Plano-based Konnor McClain won the U.S. national all-around title last Sunday in Tampa, Florida. This is her second award this year: earlier in February, McClain won the all-around at USA Gymnastics’ Winter Cup held at The Star in Frisco. At seventeen years old, she is set to be a strong contender for the upcoming 2024 Olympics in Paris.
When she was eleven, McClain performed on the balance beam on Steve Harvey’s Little Big Shots talent show in 2016 and expressed her hopes of winning the all-around gold medal in the 2024 Olympics. Ever since then, she has become a rising star in elite gymnastics.
Born in Las Vegas and raised in West Virginia, McClain and her family moved to Plano in May of 2021 so she could train under famed coach Valeri Liukin at the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy.
At the August 21 competition in Florida, McClain earned the individual national title on balance beam with an average score of 14.450, which includes a world-leading 14.800 on her Friday performance. She made it to first place with a 112.750 combined score across the two-night competition.
According to the NBC, after recovering from a stress fracture in each shin, a concussion and the flu only two weeks ago, McClaine entered Sunday in second place, only 0.8 points behind leader Jones. But, after head-to-head performances, Jones fell in the final rotation, costing her a full-point deduction.
This is a much-deserved award for the athlete after a tumultuous 2021 for McClain. She broke her hand that June, which pulled her out of the Olympics contention, and in December, she faced the loss of two family members due to COVID-19.
Understandably, grief impacted her training, which is why, according to The Dallas Morning News, it was such a surprise when she won the all-around and balance beam titles in the Winter Cup in February.
In case you missed it, here’s Local Profile’s report on McKinney’s tennis rising star, Liv Hovde