US gymnasts Hurd, Moldauer capture gold at American Cup
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) Americans Morgan Hurd and Yul Moldauer won all-around gold medals Saturday at the America Cup, the first major international gymnastics competition of 2018.
Hurd is a 16-year-old high school junior from Middletown, Delaware. She won her second major international all-around title with a consistent performance, outscoring runner-up Mai Murakami of Japan 56.599-55.633.
Hurd is 4-foot-5 and wears eyeglasses when she competes because contacts hurt her eyes. She also won gold on the beam and tied for top honors on the floor and bars. She took the all-around at the world championships in Montreal in October.
”I definitely took a lot away from worlds,” Hurd said. ”I definitely feel a lot calmer and I focus on staying in the moment. … Now coming in a lot more is expected of me but I’m ready for it.”
The 21-year-old Moldauer is the reigning national champion from Norman, Oklahoma. He completed the U.S. sweep, winning the men’s all-around while placing in the top three in all six events to repeat his 2017 American Cup championship.
The American Cup comes at a time when USA Gymnastics is in crisis. The organization is reeling from the conviction of former national team doctor Larry Nassar, who will spend the rest of his life in prison on charges ranging from sexual molestation to possession of child pornography.
More than 200 women, including reigning Olympic champion Simone Biles and six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman, have come forward over the last 18 months to reveal they were victims of his abuse.
USA Gymnastics removed its entire board of directors in January under pressure by the U.S. Olympic Committee. Raisman filed a lawsuit against both organizations, contending they allowed Nassar’s behavior to run unchecked.
”It has impacted us as gymnasts a little, but we’re sticking together as gymnasts toward our goals,” Hurd said. ”We’re just focusing on our gymnastics and that’s it. We’re not trying to focus on what’s happening. We just want to do our job and get our goals done.”
Kerry Perry, who took over as president and CEO of USA Gymnastics in December, made a videotaped statement played on an arena screen before the start of the event.
Perry highlighted several ”bold decisions and actions” taken by USA Gymnastics in her 90 days on the job, including closing the national team training center known as Karolyi Ranch and creating an assistance fund for survivors of sexual abuse and a toll-free hotline to report abuse.
Two-time U.S. junior champion Maile O’Keefe placed third in the all-around in her first senior event. O’Keefe, who turned 16 on Feb. 26, tied for first on the vault with Murakami.
”Today was decent,” O’Keefe said. ”It wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t my best showing. Minor, silly mistakes in my opinion.”