Former Sooner Gymnasts Compete In Tokyo Games


Friday, July 23rd 2021, 2:02 pm
By: Tevis Hillis


OKLAHOMA CITY -

Yul Moldauer's legacy is printed along gym walls at the University of Oklahoma. Alongside his 10 NCAA gold medals hang three international golds as well as a bronze from the 2017 World Championships. 

Then, he wowed the nation with a routine on the parallel bars at the 2021 Olympic qualifiers.  

"When I stuck that dismount, I closed my eyes. I thought about my family, friends, coaches, and all the supportive fans," said Moldauer. "For me, it was just a moment I will never forget."  

That performance sealed his spot on the Olympic squad, even though training gyms were closed most of the past year.  

"That week, I asked (OU men's gymnastics head coach) Mark (Williams) for a palm horse for my garage," said Moldauer. "I then went to Home Depot and got some hooks and rings, and we got as many weights as we could get and put them in my garage."  

Moldauer practiced alongside Alan Bower, another former Sooner, who took on the Olympic challenge himself.  

"We went to all ends to make our dream continue," said Bower.  

Those dreams came true, though Bower did not make the starting squad. 

"It was a bittersweet feeling," said Bower.  

Bower is on the team as an alternate, and he'll be needed in case of a COVID outbreak.  

"If one guy on the team gets COVID, basically entire team is out," said Bower.  

As an alternate, Bower had to pay his own way to Tokyo.  

A GoFundMe raised $47,000 for him.  

In any case, the two Sooners walked out with Team USA onto the Olympic arena in Tokyo.  

After the games, Moldauer is already looking at the 2024 Olympics in Paris, while Bower is heading to medical school.