2024 Winter Cup Men’s Preview: Brody Malone returns, U.S. national team spots up for grabs

By Gymnastics Now | February 21, 2024
Team USA's Brody Malone on rings at the 2022 World Gymnastics Championships.
© Amy Sanderson/Gymnastics Now

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – The Olympic Games are less than six months away, and the road to Paris runs through the 2024 Winter Cup – the first major competition of the year for U.S. elites.

Forty-five men will take the floor at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville from February 23-25 in hopes of securing a spot on the U.S. national team, as well as sowing the seeds for why they should be in contention for the five-man Olympic team.

The U.S. men had a strong showing at the 2023 World Championships, winning their first world or Olympic medal as a team since 2014 when they won bronze. They tacked on three more individual medals from Fred Richard (bronze – all-around) and Khoi Young (silver – vault and pommel horse). Winter Cup is the next step toward crafting the ideal team to take on Great Britain, China, and Japan in Paris this summer.

This Winter Cup will also see different scoring compared to past Winter Cups this quad. Unlike 2022 and 2023, there will be no difficulty bonus. In an effort to increase the U.S. team’s difficulty following the Tokyo Olympics, where they finished fourth, bonuses were implemented to routines that displayed a high level of difficulty (mostly above 6.0). This allowed for scores to reach into the high 15s and 16s, like Asher Hong’s Ri Se Gwang vault and Curran Phillips’ unreal parallel bars set. While the bonus boosted some of the top contenders’ scores, not everyone benefited from the system, so this change shouldn’t affect scores to a great extent. But it will definitely make execution and consistency that much more important leading to some intense meets.

Keep a close watch on 2020 Olympians Yul Moldauer, Shane Wiskus, and Brody Malone as they headline the competition. Moldauer and the rest of team from worlds will retain their spots on the national team, but the rest of the field will have to earn or re-earn their spots on the team.

After a major injury last year, Malone’s return has been highly anticipated. While 2022 world high bar champion and two-time U.S. all-around champion already has two smaller competitions under his belt this year, he’s not quite back to full force. Still, he’s absolutely a contender for the Olympic team later this year.

Four out of six members of the 2023 world team will not be competing at Winter Cup. World all-around bronze medalist Fred Richard will not be competing due to a minor wrist injury, but he looks on track to be healthy for the NCAA postseason and beyond. World team member Colt Walker, reigning U.S. all-around champion Hong, and two-time world silver medalist Young will be competing at the Cottbus World Cup in Germany from February 22-25 in lieu of competing in Louisville. Their absence will definitely impact the results of Winter Cup, but they will be looking to bring back hardware for Team USA. The three Cardinal will return to the NCAA stage in March as they chase down a historic fifth-consecutive national title for Stanford.

Keep reading for key storylines, contenders, how to watch, and the full field, and don’t forget to subscribe for unlimited access to our on-site coverage!

Brody Malone returns nearly a year after major leg injury

After a gruesome leg injury during the high bar final at the 2023 DTB Pokal, Malone is back on the competition floor. Malone has been in a race against the clock to return from injury in time for the Paris Olympics. Thus far this season, he’s competed at both the Houston National Invitational (HNI) and the EVO Elite Collegiate Open on pommel horse, rings, and parallel bars. He hasn’t been competing his full difficulty dismounts, but he is dismounting on all three apparatus. With that said, he’s made improvements to his routines, most notably a Maltese push to straight planche on rings. 

“It has been great to be back out on the competition floor, especially since I got to compete dismounts last week at our home meet. I’m really looking forward to Winter Cup and being able to do more difficult dismounts,” Malone said in regard to his outlook. If Malone can get up to speed in time for Paris, he’ll bolster the U.S.’s chances of earning a team medal for the first time since 2008, when the they won bronze.

Event contenders

Here are some of the key contenders in the running for titles in Louisville:


With most of the 2023 world team not competing, Paul Juda and Yul Moldauer stand as the top contenders for the all-around title. Olympian Shane Wiskus and Olympic team alternate Cameron Bock have made waves at this event in prior years and could do so again in 2024. However, Winter Cup is early in the competitive year and mistakes from the favorites could allow NCAA stars like Oklahoma’s Fuzzy Benas and Stanford’s Taylor Burkhart to take the crown after impressive early season marks.

Floor Exercise

The floor title is certainly up for grabs in Louisville. Some of the biggest contenders include NCAA stars Connor McCool and Kameron Nelson, who have scored as high as 14.6 and 14.4, respectively, this season. Donnell Whittenburg, Riley Loos, and Wiskus will also likely be top contenders for the event title.

Pommel Horse

The dreaded pommel horse has become a strength for the U.S. as of late. Even with reigning world silver medalist Young not at the competition, there will still be an exciting battle for the pommel throne. Brandon Dang, Ignacio Yockers, and Patrick Hoopes have all scored above 15.0 on the event already this NCAA season. With that said, 2021 world pommel horse champion Stephen Nedoroscik is the favorite if he hits.

Still Rings

The top two contenders for the still rings title will likely be Whittenburg and Alex Diab. Both of these competitors have maintained world-class routines in their careers and could add in more difficulty for the Olympic year. Riley Loos’ perfect shape on his straight Planche and Maltese will keep him in contention for the title, but his start value puts him at a slight disadvantage. Javier Alfonso comes in ranked No. 1 in the NCAA on rings with a 14.480 average and could jump above the other contenders thanks to his 6.0 start and clean form. 


