TOKYO (WCMH) — On Sunday, former Buckeye gymnast Alec Yoder will do what he’s done thousands of times in his life — swing on a pommel horse.
But this time it will be for a gold medal.
“I train too hard to be nervous,” Yoder said. “When your dream is riding on that one routine, that’s why you put in the work. When moments come like that they’re never too big.”
Yoder, who graduated from Ohio State in 2019, has been training for this Olympic moment his whole life. But it’s a moment that almost didn’t come when he contemplated quitting gymnastics last year.
“It was really tough for me. I wasn’t having fun with gymnastics,” he said. “It wasn’t doing the job for me but I stuck with it and I kept putting in the hard work knowing that in the end, this would be a goal worth fighting for for sure. Looking back on it, I have no regrets.
To keep him motivated, Yoder has a whiteboard in his room to constantly remind him of what he needs to do to get a medal. The whiteboard contains scores from previous Olympics and World Championships, as well as quotes to inspire him.
“I look at that every day and I know the incredible talent that is across the world and I’m thankful to be in that group,” Yoder said. “I’m thankful to have a chance to run for a medal. I don’t think I’ve hit the best set of my life yet, so I’m looking forward to doing that in Tokyo.”
Yoder has nailed his routines throughout competition starting at the Olympic Trials followed by a stellar performance in the pommel horse prelims last week.
“The job is done. I made the team. That’s awesome. But the ultimate dream is an Olympic medal,” Yoder said. “Nothing changes. We’re doing the exact same thing, we’re running the same course to make sure we’re in a good spot in Tokyo.”
Yoder competes live around 5:30 a.m. Sunday on NBC4. The floor exercise final and pommel horse final will re-air on NBC4 at 4:45 p.m. EST.