American gymnast Fred Richard became the first American male in 13 years to win a world gymnastics championship all-around medal, taking home the bronze medal.
He is also the youngest American man to win an Olympic or world all-around medal at the age of 19. NBC Sports reported that during the competition, Richard fell on his final routine, high bar, and it looked like it would cost him a medal, but he still finished third behind Ukraine’s Ilia Kovtun and Japan’s Daiki Hashimoto, who took the gold medal.
“Just happy that the hard work finally paid off… You know this work wasn’t just me, it was my friends and family, and my coaches all put together to bring this medal home to the US,” he expressed to Antwerp2023 after the event, according to Essentially Sports.
Since Jonathan Horton’s bronze medal-winning performance in 2010, Richard is the first American male to win a global all-around medal. The athlete also made history by becoming the first American man since 2003’s Paul Hamm to win bronze medals in both the team and all-around competitions at a single world championship and the first to ever accomplish this feat at an international competition.
Richard, who won the U.S. junior all-around title in 2021, was a potential candidate for the senior 2022 World team but lost out since he participated in a junior international tournament earlier in 2022. In the same year, a gymnast is not permitted to compete in junior and senior international competitions.
As a Michigan freshman in April, the Stoughton native won the NCAA all-around championship, and in August, he finished third at the U.S. Championships.
Richard joins the ranks of legends like Paul Hamm (Gold, 2003), Kurt Thomas (Silver, 1979), and Jonathan Horton (Bronze, 2010) as one of four American men to win a World all-around medal with a bronze medal, according to USA Gymnastics.
He is also the first American male to earn a team and an all-around medal since 2003 (Hamm; team silver, all-around gold), and the first since Hall of Famer Danell Leyva (team bronze, parallel bars silver; 2014) to win multiple medals at a World Championships.
The record-setting teen shared that he is glad his hard work has manifested this way. “When I go to the gym every day, I am happy because I know I am working towards getting medals. And when it pays off, it’s just the greatest thing. But the journey itself was just as fun because I was happy the whole time and committed to getting this,” he told Gymnastics now, according to Sportskeeda.