By Christy Sandmaier

In the summer of 2020, Yul Moldauer told Inside Gymnastics, “A year more is a year to get better.” He spoke about having the right motivation at the right time and of getting Team USA’s leader and six-time national champion Sam Mikulak some hardware to take home from Tokyo, noting,Especially because it’s Sam’s last year. I want Sam to end on hardware. I want us as a team to be on that podium and I’m going to do everything I can to get us there. That is my mission.”

That mission takes shape for real starting in Fort Worth this week. Mikulak will go for his seventh national title and ticket to Olympic Trials which all seems like nothing short of a certainty right now. It’s about appreciating the moment this time for Mikulak, who has said this will be his last U.S. Championships. “I need to revel in the glory of this competition once again and just make it more fun.” 

Over the course of the last several years, Mikulak’s mindset has evolved in terms of his approach to competition, which he credits for his 12-for-12 showing at the 2019 Championships. Mikulak says in the early days, he sometimes got ahead of himself in competition. Then, over time, he placed too many expectations on himself. Reflecting back, he says, “In Rio, I was putting way too much pressure on myself and not getting that light hearted, ‘hey, you (need to) trust yourself, have fun with it, find that enjoyment within the competition’ rather than weighing yourself down with the pressure of expectations.”

Mikulak strives to give himself every opportunity to be as prepared as possible for the 2021 Olympics, where he’ll be the instrumental leader for team USA. With high hopes for the team, strong individual aspirations and experience on his side, Mikulak feels well prepared for this final run to the Games where his teammates will surely be looking to him to set the pace.

For Moldauer, it means getting back out there and putting on a show, hitting sets and getting ready for his first Olympic Games. Remember, in 2016, he finished fifth in the U.S. Olympic Trials but was left off the squad. Perhaps too new, too unknown to the international stage and the selection committee. By 2017, he was a World bronze medalist on floor with a U.S. National All-around title and his first of three consecutive American Cup titles. After a stellar career competing for the Sooners and racking up 18 All-America honors, three consecutive team titles from 2016-2018 and being honored with the Nissen-Emery Award in 2019, as well as a successful outing to Worlds in Stuttgart, Moldauer was set to make 2020 his best year yet. When everyone hit pause for the pandemic, Moldauer used that time as so many athletes did to get better, push harder and refocus.

So now, here we are. June 2021 and the U.S. Championships are ready to roll. Moldauer’s motivation for 2021 truly exemplifies his character, and his passion for his sport. “You have to think,” he told he us last summer, “now we’re back to 10 months out, we’re back to nine months out and you know, let’s be solid.”

Now, he remains grateful for every opportunity and every learning experience to lead him to his ultimate goals. And if the timing is right this time, a spot on the podium with his team in Tokyo. “I’m going to give it 200, 300, 500% of what I can because I’m not going to let anything stop me.” 

Mikulak and Moldauer should see their dream to go to Tokyo to fruition, barring injury. The rest of the field will be fighting for the final spots on the team and will need to make their mark starting here in Fort Worth. Shane Wiskus, Brody Malone, Akash Modi and Allan Bower are among the field looking for podium spots and hit routines. Also most likely factoring into the team selection process, but currently in Rio for the Pan American Gymnastics Championships, are Paul Juda, Cameron Bock, and Donnell Whittenburg

With Pan Ams taking place and the U.S. sending a delegation, USA Gymnastics has stated they will now use only results from the Olympic Trials for the Automatic Selection spot(s) for the U.S. Men’s Olympic Team. So, as always we’re in for a wild ride as we look towards who will be named to four-person squad and any individual spots. And, beyond Mikulak and Moldauer, we think it’s anyone’s game.

Click Here for Inside Gymnastics‘ Preview in our 2021 U.S. Championships Event Section Including a Breakdown of the Men’s and Women’s Fields

How To Watch the Men’s Competition:

The below competition schedule is subject to change. All sessions are listed in central time.

  • Thursday, June 3: Men’s gymnastics – 1:00 p.m., juniors, and 6:30 p.m., seniors
  • Saturday, June 5: Men’s gymnastics – 1:00 p.m., juniors, and 6:30 p.m., seniors

TV Broadcasts – all times ET.
June 3 – 8:00 p.m. ET – Senior Men Day 1 – Olympic Channel NBCSN (Live); NBCSN 10:30Pm (re-air)
June 5 – 8:00 p.m. ET – Senior Men Day 2 – NBCSN (Live)
June 6 – 2:00 p.m. ET – Senior Men Day 2 – NBC (re-air)

Webcasts
All four senior competitions will be streamed in the U.S. on http://nbcsports.com/live. Cable login required.

All senior routines will be posted to the USA Gymnastics YouTube channel following each session.

All junior competitions, and international feeds of all four senior competitions will be streamed on FloGymnastics.

Who’s Competing

Men’s National Teams will be named following the conclusion of the U.S. Gymnastics Championships.

