The U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials begin Thursday night in St. Louis, with the men’s competition kicking things off on night one.
Unlike on the women’s side, where there are clear frontrunners for three of the four athletes likely to be selected to compete in the team event in Tokyo, the men’s side has a lot more uncertainty. The top finisher in the all-around competition automatically qualifies for Tokyo, and provided the runner-up finishes in the top three on three of the six apparatuses, he will automatically qualify as well. The rest of the team will be selected by committee, as will the one additional individual competitor.
Names to watch on Day 1
Two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak, who is retiring after Tokyo, is the only competitor with Olympic experience (though Akash Modi was an alternate in 2016). The six-time all-around national champion struggled on the opening day of the U.S. Championships, ending the day in seventh, but ended up third overall after a stellar second day. He’s still expected to make the Olympic team, and if he does, Mikulak will be the first U.S. gymnast to compete in three Olympics since Blaine Wilson in 2004.
Brody Malone, who became the 2021 all-around national champion at his first ever senior national championships, appears to also be in line for an Olympic berth. The two-time all-around NCAA Champion dazzled at Nationals even after falling on his first event.
Yul Moldauer, the 2017 all-around national champion, finished second at the last three U.S. Championships, making him a highly reliable candidate for the Tokyo team. He was also the 2017 world bronze medalist on floor exercise and just missed out on a floor medal in 2018.
Shane Wiskus, a 2019 Worlds team member, came into the year as a strong candidate for Tokyo. He was second going into the 11th of 12 events at Nationals, but fell off the high bar three times and ended up ninth overall.
Akash Modi, a 2016 alternate, is in need of a strong performance if he wants to make his first Olympic squad outright. Modi has also been a reliable fixture of U.S. men's gymnastics in recent years, finishing in the top six at every U.S. Championships since 2016.
Other candidates for the team include Brandon Briones, Allan Bower, Stephen Nedoroscik and Alec Yoder.
Mikulak and Wiskus will begin the competition on vault, while Moldauer will be on the parallel bars and Modi and Malone on the high bar.