World champion gymnast Carlos Yulo knows what to do.
Despite a subpar performance during the qualifications at the Baku World Cup, the Filipino gymnast does not seem to be worried one bit.
Yulo is focusing on what could be another historic moment for him at this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The 2019 World floor exercise champion had a less than stellar outing in Baku, recording only an 11.900 on the parallel bars and a 13.916 on vault. Beyond his gold medal-winning capabilities on the floor exercise, Yulo is proficient on the parallel bars where he earned a 14.833 during the World all-around final and on vault, where he narrowly missed the World final last year.
"No [concerns at all for the Tokyo Olympics]. He's still training hard as he is already qualified," Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion told Rappler.
Yulo earned direct qualification to the Olympic Games based on his all-around finishing during the preliminary round at October's World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. He also made history for a second time at the event, becoming the Philippine's first World champion. In 2018, he won his country's first-ever medal at the event when he took home a bronze.
Saving a surprise
In Baku, Yulo skipped his signature event, the floor exercise.
"You’re going to be surprised. He’s training on his new skills and he’s going to watch [the World Cup]. We’re working scientifically," said Carrion prior to the event.
One new skill could be a triple back flip that he has shown fans on his Instagram account.
Those new elements could be crucial for Yulo, who would make history at the Tokyo Olympics if he could repeat either of his accomplishments at the last two World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. A medal of any colour would be the first for his country at the Olympic Games in gymnastics.
Those accomplishments - and the promise of more to come - both stunned and motivated the 20-year-old.
“Last year, I was looking at my medal, and I was like, ‘I will get the gold medal next year,’ he told media after becoming World champion in October.
“It’s ridiculous,” he said of his win, still visibly shocked by his accomplishment.
'It's all training'
Born in Manila, Yulo now trains in Tokyo. His talent caught the attention of Carrion early on. Years later when the gymnast was 16, she would facilitate Yulo’s move to train under Japanese coach Munehiro Kugimiya.
That training environment has clearly paid dividends, as Kugimiya and Yulo have made history together. Now, as the Olympics approach, it's all about gymnastics.
"He just goes to school and training. He doesn’t go out," said Carrion. "It’s all training."
And the hard work is paying off.