Carlos Yulo played an instrumental part in the Philippine Olympic contingent.
I know that he failed to secure a gold medal spot. With that said, he is partly responsible for the Olympic high we are in.
Like most Olympians, the 21-year-old made a name from various international worldwide competitions. From 2018 to 2019, Yulo hauled medals from the World Cup Series, Asian Games, World Championships, and Southeast Asian Games. Boy did well enough to make us Filipinos wonder if he could ever get an Olympic gold medal in the sport.
Great things may start from small beginnings but Filipinos and gymnastics is pretty much a bad combo. Gold medalist Kyla Ross won the team event in the 2012 London Olympics as part of the United States squad. Danica Calapatan won a gold medal in the 2005 SEA Games but the feat happened with us as the host country. Bea Lucero may be the face of the Milo brand in the late 80s but she got her Olympic medal when taekwondo was a demonstration sport.
In other words, the surge of Yulo’s awesomeness is something foreign to us Filipinos.
So yeah, again his inclusion in the squad is very important. If Michael Jordan is constantly swarmed by his opponents, then he could act as a decoy for a potential Steve Kerr or John Paxson game-winner. In the Tokyo Olympics, all eyes were on Yulo and silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz. For the first time in scores, we are pitting the boxers at the center of the spotlight.
In 2016, Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez represented the Philippines in boxing and there were 16 athletes vying for medal spots. The Olympics prior, Hidilyn Diaz also bannered an 11-person field with Mark Anthony Barriga as the sole boxer. Throughout the 2000s, we had the likes of Harry Tanamor, Romeo Brin, Chris Camat, Violito Payla, Danilo Lerio, Arlan Lerio, and Larry Semillano going for Olympic pride and glory, and the last gymnast to ever grace the Olympic stage is Ernesto Beren and the late Norman Henson.
In 1968, the Philippines were still participating in Olympic basketball.
And from 1972 to 2016, the Philippines failed to seed a gymnast.
Yes, Diaz inspired the rest of the Olympians with her awesome feat but in some ways, Yulo and even skateboarder Margielyn Didal also took the pressure from the little-known stars. The gold medal showing of Hidilyn Diaz literally shocked everyone and Yulo’s earlier mishap was barely felt by the Filipinos. And yet, when he tried his best to win a sport he was never really seen as a boss, he stood tall and almost walked away with a medal. I know it’s a sorry loss but we have to dig the fact that Yulo’s Olympic drive is filled with medal expectations. He wasn’t there for the participation stuff toy. I bet Yulo is probably going to shake this thing after the Olympic euphoria has died down and we are going to see this guy with a more all-around perspective on things. I don’t know how “political” the sport is but if gymnastics favors the well-known countries, then Yulo is going to do something radical in his routine.
Right now, the Philippine Olympic contingent is going to Paris in 2024 with a lot of hype. In some ways, Hidilyn and the boxers are probably going to be thrust in the spotlight with hopefully Yulo, Didal, EJ Obiena, and the golfers looking to further their showing. Boxing will have its problems – particularly women’s boxing – because Nesthy Petecio and Irish Magno are going to be in their 30s.
I doubt if he could really hide from the shadows since he needs to further his pull on the way to Paris but Caloy Yulo is probably in for an awesome bounceback.