TOKYO, Japan — Indianapolis native Alec Yoder advanced in his lone event, the pommel horse, at the Tokyo Olympics Saturday, guaranteeing a shot at a medal on Aug. 1.
Yoder, who went to college at Ohio State and trains in Columbus, is not part of the four-member USA men's team. He came to Tokyo as an individual to compete only on the pommel horse. If he hadn’t advanced today, his Olympics would have been over.
Yoder made sure he nailed his lone routine of the evening, scoring a 15.200 and earning cheers from his teammates and the U.S. women’s team, who were watching from the stands.
Japan led qualifying in the team scoring, though the host country will spend the rest of the Games without star Kohei Uchimura. The 32-year-old two-time Olympic champion fell on high bar and failed to qualify for the event finals.
Japan's team total of 262.510 points was just enough to pull ahead of China and ROC, the acronym for the Russian Olympic Committee. Japan's Daiki Hashimoto topped qualifying through two subdivisions with an all-around score of 88.531.
The USA men are fourth heading into Monday's finals.
Gymnasts had to finish in the top eight on an apparatus to advance to the finals, and no more than two athletes per country can qualify for each one.
Yoder, who finished fourth in the prelims of his event, will now compete in the final on Sunday, Aug. 1 at 5:44 a.m. EST.