Richard wins all-around at US Olympic gymnastics trials, punches ticket to Paris

Frederick Richard competes on pommel horse at the US Olympic gymnastics trials (Kerem YUCEL)
Frederick Richard competes on pommel horse at the US Olympic gymnastics trials (Kerem YUCEL)

Frederick Richard is headed to his first Olympics after an all-around victory at the US gymnastics trials on Sunday, vowing the US men would deliver "some medals in Paris."

The United States haven't won an Olympic men's team gymnastics medal since 2008.

Richard will spearhead the effort to end that drought alongside Brody Malone, Paul Juda, Asher Hong and Stephen Nedoroscik.

"I knew whatever team was chosen is a deadly team," Richard, 20, said. "We shouldn't even be aiming for just a medal, we should be aiming for gold."

To book an automatic spot, Richard also had to finish in the top three on at least three of the six apparatus at trials and he got the job done -- wowing the Target Center crowd in winning the high bar.

He also topped the parallel bars standings and was third in floor exercise.

His all-around total of 170.50 was just two-tenths of a point better than Malone, who returned from a career-threatening knee injury last year to win a third US national championship earlier this month.

Malone had his difficulties this week in Minneapolis, including a disappointing showing on pommel horse and a fall from the high bar -- in which he won the world title in 2022.

But he never really looked in doubt of making a second straight Olympic team, which was filled out by selectors based on results of the US championships as well as trials in a complicated computation aimed at maximizing scoring potential at the Games.

Third-placed all-around finisher Shane Wiskus, a Tokyo Olympian, missed out as fourth-placed Juda and fifth-placed Hong, who were both on the bronze medal-winning team at last year's worlds, made it.

The fifth spot went to pommel horse specialist Nedoroscik, the 2021 world champion and a four-time national champion in the event.

"This is an extremely fair process based on the results from two competitions," men's programme director Brett McClure said. "The guys that performed at the level to make the team performed at the level to make the team."

And McClure said he thought the process produced a team able to regain the Olympic podium as they inch closer to Japan, China, Ukraine and Great Britain in the degree of difficulty in their routines.

"That's the expectation, that's our goal," McClure said. "That's the objective, that's what we're shooting for. We're going to be well-prepared to do that."

The trials conclude on Sunday with four-time Olympic gold medallist Simone Biles poised to book a third trip to the Games.

The women's all-around winner gains an automatic spot on the team. Biles led the standings on 58.90 points after Friday's opening night, with Jordan Chiles, part of the US silver medal-winning team in Tokyo, in second on 56.400 and Tokyo all-around gold medallist Suni Lee in third on 56.025.