Konnor McClain opened the first full year of an abbreviated, three-year Olympic cycle by winning the Winter Cup, an early season meet for U.S. gymnasts preparing for nationals and worlds later this year.
McClain, a 17-year-old who trains in the Dallas area, prevailed with an all-around score of 54.3 points, highlighted by a 14.6 on balance beam, in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday.
Nobody from the six-woman Tokyo Olympic team competed, but many 2024 Olympic hopefuls were in the field.
Skye Blakely, who was born three days after McClain and like McClain trains at WOGA Gymnastics (but at a different facility), took second, six tenths behind. eMjae Frazier was third.
McClain and Blakely were too young for the Olympics in 2020. When the Games were postponed to 2021, they became age eligible.
McClain, the 2019 U.S. junior all-around silver medalist, did not compete at senior nationals or the Olympic Trials last year. Her mom cited physical and mental health, focusing on the future beyond the Tokyo Games, which was their initial plan before the Olympic postponement.
Blakely, fourth at the 2019 junior nationals, was seventh at the 2021 senior nationals, then suffered an elbow injury at trials and later underwent surgery.
McClain and Frazier competed at the world championships last October and did not make any individual finals. McClain was eighth in balance beam qualifying but did not make the eight-woman final because two Americans had higher scores on the event.
On Friday night, University of Oklahoma senior Vitaliy Guimaraes won the men’s all-around. Yul Moldauer, the lone Olympian in the men’s or women’s field, was fourth.
Sam Mikulak, a three-time Olympian, retired after the Tokyo Games. Brody Malone, the reigning U.S. all-around champion, is competing at a World Cup in Germany this weekend.
Gymnasts are preparing for the national championships in August in Tampa, after which the teams will be named for the world championships in Liverpool, Great Britain, in October and November.
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nbcolympictalk