Donnell Whittenburg was hurting.
Aloft on the parallel bars, he had glided through the first couple moves of his routine somewhat cleanly. He had picked a challenging one, rated a 6.300. There was none tougher in the 30-man field at the U.S. gymnastics championships on the opening Thursday night in August at Boston’s TD Garden.
But when he moved into the handstand, his muscle-thick arms began to stiffen. He swayed forward.
“I just tried to shift my hand up a little bit so like I could catch my balance, but my hand literally wouldn't come up the bar,” Whittenburg said. “It felt like it...