Plano’s Konnor McClain, a rising talent in the world of gymnastics, claimed the all-around title at the 2022 U.S. Gymnastics Championship in Tampa, Florida, on Sunday.
Over two nights of competition, the 17-year-old McClain totaled a combined score of 112.750.
Entering Sunday, McClain was trailing Seattle’s Shilese Jones, who had a meager 0.8 points lead. After a mistake during the first rotation, Jones fell behind McClain. However, Jones had caught up to sit only 0.5 points behind McClain heading into the final round.
With an almost flawless set of tumbles, McClain locked in an excellent score. Jones responded with an equally extravagant set until an unfortunate slip caused her a full point deduction. With hugs from teammates, McClain accepted the victory in her typical fashion, with a humble nod and smile.
“This is honestly one of the most amazing things in my career so far,” she told NBC. “It’s so unreal, and I honestly just can’t believe it still. It seems so crazy.”
McClain, considered a prodigy by many, has been making headlines since she was 11 when she performed on Steve Harvey’s Little Big Shots.
The gymnast was able to pull off the win despite a recent rocky spot in her career, nursing fractured shins and coming off of an illness and a concussion a month before.
Last spring, she abruptly moved from West Virginia’s Revolution Gymnastics gym to Frisco’s World Olympic Gymnastics Academy. Behind McClain followed her family, picking up everything to make a move across the country.
Last winter, McClain also tragically lost her father and grandmother, leaving her debilitated with grief during peak training time. At one point, she viewed herself as the “most garbage gymnast ever.”
McClain’s win last weekend helps secure her place at the world championships this fall in Liverpool, England. An October training camp will officially solidify whether or not she continues to the world championships, although her coaches have paced her training in expectation of going to Liverpool.