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5 Facts About Carlos Yulo, The Filipino Champ At The 41st Artistic Gymnastics World Championships

In a historic win, the 19-year-old athlete bagged the country's first-ever gold medal at the competition

It was the first time the Philippine national anthem had been played at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships to signify that a Filipino had bagged the top prize. As it played, Carlos "Caloy" Yulo stood on the winners podium, his right hand on his chest and his feet firmly planted on the highest platform, flanked by silver and bronze medalists Artem Dolgopyat from Israel and China's Xiao Ruoteng.


Pumped with adrenaline and with a heart swelling with pride, Carlos waved to the crowd and held his medal up high for photographers to get a better view of it.


At 19 years old, he had become the first-ever Filipino to be awarded the top prize at the annual competition that often doubles as an arena for Olympians-to-be; Carlos had made history, but as it seems, this is only the beginning for the rising athletic star. 



He hadn't expected to win, he told his mother who he called the first chance he got after being announced the victor.


After all, he had begun his gymnastic career as a teenage resident of a Leveriza Street neighborhood who, from time to time, would drop by  the Rizal Memorial Stadium to watch gymnasts train. He had never dared imagine that destiny would lead him to Stuttgart, Germany where he would rouse an entire nation to cheer his name and renew its hopes of producing an Olympian.


Surprised as Carlos was of his win, he was proud of it, and he made a commitment to never stop improving—for himself, for his country, and for all Filipinos with dreams like his. 


Learn more about Carlos, his road to victory, and what he looks forward to most today below.

 

1. This isn't Carlos' first medal, but it's certainly the one he's proudest of.

Carlos has been a gymnast for years and has participated in several local and international competitions before bagging the gold. In 2018, he had actually competed in the 40th run of the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships held at Doha and exited with a bronze medal (that was the first time a Filipino had earned a spot at the podium at the competition).


Prior to that, he had also consistently earned top awards at the competition's Melbourne, Bakku, and Cottbus editions, showing that he holds true potential to become a winner. 



2. He's not only the first Filipino to win a gold medal at the competition, but also the first-ever Southeast Asian competitor to earn the award. 

Carlos' win was shared by gymnasts in neighboring Southeast Asian nations. With gymnastics dominated by athletes from Japan, China, Russia, and the United States, Carlos' triumph was undoubtedly a sweet one and a massive motivation for him to keep getting better and better at the sport. 






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3. Carlos grew up with the sport and is based in Japan to train. 

Young as Carlos is now (he was the youngest gymnast at the competition), he was much younger when he first got his taste of gymnastics training. He was inspired by gymnasts who frequented the Rizal Memorial Stadium and sooner than later, found himself joining them for training. 


A few years after, he was discovered by Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya who suggested he train in better equipped facilities to nurture his talent in the sport. Carlos agreed to pack his bags and relocate to Tokyo where he continues to be trained by the champion-making coach while attending Teikyo University



4. Carlos is Olympics-bound.

Though some athletes may choose to sit back and revel in a win as big as that of Carlos', he himself is taking the opportunity to train harder than ever in order to replicate—and even outdo—his winning performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 


His Artistic Gymnastics World Championships victory qualified him to compete at the world's biggest sporting event and once there, he hopes to finally give the Philippines its first-ever Olympic gold medal. Carlos and fellow Pinoy athlete, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, are so far the only Filipinos who have qualified to compete in next year's Summer Games.  

Artistic Gymnastics World Championships


5. He encourages more Filipinos to explore gymnastics. 

Standing at less than five feet tall, Carlos isn't quite suited to play basketball, arguably Filipinos' favorite sport. He acknowledges his small stature with a smile but points out that his countrymen with dreams of becoming professional athletes need not be limited to the country's popular sporting choices; there are other sports that they can excel in, including gymnastics. 



Watch Carlos' one-minute, 19-second performance here:



Photos from @abscbnnews @c_edrielzxs