Live Blog: Podium Training | 2024 Winter Cup

By Patricia Duffy | February 23, 2024
Addy Fulcher on beam at the 2024 Winter Cup.
© Amy Sanderson/Gymnastics Now

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – Before the 2024 Winter Cup begins, there’s podium training, and we’ll have live, on-site coverage here.

Read our men’s and women’s previews below:

Updates will be shared below, newest to oldest. If you’re not seeing the latest updates, refresh your browser.

Fri. Feb. 23 @ 12:30 p.m.

That concludes our podium training live blog! Check the preview links above for how to watch this weekend and follow along here with our live blog for senior men Day 1, starting at 1:30 p.m. ET!

Fri. Feb. 23 @ 11:26 a.m.

Key takeaways from post-training interview with Trinity Thomas, who’s making her elite comeback at this meet:

  • On her routines: “They’re a little shaky, but it’s okay. I’ve mostly been doing bars. Hurt my foot a few weeks ago and haven’t done much on the other events. So we’re gonna see what happens. We’re just taking it event-by-event.”
  • On her foot injury: “Foot/toe, a little bit of both, but it’s doing a lot better. Just making sure that everything I’m doing is safe and I’m confident… Again, just taking it step-by-step, day-by-day and working with the coaches and figuring out what’s next.”
  • On this meet: “This is the first step. Doesn’t have to be perfect, but take the first step and then move on from there.”

Fri. Feb. 23 @ 11:18 a.m.

Key takeaways from post-training interview with Suni Lee:

  • Said beam was a little rough. Been overthinking her series a little bit – the side aerial LOSO LOSO.
  • Reiterated that she’s in remission with her kidney-related health issue. Doing “really good” and has things under control. Focused on being consistent.
  • “I haven’t thought about anything else besides this meet and doing this skill. So we really just want to go to Baku, hopefully, and get it named.”
  • On working the new skill – the full-twisting Jaeger – for two years: “I think that I kind of took a little bit of a step back when I got sick because I got nervous that I wasn’t gonna be good enough to make it to the Olympics. And I was like, this is something that I really want. So we kind of put our all into it, and we started training it every single day. And now, it’s like one of my biggest goals, so hopefully, we can get that done. And then I can move on to the next thing. I’m not trying to think about the Olympics and everything afterwards, because you never know what can happen. So I’m just kind of worrying about what comes next.”
  • Has openly struggled the past year and went through a particularly rough patch recently. She said, “Now, I’m like WAY better. I’m in happy spirits! I’m just so happy to be here.”

Fri. Feb. 23 @ 11:01 a.m.

Kaliya Lincoln is only doing beam and floor. Just pacing herself. Said floor will be watered down but she’s very excited to show her new routine.

Fri. Feb. 23 @ 10:59 a.m.

Skye Blakely is doing all-around despite recovering from a cold. Mainly sinus congestion. Said it was really last week and she started feeling better at the start of this week.

Blakely is not pursuing any international assignments. Focused on resting her body and making sure she’s healthy, allowing time to work upgrades and then work them into her routines.

Fri. Feb. 23 @ 10:47 a.m.

Trinity Thomas said all-around is a maybe. Bars and beam for sure, and then “we’ll see.” She’s been dealing with a little foot/toe injury, but it’s “doing a lot better.”

Fri. Feb. 23 @ 10:18 a.m.

Suni Lee on beam: RO LOSO mount to immediate BHS BHS. Triple wolf turn. Front aerial to split jump. Switch leap to switch half to ring jump – might not get that latter connection if she takes too long of a pause like she did here. Side aerial LOSO LOSO, but too undercut on the last LOSO and comes off. Switch ring. Timer dismount.

Fri. Feb. 23 @ 10:18 a.m.

Suni Lee on beam: RO LOSO mount to immediate BHS BHS. Triple wolf turn. Front aerial to split jump. Switch leap to switch half to ring jump – might not get that latter connection if she takes too long of a pause like she did here. Side aerial LOSO LOSO, but too undercut on the last LOSO and comes off. Switch ring. Timer dismount.

Fri. Feb. 23 @ 9:58 a.m.

Suni shows the full-twisting Jaeger in training! Full routine was full-twisting Jaeger. Pak to Maloney to Gienger. Toe 1/1 to full-twisting double tuck.

Fri. Feb. 23 @ 9:30 a.m.

Suni about to rotate to bars. We’ll be back with updates on her new skill!

