Gymnast Yul Moldauer praised by community for representation after qualifying for Tokyo Olympics
By Bryan Ke
July 8, 2021
Korean American gymnast Yul Moldauer secured a spot to compete in the Tokyo Olympics later this month.
The details: Moldauer, 24, placed second after Brody Malone at the U.S. Olympic Trials in St. Louis on June 26, according to The Oklahoman.
- Moldauer, from Arvada, Colo., received an all-around score of 168.600 after getting top-three finishes on the parallel bars (first), pommel horse (second), floor exercise (third) and still rings (tied for third).
- He became the seventh male athlete from the University of Oklahoma to qualify for the Olympics.
- Moldauer received a warm welcome at his club, 5280 Gymnastics, when he returned to Wheat Ridge, Colo., on June 29, 9News reported.
- “It was amazing. I honestly was surprised when I walked in this morning,” he said. “That’s what 5280 is about. They’re such great people. It’s one big family. To see all their support meant a lot to me.”
A win for representation: Samuel Choe, a 26-year-old digital product specialist, watched Moldauer compete at the trials in St. Louis and said the athlete is breaking all stereotypes about Koreans and Asian Americans, according to South China Morning Post.
- “It shows that becoming a doctor or lawyer is not the only way for Asians to become successful,” Choe told SCMP.
- Janet Cho, 41, a communications director from La Canada, Calif., expressed joy that her son now has a role model. She said that Moldauer can represent Asian men in a “strong and confident” way, noting that Asian men have typically been portrayed in the media “with stereotypes about them being weak, awkward, nerdy or emasculated in some kind of way.”
- Emily Chen, from Brooklyn, hopes that Moldauer’s win at the trials would help inspire young Asian men to get into gymnastics. “The less that Asians are sidelined, the better it will be for the whole Asian-American community,” she added.
- In April, gymnast Morgan Hurd condemned racism and spoke of representing Asian youth at a Stop Asian Hate rally. In her speech, she referenced Moldauer’s Instagram post where he recounted a racist interaction with a woman who told him to “go back to China.”
Who is Yul Moldauer: Moldauer was adopted by his American parents in Seoul before he turned 1. He has three siblings and grew up on a farm in Colorado.
- He entered the world of gymnastics at the age of 7 and made the Junior National Team at 9.
- Moldauer led “the University of Oklahoma to three straight National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships” before his graduation last year.
- He also won seven other titles during his collegiate career and was named the U.S. national champion in 2017.
Featured Image via @yul_moldauer
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