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Winter Cup: Kayla DiCello takes gold in first major US gymnastics meet of year

Kayla DiCello allowed herself to sit and chill after a better-than-expected start to her season. Olympic champion Sunisa Lee was a bit steamed at herself for literally missing the high bar she set – twice, in fact.

DiCello seized the accolades projected for some of her higher-profile counterparts by winning the uneven bars and floor exercise on the way to the all-around title at the USA Gymnastics Winter Cup on Saturday with an overall score of 56.850. Skye Blakely scored 54.650 for silver while WOGA teammate Hezly Rivera took the bronze with 54.000.

Former NCAA all-around champion Trinity Thomas was fourth at 53.250.

Meanwhile, Lee tried to keep things in perspective after falling twice on the bars – her specialty – on a day she hoped would lay the path toward getting a skill named for her.

Jump-starting a quest for an Olympic return at this summer’s Paris Games was also on the table for the 2020 all-around champion, especially after battling a kidney-related health issue that halted her college career at Auburn. Both goals remain, but Lee has work ahead.

“It’s good that it happened here rather than somewhere else,” Lee said. “It’s just annoying because that was the first one that I missed. So, that’s what makes it so bad. But it’s fine. I have time and I know that I can do it and I can hit it every single time. … We just have to work on that.”

The Winter Cup was the first major American gymnastics competition for the 2024 season. It was expected to mark the return of 2012 Olympic champion Gabby Douglas after eight years away, but she withdrew on Thursday after testing positive for Covid-19.

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