DiCello, Wong Slated for All-Around for the U.S. Women

It’s almost showtime in Kitakyushu, Japan and the stage is set for what should be another thrilling World Championships! It’s not very often that an Olympic Games and World Championships are held just months apart, but with many Tokyo favorites retired or taking a break after the Games, or only competing a couple of events, the door is wide open for new faces to shine and new champions to emerge!

Today, the FIG Start List confirmed the lineup for Team USA for Qualifications. The U.S. Women will compete in the third of 10 Subdivisions beginning at 12 a.m. EST on Monday.

UB: Frazier, Wong, DiCello

BB: Wong, DiCello, McClain

FX: Frazier, DiCello, Wong

VT: McClain, Wong, DiCello

Team USA at a Glance

For the past eight years, Simone Biles and Sam Mikulak have been the face of gymnastics in the United States. However, with Biles currently touring the country with no further competition plans announced, and Mikulak recently retired, some fresh faces will have the opportunity to step up in Kitakyushu—setting the pace for the next Olympic cycle and the next generation of Team USA. The women’s team features four first-time World team members loaded with talent and potential. 2020 Olympic alternates Leanne Wong and Kayla DiCello will lead the pack as the most experienced members on the women’s side and perhaps the U.S.’s best hope for an All-Around medal.

Both Wong and DiCello have high scoring potential if they can put together four events. DiCello is the 2019 Junior National All-Around Champion as well as the 2019 Junior World Champion on vault, while Wong is the 2018 Junior National All-Around Champion and 2019 American Cup Champion. DiCello in particular looked strong in the selection camp earning the automatic berth after day one as well as in podium training here, while Wong has the potential for one of the top-scoring floor routines if she hits and performs the way we know she can. They will be joined by Konnor McClain, who is a two-time junior national champion on beam, and eMjae Frazier who was a part of the gold medal winning team at the 2020 Friendship and Solidarity meet. McClain could be the U.S. team’s best hope for a medal on beam while Frazier will strive to get into the floor final and bring home a medal there. With a mixed level of international experience, selection camp results, and a bit of a rough go in podium training for McClain and Frazier in particular, it will be interesting to say the least to see the lineup high-performance coordinator Tom Forster puts together for Qualifications.

On the men’s side, 2020 Olympian Yul Moldauer and two-time World team member Donnell Whittenburg both just so happen to be individual World bronze medalists (Moldauer on floor in 2017 and Whittenburg on vault in 2015) and have a great opportunity to do it again in 2021. There is no shortage of talent for the U.S. men with three Olympians on the team, including 2021 U.S. All-Around Champion Brody Malone and 2020 Olympic pommel horse finalist Alec Yoder. Malone, along with Moldauer, have great potential to win an All-Around medal, which hasn’t happened for the U.S. men since Jonathan Horton won bronze in 2010. Pommel horse is where Yoder comes in. The horse has long been thought of as a weak event for the U.S. men, but with Yoder, who was sixth in the pommel horse final in Tokyo, and 2021 U.S. pommel horse champion Stephen Nedoroscik, the U.S. could put up a good fight for a medal on that event. Rounding out the team is 2020 Olympic alternate Alex Diab who is the reigning U.S. still rings national champion and could contend for a medal there.

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Photos by Lloyd Smith for Inside Gymnastics

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