Make or break for Yulo

Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) – July 23, 2021 – 12:00am

Risky floor routine to spell difference

TOKYO – Filipino world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo has a big game-time decision to make here, something that could make or break his Olympic gold dream.

Will he gamble on performing a triple back turn, double front? Or stick just with the routine that won him the world crown in Stuttgart, Germany in 2019?

Yulo and three-event world titlist Nikita Nagornyy of Russia are expected to be close rivals for the gold in floor exercise, and their battle could go down on who could do the difficult trick.

Their initial showdown is during the qualifying tomorrow at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre and the ultimate moment is the finale on Wednesday.

There’s a very thin line separating the two as per their showings leading to the keenly awaited duel.

Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP) president Cynthia Carrion said the Russian leads by a hairline or a miniscule fraction in difficulty.

Even then, the decision would be not to do the high-risk, high-reward gamble if the decision were to be made now.

“Caloy is tired and everybody’s tired,” said Carrion, fearing the gamble may backfire.

Nagornyy went for it but faltered in the Stuttgart world joust, thus, opening the door for the Pinoy bet to win the gold.

The question is who will go for it in their Tokyo showdown.

In the final hours before showtime, Carrion is happy to report that Yulo has also improved in parallel bars and the vault, making him a contender for the all-around event.

But he’s still not doing well in pommel horse.

“Everybody’s having a hard time in pommel horse, that’s why everybody’s saying let’s remove the pommel horse,” said Carrion.