Live Blog: Podium Training | U.S. Gymnastics Championships

By Patricia Duffy | May 29, 2024
Brody Malone and Sunisa Lee during podium training at the 2024 Winter Cup.
© Amy Sanderson/Gymnastics Now

FORT WORTH, Texas – Before the 2024 Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships begins, there’s podium training, and we’ll have live, on-site coverage here.

Read our meet preview below:

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

Wed. May 29 @ 7:55 p.m.

A crockpot story for your evening:

Jess Graba, Suni’s coach, has been buying a crockpot at each meet they travel to in order for Suni to have food within the guidelines of her strict diet as it pertains to the kidney diseases she’s been battling. Mainly to cook chicken, which “you can’t put much salt on.” They pick up the cheapest air fryer from Walmart for approximately $69. He hasn’t thought about how they could get one in Paris, but he said, “that’ll be a good problem to have.”

What happens to the air fryers when the trip is done? Sometimes he just has to leave them. Sometimes he’ll donate them, give them to someone. Just depends.

Wed. May 29 @ 7:48 p.m.

Graba said Suni isn’t doing the full-twisting Jaeger here because they don’t want her worried about multiple things. This week, the focus is on the double-twisting Yurchenko & all-around.

Goal is top 5 all-around and top 3 bars and beam.

Wed. May 29 @ 7:26 p.m.

No sign of the full-twisting Jaeger today from Suni Lee. She didn’t hit it during podium training at the Classic and didn’t compete all-around. Today she’s training a watered down set with a straddle Jaeger instead, but she’s struggling to catch that as well.

Wed. May 29 @ 7:18 p.m.

Skye went for the Cheng and it looked great.

Simone does her floor set – marvelous as always, but the triple-double will always be a personal favorite. The speed is out of this world.

Wed. May 29 @ 7:13 p.m.

Both Suni and Trinity have trained double-twisting Yurchenkos today. They’ve previously been doing full but are of course capable of the extra twist.

Wed. May 29 @ 6:08 p.m.

Shilese Jones is managing an injury to her right shoulder that flared up after Classic — to the point she couldn’t raise her arm shortly after that meet. She’s doing sets and said, while it hurts, she’s not giving up on herself. Jones tore her labrum two years ago and said at some point she’ll need shoulder surgery, but that’s a ways down the line.

You can see it taped below.

Wed. May 29 @ 6:07 p.m.

Simone’s Cheng looks great. More controlled now? It’s always been exceptionally powerful like all of her tumbling, but there are some small improvements that will make a difference.

Wed. May 29 @ 5:28 p.m.

Brody Malone says he wants the “whole Olympic experience” after competing at the COVID-marred Games in 2021. “I want the village, I want the cafeteria.”

When McDonald’s in the village was mentioned, he was like, “McDonald’s before team finals would be great, yeah.”

“Not having anyone in the stands sucked. I’m not gonna lie.”

As far as his family that would come to Paris, his fiancée, dad, sister, grandpa, and a couple of cousins are planning on coming. They’ve booked refundable tickets but he’s put that burden on them – he’s got enough to deal with. He said athletes get two tickets for family and friends per event they’re competing in, so two tickets for their prelim sessions, team final, etc.

Malone also said there is competition between the U.S. guys despite the team working well together. And he “hates to lose.”

Wed. May 29 @ 5:24 p.m.

Brody Malone said he realized about three weeks ago that all-around was a realistic goal when he was doing routines on the floor. He thinks he can definitely make this team without doing all-around but knows doing all six and having that as a backup for Team USA helps his stock for this team. He, of course, is best on high bar, where he is the 2022 world champion.

Wed. May 29 @ 5:20 p.m.

Fred Richard gave an example of how the difficulty bonus system pushed him this quad:

“Two years ago, at U.S. Championships, my first senior U.S. championships… I have a skill in my high bar routine called a Cassina – the hardest skill I do, it’s a G. I first caught that skill two weeks before U.S. Championships. And there was a bonus system in place where I gained a point by doing it, so it’s like, if I fall, it’d be equal, like it’s worth it. Competed it both days, caught it both days, never left my routine since and made my high bar way better. So it’s examples like that where we really can push the envelope in times like that, earlier in the quad, and it shows now.”

Wed. May 29 @ 5:15 p.m.

Yul Moldauer said the difficulty bonus system that was instituted this quad is “one of the best things we’ve done.” Brody Malone agreed, saying this team will definitely be harder to make than the team in 2021 because of the depth of the field and how the entire U.S. men’s program has been pushing harder skills.

“I think the bonus system definitely encouraged that and looking at it, you know, we’re like almost there. We just need one more pinch and we’re right there with every other country. I mean, going back to Worlds, you know, you think Japan and China are untouchable, but when you rotate with them and you’re looking at them in the eyes when they’re chalking up, they’re human too; they make mistakes. So think if we can get our difficulty up, but also bring our mental strength to the floor, we’ll be as strong as any other team.”

Wed. May 29 @ 5:10 p.m.

Defending U.S. all-around champion Asher Hong has been dealing with some back issues, which is why he didn’t do all-around at NCAA Championships in April (he won three individual titles instead). Said he’s feeling good and the back is “a lot better.”

Wed. May 29 @ 5:05 p.m.

Wed. May 29 @ 5:05 p.m.

Brody Malone on what went behind his decision to train the all-around again after a major leg injury:

“Why not? That was kind of what was going through my head. I mean, I knew from the beginning if I was going to be in a place to where like my leg was healthy enough, then I was definitely going to try to do all-around again. That was never really a question, whether or not I would try. It was just more would I be healthy enough to do it?”

Said he feels amazing. Still managing regular rehab, including weekly heavy lift leg day.

Wed. May 29 @ 4:55 p.m.

The USOPC told Li Li Leung that athletes participating in the Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony should plan to be on their feet for 9 hours. She said athletes will be allowed to make that decision, but she assumes it will be discouraged because of the physical exhaustion.

Wed. May 29 @ 4:54 p.m.

Skye Blakely shared during the senior women’s presser that she’s hoping to compete the Cheng this week. She’ll try it during podium training and go from there.

Wed. May 29 @ 4:48 p.m.

It’s been a long few hours of press conferences, but we are working through notes and quotes to share. Senior women’s podium training is happening now, with Session 2 – the Olympians, world team members, etc. – starting at 5. Stay tuned as we work through all of these interviews and share the key takeaways.

Wed. May 29 @ 1:37 p.m.

Colt Walker was dismounting high bar a short while ago and broke the bar in the process. Walker took a nasty fall but seems okay. Bar has since been replaced.

Wed. May 29 @ 1:21 p.m.

Gabby Douglas has withdrawn from U.S. Championships, citing an ankle injury sustained this week during training. Her bid for Paris 2024 is over, but she says she will recover and pursue LA 2028.

Wed. May 29 @ 1:05 p.m.

Men’s podium training is always more chill, but seeing glimpses of some great gymnastics to come this week. Brody Malone showing a Cassina and Liukin.

Wed. May 29 @ 11:30 a.m.

Welcome to our live blog of podium training at the 2024 Xfinity U.S. Gymnastics Championships! We’ll have news, notes, and quotes from training inside Dickies Arena this morning. We’ll also share some videos and other updates on social media, so be sure to follow us across channels.