Suburban gymnast Paul Juda named to US Gymnastics team for 2024 Paris Olympics

The quiet and unassuming Juda broke down in tears multiple times in the aftermath

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The Chicago area will be well represented on the U.S. Gymnastics team for the 2024 Paris Games after a suburban athlete was named to the roster: Paul Juda.

A Deerfield native, Juda secured his ticket to Paris during this weekend's trials, alongside now-Olympic teammates Fred Richard, Brody Malone, Asher Hong and Stephen Nedoroscik. It marked a major victory for Juda, who fell just short of making the 2020 Tokyo Olympic team at the last trials.

Nine months after earning a bronze at the 2023 world championships — the men's program's first at a major international competition in nearly a decade — Juda and the rest of the Americans believe they're capable of even more this summer.

The Americans have spent the last three years overhauling their program after finishing well off the podium at the Tokyo Olympics. They revamped their scoring system, offering bonus points at domestic meets for athletes who attempted more challenging skills.

Juda and Hong, members of last year's world championship team, will join Malone and Richard as the core of what will be a relatively young American team. Nedoroscik is 25. Malone is 24. Juda turns 23 on July 7. Richard and Hong are all of 20.

The quiet and unassuming Juda broke down in tears multiple times in the aftermath.

"I only had one goal, and it was to hit all my routines and leave here healthy," Juda told NBC at the trials. "So, I'm happy to do that and more. Go, Team USA!"

Speaking to reporters about his selection, Juda acknowledged the raw emotion he felt hearing his name called.

"I was the first name called, and the second I heard 'Pa—,' I started crying right away," Juda said.

Beyond competing in Paris, the selection marks another moment Juda has been waiting for -- the moment he gets to check "becoming an Olympian" off his vision board.

"I'm really glad that I wrote on my whiteboard ‘Become an Olympian,'" Juda said, still visibly emotional. "I had fell short on a couple other goals that I wrote on that whiteboard and I was starting to think if I should erase the one that said Olympian because I guess maybe it won't come true. But I’m going home and I’m putting a massive check mark on there, and I'm glad that it went there, that I kept it there."

Now, he'll have to write a new goal on his board -- one he told NBC Chicago before the trials he would aim for if he made the team: Olympic medalist.

"The more I look forward to the Olympics, the more I realize it's awesome to become an Olympian, but there's a whole other upper echelon of athletes that leave being a medalist," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report
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