Per the roster released by USA Gymnastics May 29 (stay tuned for updates!):

Men’s Competition

Arizona

Allan Bower, Chandler, Ariz., University of Oklahoma, senior

Brandon Briones, Gilbert, Ariz., Stanford University, senior

Maxwell Odden, Scottsdale, Ariz., North Valley Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Joseph Pepe, Peoria, Ariz., North Valley Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

California

Donothan Bailey, Lake Forest, Calif., U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, senior

Jeremy Bischoff, Canyon County, Calif., Stanford University, senior

Arun Chhetri, Culver City, Calif., Gymnastics Olympica USA, Level 10 junior elite

Adrian De Los Angeles, Long Beach, Calif., U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, senior

Ryan McVay, Roseville, Calif., U.S. Naval Academy, senior

Sam Mikulak, Newport Coast, Calif., U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, senior

Toma Murakawa, Van Nuys, Calif., Gymnastics Olympica USA, Level 10 junior elite

Troy Nuesca, Thousand Oaks, Calif., Gymnastics Olympica USA, Level 10 junior elite

Vahe Petrosyan, Van Nuys, Calif., Gymnastics Olympica USA, Level 10 junior elite

Cailen Walker, Hercules, Calif., Head Over Heels, Level 10 junior elite

Timothy Wang, Riverside, Calif., USAF Academy, senior

Colorado

Taylor Burkhart, Morrison, Colo., 5280 Gymnastics, senior

Asher Cohen, Lakewood, Colo., 5280 Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Yul Moldauer, Arvada, Colo., 5280 Gymnastics, senior

Brandon Wynn, Golden, Colo., Ohio State, senior

Florida

Crew Bold, Delray Beach, Fla., University of Minnesota, senior

Denis Irimiea, Hallandale, Fla., Florida Gymnastics Training Center, Level 10 junior elite

Dylan Shepard, Windermere, Fla., Gymnastics USA, Level 10 junior elite

Georgia

Chase Davenport-Mills, Johns Creek, Ga., Roswell Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Toby Liang, Roswell, Ga., Roswell Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Danilo Viciana, Marietta, Ga., Cartersville Twisters, Level 10 junior elite

Illinois

Alex Diab, Glen Ellyn, Ill., University of Illinois, senior

Jack Gagamov, Mundelein, Ill., Libertyville Gymnastics Academy, Level 10 junior elite

Tai Gopaul, Buffalo Grove, Ill., Lakeshore Academy of Art Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Michael Paradise, Bartlett, Ill., University of Illinois, senior

Rithik Puri, Chicago, Ill., Lakeshore Academy of Art Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Kai Uemura, Chicago, Ill., Lakeshore Academy of Art Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Ryan Vanichtheeranont, Plainfield, Ill., Premier Gymnastics Academy West, Level 10 junior elite

Nathan York, Plainfield, Ill., Premier Gymnastics Academy West, Level 10 junior elite

Indiana

Alec Yoder, Indianapolis, Ind., Ohio State, senior

 Maryland

Khoi Young, Bowie, Md., Sportsplex Gymnastics, senior

 Massachusetts

Ian Lasic-Ellis, Dover, Mass., Massachusetts Elite Gymnastics Academy, senior

Stephen Nedoroscik, Worcester, Mass., Penn State University, senior

Fred Richard, Stoughton, Mass., Massachusetts Elite Gymnastics Academy, Level 10 junior elite

Michigan

Landen Blixt, Fowlerville, Mich., infinity Gymnastics Academy, Level 10 junior elite

Minnesota

Michael Moran, Minneapolis, Minn., University of Minnesota, senior

Shane Wiskus, Spring Park, Minn., U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, senior

New Hampshire

Mike Fletcher, Nashua, N.H., University of Illinois, senior

New Jersey

Hasan Aydogdu, Carlstadt, N.J., Meadowlands Gymnastics Academy, Level 10 junior elite

Akash Modi, Morganville, N.J., Stanford University, senior

New York

Eddie Penev, Penfield, N.Y., U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, senior

Ohio

Trevor Howard, Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State, senior

Oklahoma

Gage Dyer, Yukon, Okla., University of Oklahoma, senior

Ignacio Yockers, Tulsa, Okla., Pride Gymnastics Academy, Level 10 junior elite

Pennsylvania

Joshua Karnes, Erie, Pa., Lakettes Gymnastic Academy, Level 10 junior elite

Landon Simpson, Bellefonte, Pa., Centre Elite Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Genki Suzuki, North Wales, Pa., University of Oklahoma, senior

Tennessee

Brody Malone, Belfast, Tenn., Stanford University, senior

Alexandru Nitache, Knoxville, Tenn., GymTek Academy, Level 10 junior elite

Texas

Caden Clinton, Cypress, Texas, Cypress Academy of Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Evan Davis, Houston, Texas, University of Iowa, senior

Ian Gunther, Houston, Texas, Stanford University, senior

Dallas Hale, Frisco, Texas, WOGA Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Asher Hong, Tomball, Texas, Cypress Academy of Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Xander Hong, Tomball, Texas, Cypress Academy of Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Cameron Lee, Frisco, Texas, WOGA Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Kiran Mandava, Cypress, Texas, Cypress Academy of Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Vishal Mandava, Cypress, Texas, Cypress Academy of Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Logan McKeown, Austin, Texas, Crenshaw Athletic Club, Level 10 junior elite

Ian Sandoval, Frisco, Texas, WOGA Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

David Shamah, Frisco, Texas, WOGA Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Aaron Stein, Houston, Texas, Houston Gymnastics Center of the JCC, Level 10 junior elite

Erich Upton, Richmond, Texas, Iron Cross Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Colt Walker, Cedar Park, Texas, Stanford University, senior

Matt Wenske, Houston, Texas, University of Oklahoma, senior

Bryan Woffinden, League City, Texas, Thorntons Gymnastics Center, Level 10 junior elite

Dave Wolma, Cypress, Texas, Cypress Academy of Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Utah

Emmit Glover, Saratoga Springs, Utah, All American Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Cole Partridge, Bountiful, Utah, USA Gymnastics World, Level 10 junior elite

Virginia

Caleb Melton, Woodbridge, Va., Apollo Gymnastics, Level 10 junior elite

Kiwan Watts, Richmond, Va., Arizona State, senior

Washington

Nicolas Kuebler, Seattle, Wash., Metropolitan Gymnastics, senior

Wisconsin

Robert Neff, Brookfield, Wis., U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, senior

Photos by Lloyd Smith and Ricardo Bufolin for Inside Gymnastics

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