Cameron Bock was the surprise all-around winner at USA Gymnastics' Winter Cup Friday (26 February). The University of Michigan senior held off Stanford University's Riley Loos and 2017 U.S. all-around champion Yul Moldauer to take the men's title.
Bock, who helped Team USA to a silver medal at the 2019 Pan American Games, earned an all-around score of 84.150. Loos was less than a point behind at 83.250, while Moldauer tallied 82.600 for third.
"[It's] definitely surprising but I’ve been working for something like this," said Bock afterward. "Saw I was leading after three or four events and knew just had to keep it going."
Six-time U.S. champion and two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak did not participate at the event after missing training time late last year while he quarantined when his fiancé contracted COVID-19.
The Winter Cup is the first elite gymnastics competition held in the United States since last year's American Cup (7 March 2020) and the event, held at the Indiana Convention Center, was not open to the public.
The competition comes a day after the death by suicide of 2012 Olympic head coach John Geddert, who hours earlier was indicated on 24 criminal charges including human trafficking, criminal sexual conduct and lying to police. Disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar had long standing ties to Geddert, having been accused of assaulting athletes at Geddert's gym for decades.
In 2018, Nassar pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 10 minors in a Michigan court and is currently serving a sentence of up to 175 years in prison.
"This morning, we had hoped that news of the criminal charges being brought against John Geddert would lead to justice through the legal process," USA Gymnastics said in a statement. "With the news of his death by suicide, we share the feelings of shock, and our thoughts are with the gymnastics community as they grapple with the complex emotions of today’s events."
Start and stop
Unlike many in the field Bock has already gotten some competitive experience in 2021, competing in three NCAA meets with his Wolverines.
But even that hasn't been consistent: a coronavirus outbreak among the Michigan athletic department forced a two-week pause in late January.
"That's the toughest part of this entire season and honestly since the initial lockdown in March or so," said Bock. "It's been tough. We had that two-week shutdown and me and the rest of the Michigan gymnastics team, we were forced to do Zoom cardio circuit and strength and conditioning circuits at home. The guys stayed really motivated and helped me push towards this."
Friday night, he earned scores of 13.850, floor exercise; 14.300, pommel horse; 14.100, still rings; 14.350, vault; 14.150, parallel bars; and 13.400, horizontal bar.
"I was just happy because I had kind of kept myself level and not let the standings or where I was sitting affect me," Bock said of his final performance of the night on the still rings. "I was just hitting sets. I did exactly what I have been training in the gym and it finally came through. I was just happy that I finally kind of put all the puzzle pieces together."