ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – How often does an athlete’s journey start on hooves instead of feet?
In the backroads of Elizabethton, Brody Malone found a love for rodeo.
“Where we lived back in the holler at least it was kind of secluded and stuff, I kinda got the same vibe from where we lived in Summerville,” Malone said.
Summerville, Georgia became his new home at five years old, but before his family left the Tri-Cities, he hopped off the saddle and onto parallel bars, high bars and rings. He picked up gymnastics when he was three.
“I think I was just one of those energetic kids kind of bouncing off the walls, and it was something for me to do to get some energy out of me.,” Malone said.
He is now on the Stanford men’s gymnastics team, winning two NCAA team championships, while he’s won five individual championships in all-around, floor and high bars.
Now, he’s headed to the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer as the No. 1 after winning the men’s team gymnastics trials. Malone has had quite a career that started with his mom finding a way for this kid to get some energy out.
“Let’s see, my mom put me in when I was three, and then I kind of just stuck it out and kept going with it ever since then, and I’d say ever since I was about eight or nine I dreamed of going to the Olympics,” Malone said.
Malone’s mother got him to pick up the sport, which makes it even more heartbreaking that she won’t be able to watch him do it at the highest level. Tracy Malone passed away from breast cancer when he was just 12.
“I miss her like crazy, I think about her every day, it’s definitely a little emotional, but I don’t like to show emotions,” Malone said.
But she’s still there at every one of Brody’s meets: the pink bandana there on his backpack. From his days in the Tri-Cities to now, she’s always been there.
“I think my dad gave it to me a couple of years ago, and I always keep it on my bag during competitions just so she’s always with me,” Malone said.