U.S. men's gymnastics team ends world championships medal drought

fter a 20-year hiatus, the U.S. men's gymnastics team won bronze in the world championships. Japan defeated reigning champion China by 1.8 points in Antwerp, Belgium, to win the global team title for the first time since 2015.

t the competition, a youthful U.S. team—19 (Asher Hong), 20 (Khoi youthful), and 19 (Fred Richard)—lived up to its medal hopes. Last year's bronze medalist, Great Britain, was 2.967 behind the Americans.

The U.S. earned their first Olympic or worlds team medal since 2014, breaking its worst drought since 1984–2001. From seventh at the Tokyo Olympics and last year's worlds.

A 15.1-point vault by Hong, the youngest U.S. men's all-around champion since 1989, was the Americans' best. In their last event, high bar, they sent up three worlds rookies and won bronze after overcoming a shaky pommel horse, their characteristic weak apparatus.

"We always like to say, the real gymnasts show up fifth and sixth event," said Young, this year's breakthrough star after withdrawing from last year's championships in 10th place due to injury. I was scared since I'm not a high-bar guy. But these folks supported me."

The only Olympic-experienced team member, Yul Moldauer, 27, became the oldest U.S. man to win a world medal in 20 years.

"I could tell when we talked about lineups a couple days before, just the look that they [my teammates] had at me," Moldauer said of starting the night with him on floor exercise first. "I thought, this is my job, and if I can do a good set and start the ball rolling, these guys will go out there confident."

Without 2021 and 2022 national all-around champion Brody Malone, the Americans stood on the podium. After his March 18 high bar dismount crash, he aims to return early next year following at least three right leg operations.

The U.S. hopes Malone's comeback and this young group's development will help it challenge China and Japan at the Paris Olympics. Since 2004, the U.S. has trailed those two at every Olympics or worlds.

Russian gymnasts won the Tokyo Olympics, but Russia missed the Paris Games qualification deadline owing to its ban after the Ukraine invasion. In Russia's absence, Ukraine qualified 12th and final for the Olympics.

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