gymnastics

Suni Lee to leave Auburn after this season, return to elite gymnastics for Olympic run

Suni Lee
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Olympic all-around champion Suni Lee said her upcoming sophomore season at Auburn will be her last and that she will return to elite gymnastics after this winter in a bid for the 2024 Paris Games.

“I don’t want it [the Olympics] to just be once in a lifetime,” she said in a video posted Tuesday. “I have my sights set on Paris in 2024, and I know what I have to do to get there. I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and putting in the work.”

Lee, 19, hasn’t competed in elite international gymnastics since the Tokyo Games. She competed last winter and spring for Auburn in the NCAA, which has a different scoring system than the Olympics and usually requires different routines.

She took runner-up in April’s NCAA Championships all-around behind Trinity Thomas of Florida. She also won the balance beam title and helped Auburn to a fourth-place team finish, the best in program in history.

Lee then signaled a return to elite in July by participating in her first U.S. national team camp since the Tokyo Games.

Without Lee (and without Rio Olympic all-around champ Simone Biles), the U.S. women’s gymnastics team won the world title two weeks ago. Shilese Jones took all-around silver at worlds, where Lee’s Tokyo Olympic teammates Jade Carey and Jordan Chiles each won three medals.

The upcoming NCAA season runs from January into April. Lee has not said whether she plans to return to elite competition for the summer 2023 season, or if it will be in 2024 before the Paris Games.

Most Olympic medalist gymnasts who took breaks from elite came back before the Olympic year. Biles returned from a two-year competition break in 2018. Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman took time off after the 2012 London Games and returned to competition in March 2015.

Biles has not competed since Tokyo and also not ruled out a return ahead of Paris 2024.

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Brody Malone ends gymnastics worlds with high bar gold; U.S. women win more medals

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Brody Malone ensured the U.S. men didn’t finish the world gymnastics championships without a medal. He also ensured they didn’t leave without a gold medal.

Malone became the second American to win on the capstone men’s apparatus at worlds — high bar — after Kurt Thomas in 1979. Malone, one year after taking bronze at worlds and missing his first Olympic medal by one spot, had what NBC Sports’ John Roethlisberger called his best high bar routine ever and scored 14.800 points.

That was enough to defeat Olympic and world all-around champion Daiki Hashimoto of Japan by one tenth in Liverpool, England.

Malone, the two-time U.S. all-around champion, capped a world championships where he improved throughout finals. He had a poor team final on Wednesday (the U.S. finished fifth), improved to place fourth in the all-around on Friday and then upgraded to the top of the podium in the very last event Sunday.

“This week was pretty rough for us,” Malone said, according to the International Gymnastics Federation. “It just seemed like we were building up. This was a good one to end on.”

GYMNASTICS WORLDS: Results

Earlier Sunday, Jordan Chiles and Jade Carey gave the U.S. two more medals. The Tokyo Olympians earned floor exercise silver and bronze, respectively, for their third medals of worlds.

Jessica Gadirova of Great Britain took gold with 14.200 points. She overtook Chiles, who scored 13.833 to add to her medal collection (team gold, vault silver).

Chiles originally tied Carey, and held the tiebreaker. Carey or the U.S. team challenged the difficulty score given to Carey’s routine, hoping it would be increased, Roethlisberger said. The review actually led to that score being lowered by one tenth, which meant Carey went from solo bronze to sharing bronze with Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade.

Carey previously earned team gold and vault gold.

The U.S. was the only nation to win two women’s golds at worlds and had seven total women’s medals, distancing second-place Great Britain’s three. The Americans were expected to excel in the absence of Russian gymnasts who won the Olympic team title and are banned due to the invasion of Ukraine.

The Americans did not have Olympic all-around champions Simone Biles and Suni Lee (on indefinite, perhaps permanent breaks from competition) and national all-around champion Konnor McClain (back injury).

Also Sunday, Hazuki Watanabe became the second consecutive Japanese woman to win the world title on balance beam, scoring 13.600 and edging Ellie Black by 34 thousandths of a point. Black won Canada’s 13th world championships medal in history — all silver or bronze.

The top two qualifiers, China’s Ou Yushan and American Skye Blakely, fell off the beam. Blakely, 17, had a medal-contending routine going until a late fall, after her hair ribbon started coming undone and flapping around her face.

Absent from worlds were last year’s Olympic champion (Guan Chenchen, who the Chinese federation says retired) and world champion (Urara Ashikawa).

China’s Zou Jingyuan added his record-tying third world title on parallel bars to his Olympic title from last year. He scored 16.166 points, distancing Olympic silver medalist Lukas Dauser of Germany by .666. The 2021 World champion, Hu Xuwei, was not on China’s team this year.

In men’s vault, Armenian Artur Davtyan dethroned defending world champion Carlos Yulo of the Philippines by one tenth, averaging two vaults. Davtyan, 30 and the Olympic bronze medalist, became the first Armenian to win a world gymnastics title.

Olympic gold medalist Shin Jea-Hwan of South Korea did not compete at worlds.

