American gymnast Yul Moldauer has had a very busy 2021, competing at the the Olympic Games in Tokyo as well as Worlds in Kitakyushu. He won the Arthur Gander Memorial competition in Morges on 3rd November, ahead of Nikita Nagornyy and Illia Kovtun, and was on track for a podium finish at the Swiss Cup Zürich on 7th November. Unfortunately, his teammate Olivia Greaves injured her knee on her uneven bars dismount during warm-up, and Yul was unable to progress in the competition without her score. The audience were, however, lucky enough to see his impressive floor routine as well as an exhibition routine on parallel bars.
We caught up with Yul after the competition and congratulated him on going out and hitting his routines after Olivia’s fall.
“Thank you! Yeah, it was unfortunate but you know, my prayers are for Olivia and I hope she’s OK. I didn’t wanna just come here and you know, not do anything, so honestly my mindset before both of my events was ‘do it for Olivia’ because she wanted me to do good, and do it for Team USA. I was here and I didn’t wanna just quit; I wanted to go out there and do something.”
The two Swiss competitions, Arthur Gander Memorial and the Swiss Cup are quite different to most competitions because of their unique format and the need to strategise regarding selecting apparatus. We asked Yul how these factors influenced his preparation.
“Honestly, I loved it. The meets felt like shows and for me, you know, gymnastics is a show. You wanna get up there and perform well and I hope that someday the US can host a meet like this because it’s interesting, it’s super exciting, and I think the fans like it, so to finally come here to Switzerland and compete was a dream come true.”
The two competitions also mean the gymnasts spend a lot of time together in Switzerland over a whole week. Did this mean forming close friendships with any of the other teams?
“Yeah, definitely with the Ukrainian team, the Russian team, the Swiss team, the Italian team too, so honestly, all the countries were so friendly, so nice, and everyone’s congratulating each other and talking at dinner, so it was really nice to interact with them because you know, when you first see them, it can be intimidating but really, you know, making these friendships is a dream come true.”
Finally, we asked Yul if he’d be taking a break after his busy year.
“We’ll see what my coaches want to do next but you know, I don’t feel that bad. For me, I like staying in competition form… I’ll probably have a little bit of downtime, but I know my season starts right back up in January, so coming quick!”