The road to a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team is not easy. In fact, it’s a grind.
“Oh yeah, if I was here by myself, I don’t know if I’d still be here,” said gymnast Sean Melton.
His friend and fellow gymnast, Alec Yoder, agrees. “It’s easier to climb that mountain if you’re doing with your friends and with your teammates, people pushing you to be better.”
Yoder, a native of Indianapolis, and Melton, a native of Orlando, said they have been pushing each other now for more than five years. First, in college as teammates at Ohio State. And now, as Olympic hopefuls.
“We just get each other. Everything we do really matches up. The way we work. The way we chill. The things we do inside the gym and outside the gym. The way we eat. The way we sleep. All this stuff,” said Yoder.
The two are more than friends. They have lived together, vacationed together, and won championships together.
“When you want to go somewhere great, you want to surround yourself with people that are great, that are chasing the same things as you so that was an instant connection,” said Melton. “It’s not a teammate thing. It’s not a friend thing. It’s legit a brotherhood.”
But the reality is, they are both chasing the same dream. To qualify for Team USA in the Tokyo Games. And there are only so many spots on the men’s gymnastics team.
“A lot of people have asked us, is that something that is going to be something that drives your brotherhood away if one person makes the team and the other one doesn’t,” said Yoder, “And me and Sean have talked about this so many times. If he makes the team and I don’t, then that’s a win because one of us made it.”
“It’s a win-win for us, unless we both don’t make it, but I don’t see that happening so hopefully one of us will make it, or both of us,” said Melton.
And so, the grind continues for the two friends, with dreams of walking into the Olympic Stadium always on their minds.
“[It] Gives me chills every time I think about it,” said Melton. “It’s always a great thing to think about and get you excited, get your blood pumping.”
“It’s always been my dream. And until the day I achieve it, it will be my dream,” said Yoder. “I think about it every day. I think about it every night. And it’s my passion. It’s what I love. And it’s what I’m doing.”