The US Olympic Gymnastics Trials 2021 is scheduled to take place from June 24 to June 27 at The BattleDome in St. Louis. A total of 18 women and 21 men will vie for spots to represent the United States of America at the Tokyo Olympics.
The USA has bagged a total of five spots for men at the Tokyo Olympics, the same as Japan, China, and Brazil, and are only behind the Russian Olympic Committee, who will be sending six. The top-ranked gymnast by the end of the US Olympic Gymnastics Trials 2021 will automatically qualify for the quadrennial extravaganza.
The second-ranked male gymnast also has a chance to make it through, provided he finishes in the top three in at least three events. The remaining three spots will be at the discretion of organizers and will be revealed post the conclusion of the US Olympic Gymnastics Trials 2021.
The battle for the automatic qualification berth will be between Brody Malone and Sam Mikulak. The former pipped the two-time Olympian and Yul Moldauer at the all-around event of the 2021 National Championships to finish at the top.
Mikulak was only able to finish first at the Horizontal bar and missed out on the podium spots from the remaining five events. But it is his balance of maintaining decent scores across all events that makes him a favorite.
Malone finished second in the Rings and Horizontal bar and missed out on a podium spot in the remaining four events at the Nationals. But like Mikulak, he too gives a balanced performance across all events.
Paul Juda: The unlikely favorite at US Olympic Gymnastics Trials 2021
Paul Juda is the dark horse entering the US Olympic Gymnastics Trials 2021. He was absent from the Nationals as he was busy helping the country clinch an additional spot at the Pan American Gymnastics Championships held the same week.
Juda finished second in the individual all-around event and was the only American to bag a podium finish in the individual events at Rio de Janeiro. Although it looks unlikely that he will bag the automatic qualification berth, one cannot count him out for the other spots.
The three competitors shouldn't take out the threat of Yul Moldauer either. He finished first in the Parallel Bars and third in the Floor and Rings at the Nationals. However, his poor performances in the Pommel Horse, Vault, and Horizontal bar led him to slip to second position in the all-around event.
Moldauer has managed to grab a podium finish in three events at the Nationals. It remains highly unlikely that the USA will field a team without him. All he needs to do is maintain his composure at the US Olympic Gymnastics Trials 2021.
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The USA hasn't won a gold medal in the men's events since 2004 when Paul Hamm finished first in the individual all-around. However, they will target a better performance than in 2016 when they came out with two silver medals and one bronze.