The story of Filipino gymnast Carlos Yulo is full of twists and turns. From his modest beginnings, to his Olympic journey. His quest to bring even more honor and glory to our country is just beginning.
For the uninitiated, hopefully this serves as a quick crash course on the fascinating journey of one of the greatest Filipino athletes of this generation.
Early Potential and Success
Carlos Edriel Yulo was born in the Leveriza community, located in Malate, Manila. Incidentally, the place of his birth was right behind the famous Rizal Memorial Sports Complex – and it is here where he starts his journey to greatness.
At a very young age, Caloy, as he is affectionately called, showed the potential for the sport. It was at a public park along Quirino Avenue, aptly called Paraiso ng Batang Maynila, that he first showed propensity for gymnastics. He started tumbling in an attempt to mimic a gymnast who was rehearsing their routine.
His grandfather, Rodrigo Frisco, saw his potential. Frisco brought 7-year-old Carlos Yulo to the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP) training center in Rizal Memorial.
“When I saw Caloy for the first time with our coaches, he looked very promising so we took him in,” said GAP President Cynthia Carrion-Norton.
With the support of the GAP and continuous training, Yulo’s propensity for the sport evolved into full-blown talent. He dominated the men’s artistic-gymnastics competitions for both the elementary and high school divisions during his time in the Palarong Pambansa.
Excellence on an International Stage
Yulo has been competing consistently on the highest level since 2014. He first made waves during his tremendous performance at the 49th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championship held in Stuttgart, Germany. That was back in 2019, when Yulo gave the country its first gold medal. A near flawless routine during the floor exercise event.
Yulo then dominated the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the same year, securing 2 gold medals and five silvers. All sights were set for the Olympics the following year, and the forecast was extremely optimistic for the young gymnast.
However, the pressure may have gotten to him, as he fumbled during the floor exercise final during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He had one last shot at Olympic gold as he qualified for the artistic gymnastics vault final. At the end, Yulo finished 4th in the finals, narrowly missing the podium.
A Shot at Redemption
Like a true athlete, Carlos Yulo continued to push hard and train for redemption in the 2021 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, this time held in Kitakyushu, Japan.
He has made good on his promise to return stronger than ever, as he is now the first Filipino to win multiple medals in the world championships. His amazing performance netted him the gold in the men’s vault category, and silver in the men’s parallel bars competition.
WATCH: Carlos Yulo magnificently executes the Dragulescu vault in his second vault to put him in FIRST place with a score of 14.916 after four gymnasts | @PaulineVerzosa
🎥 FIG/YouTube pic.twitter.com/GoVmzEB97f
— CNN Philippines Sports Desk (@sportsdeskph) October 24, 2021
“I lost and I don’t want to commit mistakes anymore. There are times that my body doesn’t respond to the things I want to do, but I could not give up,’’ said Yulo. It is this tenacity that keeps him moving forward.
The Future of Philippine Gymnastics
His continued success is inspiring. What’s even more amazing is that he’s not the only Yulo looking to make waves in the international gymnastics scene.
Karl Eldrew Yulo, Caloy’s brother, is also showing the same telltale signs as his brother, as he swept all six gold medals in the 2019 Batang Pinoy Games. Likewise, he earned multiple medals in the 2019 Palarong Pambansa, just like his older brother. The future seems extremely bright for the Yulo siblings and the Philippine Gymnastics scene.
The Carlos Yulo story is still continuing to unfold. His next stop? The 2024 Paris Olympics, where he is gunning for redemption. Only time will tell what this amazing athlete will be able to achieve. One thing is clear though – he has already brought much glory to the country, and we all proudly bear witness to his legend.