GYMNASTICS: Wong, 15, surprises with American Cup win; Moldauer repeats as men’s winner

American Cup champion Leanne Wong

The annual American Cup gymnastics meet is often the coming-out party for new talent. So it was this year as Leanne Wong, the reigning U.S. Junior Champion, made her senior debut against two World Championships medalists … and won!

Wong, all of 15 years old, won the Vault (14.666) and Beam (14.066) and finished fourth on the Uneven Bars (14.100) and second on Floor (13.933) to total 56.765, a full 3/10ths better than fellow American Grace McCallum. The latter finished second (Vault, Beam) or third (Bars, Floor) to clinch the silver medal.

The two Worlds medalists – 2018 silver winner Mai Murakami (JPN) and 2017 silver medalist Ellie Black (CAN) tied for third. Murakami won the Floor at 14.133 and Germany’s Kim Bui took the honors on the Bars at 14.400.

“I think it went better than I expected,” Wong said. “My goal was to hit all my routines, and I hit all four. I was a little nervous at first, but as soon as I got started, I felt the same as I always do.”

McCallum, 16, was happy to have introduced a new Floor routine. “I really liked my last routine, but I think this one fits me a little better,” she said. “I started doing my last one when I was 13. It was a little more cutesy. This one is a little more serious and upbeat and has the crowd going.”

The men’s competition saw Yul Moldauer defend his American Cup title from 2018, winning by just 0.001 over reigning national champ Sam Mikulak.

Between the two, they won five of the six events: Moldauer won the Vault (14.733) and Parallel Bars (14.966), while Mikulak won the Floor (14.733), Pommel Horse (14.433) and High Bar (14.166). Yue Ma of China won the Rings at 14.333.

Moldauer was second on Floor and Rings and even with a tie for fifth on the High Bar, managed a 85.932 total, 1/1,000th of a point better than Mikulak, whose downfall may have been his sixth on the Parallel Bars. Summaries:

USA Gymnastics/American Cup
Greensboro, North Carolina (USA) ~ 2 March 2019
(Full results here)

Men’s All-Around: 1. Yul Moldauer (USA), 85.932; 2. Sam Mikulak (USA), 85.931; 3. Yue Ma (CHN), 84/465; 4. Petro Pakhniuk (UKR), 82.864; 5. James Hall (GBR), 82.698; 6. Christian Baumann (SUI), 81.631; 7. Bart Deurloo (BEL), 76.932.

Women’s All-Around: 1. Leanne Wong (USA), 56.765; 2. Grace McCallum (USA), 56.465; 3. tie, Ellie Black (CAN) and Mai Murakami (JPN), 55.732; 5. Kim Bui (GER), 54.199; 6. Yufei Lu (CHN), 51.699; 7. Sanna Veerman (NED), 50.765; 8. Celia Seber (FRA), 49.798.