after Serena Williams and Justine Henin and, at 22, the youngest woman to win four total majors since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Muchova upset No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus to reach her first major final.

Muchova, a 26-year-old into the second week of the French Open for the first time, became the first player to take a set off the powerful Belarusian all tournament, then rallied from down 5-2 in the third set to prevail 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-5.

Sabalenka, who overcame previous erratic serving to win the Australian Open in January, had back-to-back double faults in her last service game.

“Lost my rhythm,” she said. “I wasn’t there.”

Muchova broke up what many expected would be a Sabalenka-Swiatek final, which would have been the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 match at the French Open since Williams beat Maria Sharapova in the 2013 final.

Muchova is unseeded, but was considered dangerous going into the tournament.

In 2021, she beat then-No. 1 Ash Barty to make the Australian Open semifinals, then reached a career-high ranking of 19. She dropped out of the top 200 last year while struggling through injuries.

“Some doctors told me maybe you’ll not do sport anymore,” Muchova said. “It’s up and downs in life all the time. Now I’m enjoying that I’m on the upper part now.”

Muchova has won all five of her matches against players ranked in the top three. She also beat Swiatek in their lone head-to-head, but that was back in 2019 when both players were unaccomplished young pros. They have since practiced together many times.

“I really like her game, honestly,” Swiatek said. “I really respect her, and she’s I feel like a player who can do anything. She has great touch. She can also speed up the game. She plays with that kind of freedom in her movements. And she has a great technique. So I watched her matches, and I feel like I know her game pretty well.”

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