With Young and Hong in Cottbus, Juda will be a clear favorite to take the vault title. Juda is ranked No. 1 in the NCAA on the event and made the 2023 world final with a Yurchenko double pike and a perfect Kas 1.5. The 2015 world bronze medalist, Whittenburg is also always one to watch on this event. Nelson could potentially snag the title as he is capable of nailing multiple 5.2 start value vaults. Phillips and Benas are also capable of putting up big numbers, but ultimately few competitors will opt to compete two vaults. 

Parallel Bars

Parallel bars has stuck out as the apparatus with the highest scoring and highest difficulty this quad. This is exemplified by Phillips, who pushes a 7.0 start value on the event and is unbeatable domestically when he hits. With that being said, any slipups could allow the likes of Blake Sun or Moldauer to snag the title for their impressive sets. Then there’s Josh Karnes, who is ranked No. 1 in the NCAA on the event with a high of 14.9 and 14.633 average.

High Bar

With Richard and Malone out of the high bar competition, the title is up for grabs. The strongest contender appears to be Wiskus, who has added a Cassina back into his routine. Juda’s perfect form will also keep him in the running, but he’ll have a disadvantage in start value. Crew Bold’s routine, which includes a Cassina, Kolman, and triple Tkatchev connection, has scored up to a 14.4 this NCAA season and could pose a threat. Oklahoma captain Jack Freeman was the 2022 Winter Cup high bar champion and will likely be in contention for another title.

How to watch the 2024 Winter Cup & Elite Team Cup

You can watch all the action for free on USA Gymnastics’ YouTube.

  • Friday, February 23 – Senior Men Day 1 @ 1:30 p.m. ET
  • Saturday, February 24 – Elite Team Cup @ 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Sunday, February 25 – Senior & Junior Men Day 2 @ 5:30 p.m. ET

The senior men’s competition is held over two days (vs. one for the junior and senior women), with all-around and event winners being decided after Day 2 and based on two-day combined scores.

The Elite Team Cup is a junior event that features nine men’s regional teams, each consisting of six junior elite gymnasts, competing against each other. The Elite Team Cup also crowns the junior men’s all-around champion before the juniors join the seniors for event finals on Sunday.

Read the full U.S. men’s senior national team selection procedures here.

Senior Men’s Field – 2024 Winter Cup

The complete list of senior men’s competitors for Winter Cup is found below. This list is subject to change. See the latest up-to-date field here.

Javier Alfonso, Miami, FL/University of Michigan
Michael Artlip, Bellaire, TX/Penn State
Fuzzy Benas, Richmond, TX/University of Oklahoma
Jeremy Bischoff, Santa Clarita, CA/Stanford University
Jaden Blank, Lakewood Ranch, FL/United States Military Academy
Landen Blixt, Fowlerville, MI/University of Michigan
Cameron Bock, Ann Arbor, MI/University of Michigan
Crew Bold, Delray Beach, FL/University of Michigan
Garrett Braunton, USAF Academy, CO/USAF
Taylor Burkhart, Stanford, CA/Stanford University
Solen Chiodi, Marquette, MI/Mini-Hops Gymnastics
J.R. Chou, Oakmont, PA/Stanford University
Taylor Christopulos, Layton, UT/University of Nebraska
Caden Clinton, Cypress, TX/Cypress Academy of Gymnastics
Matt Cormier, Milton, MA/Penn State
Tate Costa, Narragansett, RI/University of Illinois
Brandon Dang, San Jose, CA/University of Illinois
Alex Diab, Bradenton, FL/EVO Gymnastics
Colin Flores, Mountain House, CA/University of Oklahoma
Jack Freeman, Palestine, TX/University of Oklahoma
Ian Gunther, Houston, TX/Stanford University
Dallas Hale, Frisco, TX/5280 Gymnastics
Patrick Hoopes, Lehi, UT/USAF
Evan Hymanson, Morganville, NJ/Stanford Boys Gymnastics
Paul Juda, Deerfield, IL/University of Michigan
Joshua Karnes, Erie, PA/Penn State
Jordan Kovach, Lombard, IL/Premier Gymnastics Academy
Toby Liang, Roswell, GA/University of Nebraska
Riley Loos, Folsom, CA/Stanford University
Brody Malone, Sarasota, FL/EVO Gymnastics
Connor McCool, Ocean City, NJ/University of Illinois
Yul Moldauer, Arvada, CO/5280 Gymnastics
Stephen Nedoroscik, Sarasota, FL/EVO Gymnastics
Kameron Nelson, Columbus, OH/Ohio State Univ
Noah Newfeld, Plano, TX/University of California – Berkeley
Brandon Nguyen, Elk Grove, CA/Stanford University
Austin Padgett, Broken Arrow, OK/Pride Gymnastics Academy
Curran Phillips, Naperville, IL/EVO Gymnastics
Rithik Puri, Chicago, IL/University of Michigan
Ian Sandoval, Frisco, TX/EVO Gymnastics
Blake Sun, San Antonio, TX/Stanford University
Kai Uemura, Chicago, IL/Lakeshore Academy of Art Gymnastics
Donnell Whittenburg, Milwaukee, WI/Salto Gymnastics Center
Shane Wiskus, Sarasota, FL/EVO Gymnastics
Ignacio Yockers, Tulsa, OK/University of Oklahoma 

Junior Men’s Field – 2024 Winter Cup & Elite Team Cup

The complete list of junior men’s competitors for the Elite Team Cup and Winter Cup can be found here.

Story by David Willett and Aidan Giusti.