U.S. men's world gymnastics squad to be decided after eventful final day of competition

A selection committee, including high performance director Brett McClure, will decide the three men who will join Brody Malone and Donnell Whittenburg in England

4 min By Scott Bregman
(Picture by 2022 Getty Images)

The four days of competition to select the U.S. men's team for the 2022 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool, England, are over.

Now, the wait begins.

Wednesday (5 October) was the final day of USA Gymnastics' men's world selection camp at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to determine who will join Brody Malone and Donnell Whittenburg in England.

That duo locked their spots based off results of the U.S. championships in August and did not participate in the camp competition.

The remaining three team members, one traveling alternate, and two additional replacement athletes will be chosen by a selection committee that includes 2004 Olympic team silver medallist Brett McClure, the squad's high performance director. They'll look to put together the strongest five-man team with three solid scores on each apparatus to give the U.S. a shot at its first world team medal since 2014 and a ticket to Paris 2024.

One man who seems almost certainly headed for Liverpool is Colt Walker, the Stanford University junior who turned in two days of solid competition. His performance Wednesday was highlighted by a 14.950 score on the vault, the top score. He was also first parallel bars and third on still rings.

Choosing the final two members? Not as easy.

Asher Hong, who finished third at the U.S. championships and was the highest scorer in Monday's (3 October) competition, struggled on pommel horse, vault and parallel bars, opting to remove four high-scoring elements from his routine on the latter. How much will the final day of competition factor into the selection committee's decision is anyone's guess - though the selection procedures weigh them equal with the other three days that were far more solid for Hong.

At his best, Hong represents not only a medal threat on vault at the worlds but perhaps the next U.S. men's star. At 18, he's been the rare men's gymnast waiting in the junior wings and his debut senior season has included massive highlights.

2021 world pommel horse champion Stephen Nedoroscik made a strong case for himself Wednesday, as he delivered a 15.100 on his signature event. That score was 1.300 better than the second-best mark on the apparatus, but the committee will have to decide if that huge margin is enough to overcome that Nedoroscik only competes on a single event.

But then, there's Tokyo Olympians Shane Wiskus and Yul Moldauer.

Wiskus has steadily improved since a disappointing performance in early August at the U.S. Classic. He saved his best for the final day of selection competition, save a fall in the final rotation on the floor exercise, perhaps peaking at the right time. His 82.900 was the highest all-around total of the day, and he also posted top three finishes on vault and high bar.

Despite an error on his pommel horse dismount, Moldauer was also solid Wednesday. His floor exercise mark, a 14.200, was third best on the day when combined with Malone and Whittenburg's previous scores.

2022 NCAA all-around champion Paul Juda was the final competitor at the event. He missed the U.S. Classic and U.S. championships with injury and only competed on four events in Colorado Springs, skipping floor and vault. He recorded top-three finishes on three events: pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar.

The team selection announcement is expected later Wednesday.

The U.S. women will determine their World Championships team at a selection camp later this month in Houston, Texas. Competition there is scheduled for 21-22 October with U.S. champion Konnor McClain, runner-up Shilese Jones, and 2021 world all-around silver medallist Leanne Wong expected to take on Olympic floor champion Jade Carey and team silver medallist Jordan Chiles with berths to the squad on the line.

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