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2022 World Gymnastics Championships results

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Results from the 2022 World Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool, England (full results are here) …

Women’s Team
Gold: USA — 166.564
Silver: Great Britain — 163.363
Bronze: Canada — 160.563
4. Brazil —- 159.661
5. Italy — 159.463
6. China — 157.529
7. Japan — 156.964
8. France — 155.863

Women’s All-Around
Gold: Rebeca Andrade (BRA) — 56.899
Silver: Shilese Jones (USA) — 55.399
Bronze: Jessica Gadirova (GBR) — 55.199
4. Alice Kinsella (GBR) — 55.065
5. Ellie Black (CAN) — 54.732
6. Jade Carey (USA) — 54.698
7. Ou Yushan (CHN) — 53.899
8. Shoko Miyata (JPN) — 53.798

Balance Beam
Gold: Hazuki Watanabe (JPN) — 13.600
Silver: Ellie Black (CAN) — 13.566
Bronze: Shoko Miyata (JPN) — 13.533
4. Marine Boyer (FRA) — 13.300
5. Skye Blakely (USA) — 13.300
6. Ou Yushan (CHN) — 13.000
7. Zsofia Kovacs (HUN) — 12.733
8. Rebeca Andrade (BRA) — 12.733

Women’s Floor Exercise
Gold: Jessica Gadirova (GBR) — 14.200
Silver: Jordan Chiles (USA) — 13.833
Bronze: Rebeca Andrade (BRA) — 13.733
Bronze: Jade Carey (USA) — 13.733
5. Naomi Visser (NED) — 13.666
6. Martina Maggio (ITA) — 13.533
7. Jennifer Gadirova (GBR) — 13.166
8. Shoko Miyata (JPN) — 13.066

Uneven Bars
Gold: Wei Xiaoyuan (CHN) — 14.966
Silver: Shilese Jones (USA) — 14.766
Bronze: Nina Derwael (BEL) — 14.700
4. Elisabeth Seitz (GER) — 14.366
5. Sanna Veerman (NED) — 14.166
6. Luo Rui (CHN) — 13.800
7. Naomi Visser (NED) — 13.233
8. Rebeca Andrade (BRA) — 12.800

Women’s Vault
Gold: Jade Carey (USA) — 14.516
Silver: Jordan Chiles (USA) — 14.350

Bronze: Coline Devillard (FRA) — 14.166
4. Ellie Black (CAN) — 14.116
5. Shoko Miyata (JPN) — 13.999
6. Lisa Vaelen (BEL) — 13.733
7. Yeo Seo-Jeong (KOR) — 13.349
8. Lihie Raz (ISR) — 12.599

Men’s Team
Gold: China — 257.858
Silver: Japan — 253.395
Bronze: Great Britain — 247.229
4. Italy — 245.995
5. USA — 245.692
6. Spain — 244.027
7. Brazil — 241.362
8. South Korea — 232.828

Men’s All-Around
Gold: Daiki Hashimoto (JPN) — 87.198
Silver: Zhang Boheng (CHN) — 86.765
Bronze: Wataru Tanigawa (JPN) — 85.231
4. Brody Malone (USA) — 84.931
5. Jake Jarman (GBR) — 82.865
6. Asher Hong (USA) — 82.365
7. Illia Kovtun (UKR) — 82.365
8. Carlos Yulo (PHI) — 82.098

Men’s Floor Exercise
Gold: Giarnni Regini-Moran (GBR) — 14.533
Silver: Daiki Hashimoto (JPN) — 14.500
Bronze: Ryosuke Doi (JPN) — 14.266
4. Benjamin Osberger (FRA) — 14.233
5. Nicola Bartolini (ITA) — 14.233
6. Ryu Sung-Hyun (KOR) — 14.200
7. Carlos Yulo (PHI) — 13.300
8. Milad Karimi (KAZ) — 12.100

High Bar
Gold: Brody Malone (USA) — 14.800
Silver: Daiki Hashimoto (JPN) — 14.700
Bronze: Arthur Mariano (BRA) — 14.466
4. Sun Wei (CHN) — 14.433
5. Zhang Boheng (CHN) — 14.400
6. Ilias Georgiou (CYP) — 14.3
7. Yuya Kamoto (JPN) — 14.166
8. Tyson Bull (AUS) — 13.766

Parallel Bars
Gold: Zou Jingyuan (CHN) — 16.166
Silver: Lukas Dauser (GER) — 15.500
Bronze: Carlos Yulo (PHI) — 15.366
4. Ferhat Arican (TUR) — 15.066
5. Jossimar Calvo (COL) — 14.966
6. Yuya Kamoto (JPN) — 14.900
7. Giarnni Regini-Moran (GBR) — 14.733
8. Joe Fraser (GBR) — 14.700

Pommel Horse
Gold: Rhys McClenaghan (IRL) — 15.300
Silver: Ahmad Abu Al Soud (JOR) — 14.866
Bronze: Harutyun Merdinyan (ARM) — 14.733
4. Nariman Kurbanov (KAZ) — 14.533
5. Stephen Nedoroscik (USA) — 14.400
6. Loran de Munck (NED) — 13.533
7. Ryosuke Doi (JPN) — 12.933
8. Filip Ude (CRO) — 12.500

Still Rings
Gold: Adem Asil (TUR) — 14.933
Silver: Zou Jingyuan (CHN) — 14.866
Bronze: Courtney Tulloch (GBR) — 14.733
4. Artur Avetisyan (ARM) — 14.600
5. You Hao (CHN) — 14.600
6. Vahagn Davtyan (ARM) — 14.533
7. Yuya Kamoto (JPN) — 14.466
8. Donnell Whittenburg (USA) — 14.433

Men’s Vault
Gold: Artur Davtyan (ARM) — 15.050
Silver: Carlos Yulo (PHI) — 14.950
Bronze: Igor Radivilov (UKR) — 14.733
4. Gabriel Burtanete (ROU) — 14.533
5. Caio Souza (BRA) — 14.416
6. Lee Junho (KOR) — 14.316
7. Wataru Tanigawa (JPN) — 13.999
8. Kim Hansol (KOR) — 13.900

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