Alec Yoder is an American elite gymnast from Indianapolis. While he has been a key name in the U.S. men’s senior gymnastics scene for several years now, Yoder is best known for competing for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics.
Yoder qualified for the Olympic Games as an event specialist, competing solely on pommel horse. Because of this, he is representing the United States in Tokyo as an individual athlete and did not compete in the men’s artistic gymnastics team competition with the U.S. team.
During the qualification competition, Yoder scored a 15.200 on his pommel horse routine. The number was fourth best among all other gymnasts who competed on the apparatus — good enough to contend for a medal later in the Games. Yoder will compete in the event final for pommel horse on Aug. 1.
Here’s what you need to know about the Olympic gymnast:
1. He was a National Champion at Ohio State
Before competing in his first Olympic Games, Yoder was a student-athlete at Ohio State University as a member of its men’s gymnastics team. While pommel horse is his specialty, Yoder trained and competed in the all-around at Ohio State.
On his athlete page from Ohio State’s athletics site, his greatest collegiate accomplishment is being the 2019 NCAA champion on pommel horse, which came during his senior season. He was also a 10-time All-American: three times in the all-around, four times on pommel horse, two times on parallel bars and one time on still rings.
2. Prior to the Olympics, Yoder Drove for DoorDash
According to an article from the New York Post, Yoder was making money by driving for DoorDash before making it to the Olympics. The earnings from the gig helped cover his rent and allowed him to have a schedule that accomodated gymnastics training.
While there was the option of working a standard job, the 2019 sports industry graduate, as noted on his LinkedIn profile, wouldn’t have the time he needed to train for the Olympics.
“If I’m at a job for seven or eight hours a day, it’s not going to work out,” Yoder explained to the New York Post. “I bunkered down and tried to do everything I could to salvage as much as I could.
“I never joined this sport to get rich. If I go broke trying to make the Olympic Games, it’s all good with me.”
3. Yoder Did a Hugo Boss Campaign
Months after his final collegiate gymnastics season ended, Yoder was featured in Hugo Boss’ #SuitChallenge campaign. In a 15-second video from July 2019, Yoder is seen showing off some of his gymnastics skills on still rings while sporting a Hugo Boss suit, giving an idea of what kind of activities can be done while donning a suit.
“(It was) a little bit out of my comfort zone, but something I’ve always wanted to try,” Yoder said of the campaign in an article from USA Today. “I always love making opportunities happen that I’ve never done before, stepping out of my comfort zone is something I enjoy doing, so I had a good time doing it.”
4. Simone Biles is One of His Close Friends
Simone Biles may have become known as the greatest gymnast ever, but, to Yoder, Biles is also one of his closest friends.
In 2013, the two gymnasts followed each other on Twitter, marking the start of their friendship — as reported in an article from the IndyStar. The two have bonded over their shared experiences of being high-level athletes.
“She’ll understand what I’m talking about, and I can understand what she’s talking about,” Yoder told IndyStar. “It’s something we have in common, for sure.”
Yoder has numerous photos with Biles on his Instagram profile, dating as far back as 2014. Over the years, the amount of photos they have taken together decreased. But a recent tweet revealed that the two have remained close.
In the tweet, Gymnastics Now said that Biles was so excited for Yoder to be named to the men’s artistic gymnastics Olympic team, that she lost her voice from the yelling.
5. His Sister is Also a Gymnast
Yoder’s page on the Ohio State official athletics website mentions that he has two siblings, and he’s not the only one who participates in gymnastics.
Alec’s younger sister, Ashlyn, is currently a level 9 gymnast who trains at the Jaycie Phelps Athletic Center and is a member of the class of 2023, according to her athlete page on USA Gymnastics. Her Instagram page is filled with posts concerning her gymnastics. A majority of them are videos of her training in the gym.