For Caloy Yulo, mom’s advice to change mentality worked at gymnastics worlds

Manolo Pedralvez

Posted at Oct 26 2021 03:15 AM

Yulo shows his vault gold medal during the medal ceremony at the artistic gymnastics world championships in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka prefecture on October 24, 2021. Charly Triballeau, AFP
Yulo shows his vault gold medal during the medal ceremony at the artistic gymnastics world championships in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka prefecture on October 24, 2021. Charly Triballeau, AFP

A mother’s advice and a keen desire to fulfill a promise to her younger sister on her birthday drove Carlos Edriel You to rise to a new standard of excellence on the final day of the 50th FIG World Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Kitakyushu, Japan on Sunday.

After losing his floor exercise title the previous day, Yulo displayed supreme mental fortitude to bounce back and secure the men’s vault gold before completing his grand finale with a silver medal in the parallel bars at the jammed 10,000-seat Kitakyushu City Gymnasium.

The pint-sized phenom wowed and awed the crowd with his signature move in his second vault — the “Dragulescu” — named after and made famous 4-time Romanian world champion Marian Dragulescu – to net a high score of 15.033 points that proved to be the winning edge.

Together with his 14.800 in the initial vault, Yulo averaged a gold-medal clinching 14.916 points, making good on his promise to younger sibling Issa, who was celebrating her 12th birthday in the Philippines that very day.

As icing on the cake, he scored 15.300 points to secure the silver medal in the men’s parallel bars to surpass his historic golden feat in the men’s floor exercise in in Stuttgart, Germany in 2019

It was the third and fourth medals added to the world championship treasure chest of Yulo, who also won a bronze medal in the men’s floor exercise in Doha, Qatar in 2018.

Birthday promise fulfilled

“I sent Issa a message to tell her I was sorry I couldn’t be there (for her birthday). And I don’t have any gifts,” Yulo told the GymCastic YouTube channel shortly after his superb performances.  

“Hello Issa, happy birthday sa iyo. Maging mabuti kang bata. May gold medal si kuya para sa’yo (Hello Issa, happy birthday to you. Be a good child. Kuya has gold for you,” the beaming gymnast said with feeling in his shoutout to his younger sibling back home.

Yulo’s mother, Angelica, added: “Tuwang-tuwa po at naiyak si Issa pagkatapos na makita niya na ang kuya niya ng gold. Kasi hindi na-break ng kuya Caloy niya ’yong promise niya sa kanya (Issa cried with joy when she saw his older brother win gold. He didn't break his promise to her).”

Angelica Yulo said Issa and the family were glued to their computer watching Caloy perform live on the International Gymnastics Federation YouTube channel while they were celebrating their daughter’s birthday at home located behind Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate, Manila. 

It was his grandfather Rodrigo Frisco who took the then-active and frisky Yulo more than a decade ago to the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines, the sport’s national governing body, inside the RMSC where GAP president Cynthia Carrion took him in as protégé after seeing his talent and potential as a world-class gymnast.

Angelica, like any caring mom, said she became Caloy’s comforting shoulder to lean on after flopping in his specialty, the floor exercise, in his Olympic debut in Tokyo some months ago.

Mom tweaks gymnast’s mindset

She recalled her son telling her at first he merely wanted to just qualify and enjoy the Olympic experience, gently reminding him later on that it should not have been his original mindset.

“Hinayaan ko lang muna kasi ayaw ko naman siya ma-discourage sa word ko kasi mayroon pa siyang finals sa vault. (I just let him to go on, because I did not want to be discouraged by my words with the vault finals coming up),” the elder Yulo said. 

“Noong pagkatapos ng Olympics, du’n ko na sinabi lahat (When the Olympics was over that was when I told him everything that was on my mind).

“Sinabi ko sa kay Caloy (Yulo’s nickname) na naging mali ’yong mind-setting niya. Dapat laging gino-goal mo na mag-kamedal ka. Nandu’n ka na so you have to make the most out of it. (I told Caloy that his mind-setting was wrong. That his goal always was to win a medal since he was already there and had to make the most of it.” 

“Gusto ma-experience mo lang ang Olympics, kaya pina-experience lang sa ’yo, (You wanted to experience being in the Olympics, so this was what you got),” she added in remembering what he told her son after his mediocre Olympic outing. 

Yulo seemed to have taken her mother’s advice to heart, saying in his interview on the website of the FIG, the French acronym for the world gymnastics governing body, that he would treat each big event like “an Olympics” and redeem himself from his “painful” experience at the Tokyo Summer Games.  

Like the legendary Phoenix, Yulo rose from the ashes of his Olympic debacle to achieve his mission of redemption in spectacular fashion over the weekend in the Land of the Rising Sun.


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