Fri. Feb. 23 @ 9:29 a.m.

Definitely a side aerial LOSO, which she hit on her next turn. Switch leap to split jump 3/4. Gainer tuck full dismount.

Fri. Feb. 23 @ 9:17 a.m.

Trinity Thomas does her routine run through. What we saw: Switch leap mount to switch half to swing down. Double wolf turn (spun out of it). Side aerial – seemed to mark for maybe a LOSO out of that. Front aerial to split jump to straddle jump, slips and falls on the straddle. Side somi, clean. Switch leap, paused, definitely seems like she plans to connect out of that. Gainer tuck dismount off the end. Looked easy – assuming that might be a pike.

Fri. Feb. 23 @ 8:56 a.m.

Women’s podium training is happening now. Looks like Suni Lee will start on floor, meaning she’ll go to bars to likely do her new skill – the full-twisting Jaeger – in the third rotation and beam in the fourth. Trinity Thomas starts on bars and put together a clean set here a few minutes ago.

Thu. Feb. 22 @ 11:47 p.m.

Full interview with Paul Juda from podium training:

Thu. Feb. 22 @ 11:33 p.m.

Full interview with Curran Phillips from podium training:

Thu. Feb. 22 @ 11:32 p.m.

Full interview with Brody Malone from podium training:

Thu. Feb. 22 @ 10:00 p.m.

Notes from Olympian and world medalist Yul Moldauer:

  • Pointed out that he’s excited that Brody is back. Said that Malone came out to Denver one time and they went to a Broncos game together. Reference the U.S. men’s program as a “brotherhood.” Not just the Olympic or world teams but everyone.
  • Doing all-around both days. Doesn’t have to earn a spot on national team because he retains his from the team’s bronze medal performance in Antwerp last fall, but he doesn’t want to coast. Wants to be an example that you have to keep delivering, keep hitting.
  • Doing a new floor pass – full-twisting double layout.
  • Adding Cassina to high bar routine. Plan is to do that Day 2 after hitting consistent Day 1.
  • Would love to do as many world cups/international assignments as possible this spring, but knows it’s important that other guys get the chance. Since he’s retaining his spot on national team, and as a world medalist, he gets first pick and is planning to go to DTB Pokal in March.
  • On the Olympic draw and the U.S. men starting on pommel horse in their subdivision: “Let’s do it. This is what we’re made for. You know, I think every athlete has to understand that there are going to be chances like this and you got to mentally just flip the switch and be ready. I mean, we joined gymnastics for a reason. We understand that there’s a first sub, there’s pommel horse, but I think that should be a challenge, and we should look at it as, if we can go out and prove that it’s early in the morning, first event, horse, we can hit and kind of scare every other team… I think we should be able to mentally… be able to handle it. We’re at the Olympics; you should be able to handle anything. If you can handle going to the Olympics with no crowd and having to do a double nose swab every morning at the Olympics, I think we should be able to do a horse set.”

Thu. Feb. 22 @ 9:52 p.m.

Notes from world team bronze medalist Paul Juda:

  • Juda isn’t going for any international assignments this spring. Focused on staying in the States and competing with Michigan for one last season, which culminates with the NCAA Championships in April.
  • Really leaning into the team aspect at Winter Cup since there are six Michigan athletes competing. Treating it more like an NCAA outing and hyping up his team.
  • Earning his Master’s in real estate development and discussed his interest in affordable housing and its importance to communities.

Thu. Feb. 22 @ 9:49 p.m.

Notes from talking with Olympian and world high bar champion Brody Malone about his comeback after a major leg injury last year:

