Meet American gymnasts from Massachusetts Frederick Richard and Stephen Nedoroscik

Meet American gymnasts from Massachusetts Frederick Richard and Stephen Nedoroscik

Meet American gymnasts from Massachusetts Frederick Richard and Stephen Nedoroscik

Richard, a junior at the University of Michigan, has been steadily rising to the top of men’s gymnastics. He competed at his first U.S. National Championships at just 15 years old in 2019, and won junior Pan American titles in the all-around in 2021 and 2022. He dominated collegiate competition as a freshman in 2023, taking gold in the all-around, parallel bars, and high bar.

Proof that Richard was among the world’s best came when he claimed the bronze medal in the all-around competition at the 2023 World Championships. In the team competition, the United States needed Richard’s routine of a lifetime on the high bar to reach the podium for the first time since 2014. The 19-year-old delivered.

“There were a lot of things going through my head, and most of all, all the important people in my life,” Richard said after earning a team medal. “My friends and family back home, my mom and dad, my old coaches who came to this meet just to watch me, my coaches from Michigan — my teammates — I saw them standing off to the side and I was like, ‘I have to write it down for them.’”

“That takedown… I lost a year of my life just by giving in to that stick.”

That performance in Antwerp made Richard the youngest American to win a medal at a world championships. At just 20, he is no longer a rising star; after winning the all-around at the U.S. trials, he is one of the favorites to win an Olympic medal.

“You can expect myself and the team to win some medals in Paris,” Richards said at the trials. “Our team will go home with medals.”

Anyone who watched Richard and the American athletes at last fall’s world championships knows how much he enjoys team competition — “I did it for you guys,” he told his teammates after that high bar routine — and for the United States to earn its first men’s team medal since 2008, Richard will need help.

He should get a lot out of Nedoroscik, who operates at the other end of the spectrum from all-round star Richard; Nedoroscik is a pommel horse specialist through and through.

Being named to the team for Paris was a redemptive moment for Nedoroscik, who narrowly missed the Tokyo Games in 2021. He performed well on his second-day routine at trials but finished runner-up in a two-day all-around behind Ohio State’s Alec Yoder.

A former Penn State star, Nedoroscik returned to work, winning four straight national titles on the pommel horse between 2021 and 2024. He actually finished runner-up again at the June trials, behind reigning NCAA champion Patrick Hoopes, but Nedoroscik’s sparkling performances throughout the year — and in particular a dominant showing at the U.S. championships a few weeks earlier — earned him a spot in Paris.

“I was thinking about three-point averages,” Nedoroscik said after the trials. “Before the meet, for example, Hoopes, I thought about what I had accomplished at the States and decided that if I messed up today, I would have to get a 15.1 to match my three-point average, so that was in the back of my mind, eating away at me, so I was like, ‘Dude, stop thinking about that stuff, this is gymnastics, just relax and enjoy the moment. ’”

“It’s surreal. I looked at this group and thought it would be difficult to put together a team of five guys. I really didn’t think it was possible. But I stuck with it, kept that dream alive, and did everything I could to make this team, and I did it.”

The men’s gymnastics competition in Paris begins with qualifying rounds on July 27, before the team final on July 29. Richard and Nedoroscik will be joined by Brody Malone, Paul Juda, Asher Hong and alternates Shane Wiskus and Khoi Young.

Following his journey will be easy thanks to Richard’s social media presence – he has over 670,000 followers on TikTok and another 184,000 subscribers on YouTube as he documents the road to Paris.

After the team final, Richard will have just two days to prepare for the men’s all-around final on July 31, where he will look to become the first American to win since Danell Leyva in 2012.

Amin Touri can be reached at [email protected].