By Joey Villar
GYMNASTICS dynamo Carlos “Caloy” Yulo has won almost everything.
But he knew in his heart that for him to become truly great, he must ensnare the one that eluded him most — an Olympic gold medal.
And the pocket-sized wunderkind from Leveriza, Manila vowed to vanquish his Tokyo Games demon as he sees to qualify not just in one event, but four, in the 2024 Paris Games where he hopes to finally deliver his first Olympic mint.
“We will try our best to qualify in four events in the Olympics,” said Mr. Yulo during Tuesday’s presser at The Heritage Hotel Manila in Pasay referring to the floor exercise, vault and parallel bars apparatuses and individual all-around.
“And if I’m going to rate myself on where I am now in terms of my Olympic preparation, I’m eight out of 10,” he added.
Mr. Yulo quietly flew in to the country on Sunday fresh from his scintillating performance in the Asian Gymnastics Championships in Doha, Qatar where he harvested gold medals in floor exercise, vault and parallel bars and silver in individual all-around.
It was in Doha where Mr. Yulo, through his dazzling performance, announced to the world with clarity his true intention of striking gold in Paris.
“When we were in Doha, I asked if Caloy (Yulo) will qualify and win gold in floor exercise, and he answered me ‘no, we will qualify not just in floor, but in floor, vault, parallel bars and individual all-around,’” said Gymnastics Association of the Philippines President Cynthia Carrion.
Mr. Yulo said his team has made tweaks in his routines in preparation for Paris.
“We will try some new elements in vault and parallel bars. The level of difficulty will increase. We’re doing that for the Olympics,” said Mr. Yulo, who was conferred President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s Order of Lapu-Lapu medal from Philippine Sports Commission board member Celia Kiram.
While Mr. Yulo is scheduled to compete in three more competitions this year — two in Japan in September and December, and the World Championships in Liverpool, England in October — the road for the Paris starts next year.
“The Paris Olympics qualifying process starts in 2023 and Caloy will join those events in Baku, Doha, Germany and Cairo,” said Ms. Carrion.
An Olympic gold is the piece of sporting hardware that Mr. Yulo has lacked after emerging as world champion twice, snaring multiple medals in the Southeast Asian Games, and recently, completing a golden-treble in the Asian Championships.
And for the young Filipino gymnast, that gold in Mt. Olympus is ripe for the taking.