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Fred Richard makes history at World Gymnastics Championships

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Fred Richard makes history, becoming the first American since 2010 to earn an All-Around medal in the World Gymnastics Championships. Claiming his second medal in Antwerp, Belgium, Richard brings honor to himself, Team USA, and the culture. 

Upon his arrival at the 2023 World Gymnastics Championships, Richard outlined three primary objectives: to maintain his health, enjoy the experience, and execute his gymnastics routines smoothly. 

On the floor exercise, Fred Richard opened his World Gymnastics Championship All-Around event debut on the floor exercise. With only a few miner hops here and there, like a veteran, he settled into the routine and stuck the landing on his full-in dismount.

Richard ranked first after the first rotation with a 14.633; he also earned the highest floor routine score of the competition.

As the event progressed, Fred Richard kept his eyes on the prize, staying calm and focused. He survived the pommel horse (13.733), still rings (13.500), and parallel bars (14.600). Subsequent to those strength events, he delivered the third-highest vault score during the competition (14.566). 

A Radical Hope after a Fall 

Richard was holding on to second place but fell on his last event — high bar. 

Describing the moment, Richard said: “So, I entered high bar, saying, I’m pretty healthy. So, we’re doing good. Right now, it’s just time to have fun for the final event. Then, I fell off on that coleman.” Richard said that after the fall, he turned to his coach and said, “You know — it’s not over yet.” He finished his routine effortlessly. 

Nevertheless, he lost a full point for the fall and earned a 13.300 on the high bar. Richard was in fifth place.

But fate would find him when a Chinese gymnast caved to the pressure on the pommel horse and a Japanese gymnast peeled off the high bar, opening the door for Fred Richard to make history. 

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Fred Richard makes history 

19-year-old Fred Richard becomes the first Black American to earn an All-Around men’s artistic medal at a world gymnastics championship. He also becomes the youngest individual men’s world medalist in US History. 

Upon arriving at the 2023 World Gymnastics Championships, Richard said he had three goals. “stay healthy, have fun, and do smooth gymnastics.” He certainly achieved them. 

Fred’s Next Goal

Fredrick says his next goal is to bring home a gold medal, but he’s humbled by his first world championship medal.

“I’m so excited to have this medal. I gotta thank my number one and my parents, my coaches.” He also thanked his teammates at the University of Michigan. 

Fred Richard’s next chance to make more history is in the individual event competition, where he’ll have a shot at bringing home the gold. 

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