  • Has been working back and will focus on pommel horse, rings, and parallel bars this week, as he has at the two smaller meets he competed at earlier this year.
  • Been working on increasing the difficulty of his dismounts. Will be doing a double pike off parallel bars and a half-in, half-out off rings.
  • Said he’s “making great progress” to landing on hard surfaces.
  • Transitioned to a bit of rod-floor tumbling around two weeks ago. Taking it slow but said it feels “pretty good.” – “So the plan is to be back doing floor and vault by [U.S. Championships]. Now what those routines will be, I don’t know, but at least be trying to do it.”
  • Will be cleared by U.S. Championships to do high bar dismounts. Says about a month from now he’ll be able to do high bar dismounts on hard. He’s started doing them to an eight-inch mat in the pit and even an eight with a four on top to make it a “little more firm” … “and they feel good.”
  • The goal is to be able to do all-around by June, when U.S. Championships and Olympic Trials roll around.
  • On what his mindset was right after the injury and thinking ahead to Paris: “I just knew that it was gonna be a long road ahead, but I mean, here I am… I don’t even know how many months it’s been since my last surgery, but I mean, I had to like relearn to walk after my surgeries, and here I am running and jumping around and tumbling on tumble track and rod floor. So I’m super happy with my progress so far.
  • On what got him through the early days of multiple surgeries and struggling to walk, let alone think about making an Olympic push: “Honestly, it’s been my faith. My faith in God and Jesus Christ has been the thing that’s kept me going. My verse that I’ve been going to is 1 James it’s like 2-4. That’s the one I go to… “Consider it a great joy when you experience trials because of the testing of your faith produces endurance.” So that’s been my go to that I’ve gone back to time and time again. You know, just leaning on God throughout this whole thing is… It’s been everything. It’s kept my head up. It’s kept my attitude positive. That and plus the support from my teammates and, you know, all the medical staff, my coaches. I have a great support group. So I’m very, very grateful.”
  • On going back to doing high bar releases over the pit: “First day I was cleared to do releases, it was… I mean, it just felt kind of weird because I hadn’t let go of the bar. I’d been working taps and stuff, but I mean, there was no real mental block or anything. It was kind of like… pick back up where I left off. I mean it felt a little different because I hadn’t done it in a while, but it was awesome.”
  • On watching worlds last fall from home: “Oh, it was amazing. I was really impressed with those guys. It was a pretty young team. But I think that speaks to how important the NCAA program is and bringing guys up to compete as a team. I think they really leaned on a lot their experience competing in NCAA to help them perform really well on a world stage. They did awesome. They did very good. I was very impressed.
  • Talked about winning the EVO Elite Collegiate Open the other week against teams including Illinois and Simpson and how their coach, Syque Caesar, promised them a steak dinner as a reward. He’s supposed to take them out after they get back from Winter Cup.

Thu. Feb. 22 @ 8:58 p.m.

Notes from talking with Pan American Games parallel bars champion Curran Phillips:

  • “You know, last year was just such a successful year for USAG on so many different levels, and we’re looking forward to building that momentum coming into the new year and obviously finishing strong in August, so I think everyone is building up. No one’s hoping to peak right now. But I’m just I’m so excited to see where everyone’s at, to feel the excitement of the year. Just be a part of this process.”
  • Phillips said that his experience at Pan Ams in the fall was a “big moment” for his confidence. He was originally the alternate but was subbed in when his EVO teammate, Shane Wiskus, had to withdraw due to injury… “But, you know, I always got to stay hungry. I’m never satisfied with, you know, as a lot of people say, like, ‘It’s the next turn that counts.’ It’s the next team that counts. So although that was a great moment in my career, I’m looking forward, I’m really hungry to, you know, continue to build, continue to get better. And yeah, I’m really excited.”
  • He’s hoping to make the team for the DTB Pokal. Excited to potentially do another team competition as continuing to build that team chemistry among the U.S. squad will be crucial as they pursue the podium in Paris.
  • Doing his three events – vault, parallel bars, high bar – here. May add floor as a “backup routine” in time for U.S. Championships.
  • Not doing the Liukin on high bar this week, but otherwise his routine construction is the same. Said the Liukin is more in his back pocket if he were to make a final or need the added difficulty.

Thu. Feb. 22 @ 5:30 p.m.

Gabby Douglas has withdrawn from Winter Cup after testing positive for Covid. Douglas posted a statement on her Instagram, saying, “Hey guys. I’m so sad to say that I won’t be competing this weekend. I was so excited to get back out on the competition floor, but unfortunately, I just tested positive for Covid. Thank you so much for all of your support and positive energy – it really does mean the world to me. I’m crushed, but I’ll see you guys soon! Sending my best to everyone competing.”

Thu. Feb. 22 @ 3:24 p.m.

Senior men have begun training. They also had podium training yesterday, so what they’ll do today – the day before competition remains to be seen. In general, the men lean toward less full routines and more specific skill training/conditioning in these podium training sessions.

Thu. Feb. 22 @ 2:38 p.m.

Welcome to our live blog of podium training at the 2024 Winter Cup! We are live inside Kentucky International Convention Center, where the senior men will have podium training here shortly. We’ll share key observations, notes, and quotes from post-training interviews here. The senior women will train Friday morning from 8-10:30 a.m.