Gymnastics Weekly News: Carlos Yulo is training a triple back pike on floor exercise

Plus, Suni Lee nabs Athlete of the Year award, Szilvester Csollany in critical condition and a look back at the Russian women from Sydney 2000

By Scott Bregman
Picture by Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

It would be easy for Filipino history-making artistic gymnast Carlos Yulo to rest on his impressive resume, but he’s not.

The 21-year-old first made history for his country by winning their first-ever medal, a bronze, on floor exercise at the 2018 World Championships in Doha. He followed that up with gold a year later at the Worlds in Stuttgart, Germany.

Despite a disappointing Tokyo 2020 campaign that left him empty handed, he was one of the stars of October’s World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan, where he won vault gold and parallel bars silver.

His coach, Kugimiya Munehiro, has also shared some of Yulo’s training including a stunning front handspring double pike vault and an emphasis on perfecting Yulo’s entry on to the vaulting table while performing Kasamatsu-style vaults.

With big skills and clean form clearly an emphasis, Yulo is likely to continue to contend for medals at major events including at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games which he has said one of his next goals.

Since those worlds, Yulo has been working hard, recently showing off a triple back pike – named for 2019 world all-around champion Nikita Nagornyy – on his Instagram account.

Suni Lee wins Sports Illustrated Athlete of the Year award

Tokyo 2020 Olympic all-around champion Suni Lee’s whirlwind 2021 continued this week as she nabbed the Athlete of the Year award at the annual Sports Illustrated awards. Swimmer Caeleb Dressel was the male winner.

“Oh my gosh, this is absolutely insane,” Lee said in her acceptance speech. “I never would have thought as a 6-year-old young gymnast that I would be standing up her winning the SI award. It’s truly an honour and honestly so surreal.”

Lee, 18, helped her team to silver after the stunning withdrawal of Simone Biles from the competition. Lee, who beat Biles on the second night of the U.S. Olympic trials, had already established herself as one of the world’s best gymnasts, but Biles’ withdrawal also opened the door for gold in the all-around final.

“During 2020 right before the Olympics, I almost quit because the pandemic was so hard for all of us and it was just really hard for me to stay motivated. I think the one thing that kept me going was my parents and my coaches for pushing me to be my best every single day,” said Lee.

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great,” she continued. “I think that’s so important because people tend to get caught up in trying to live up to a standard.”

Tom Forster will step down as U.S. women's high-performance coordinator on 31 December

U.S. women's gymnastics will have a new leader as it begins its preparations towards Paris 2024. USA Gymnastics confirmed this week that its women's high-performance Tom Forster would be leaving the job at the end of the year.

“My passion for this sport has always been working with coaches and athletes to bring out the best in each. I am so proud of what the Women’s Program has accomplished in the last three years and it has been an incredible honor to lead Team USA," Forster said in a statement provided by the federation. "Thank you to everyone who supported me during my time in this role. I look forward to supporting the next High Performance Director as they lead our wonderful women’s program.”

Forster took the role in mid-2018 and helped guide the U.S. women to world championships team gold medals at the 2018 and 2019 world championships.

Olympic champion Szilvester Csollany in serious condition

Hungarian gymnast Szilvester Csollany, who won still rings Olympic gold at Sydney 2000, is in critical condition and on a ventilator as a result of a COVD-19 infection, according to Hungary Today.

The 51-year-old announced in late November that he was feeling ill. A week later, after a publication reached out for an interview, he responded via text message that he could not participate as he was already in the hospital.

He did not respond to subsequent requests before the publication was informed of his current condition.

Csollany is an acrobatics coach in Austria.

From the vault…

This week, we take a look back at the Russian women’s performance on the floor exercise during the team final at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. The Russian team finished with the silver medal behind champions Romania. On the floor exercise, they were led by veteran Svetlana Khorkina who scored 9.787.

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