Former Cuban gymnast Casimiro Suárez will be in the Tokyo Olympics with the US team.

"I held on as much as I could to continue in Cuba, in my sport, but one day I told myself: this is it! and today I have reached the top in a country that is not mine"...

Casimiro Suárez © Facebook / Mark Yoder
Casimiro Suarez Foto © Facebook / Mark Yoder

This article is from 2 years ago

Casimiro Suarez, one of the great Cuban gymnasts in history, will be part of the US delegation as coach in theTokyo Games, after achieving the Olympic qualification, his discipleAlec Yoder in the renowned Olympic Trials tournament, which took place this weekend in Saint Louis, Missouri.

How do you feel?

I am very happy, extraordinarily happy. It has not been easy. In the United States, our sport celebrates National Championships, which results in the national team being renewed every 6 months.

It is not like in Cuba, where a team is assembled that is trained by a head coach and an assistant coach. Here each athlete has his coach. The first National Championship was held in Indianapolis in February; That competition qualified you for the second National that was held in Dallas, Texas. In turn, this second tournament qualified for the Olympic Trials. As you can see, a long, rugged, tense road, because there is a lot of quality.

21 athletes competed in the Trials, from which the five who will represent northern artistic gymnastics in the great Japanese event would emerge.

Who is your student, what possibilities does he and the team in general have?

In all six devices there are possibilities when we talk about the collective. My athlete, Alec Yoder, has good experience in international championships, Youth Olympic Games, Pan American Games, World and World Cups and Championships. He is 24 years old and graduated in Sport Industry from Ohio State University. He masters the pommel horse very well.

In 2019 he was among the best, but suffered a shoulder injury in the first competition of the year at the University, so he directed his recovery towards Tokyo, including surgery. The pandemic gave us more time to prepare and here we are… With the dream come true!

This is the best because here the “light” is tough, it is more stressful to compete in the Trials than in the Olympics; Trials are the most popular. It's crazy.

The other four gymnasts who will represent the USA in the Olympic Games are Sam Mikulak, our main and most experienced figure; Brody Malone, a rookie with no experience in major competitions but who has won all the events held this year; Yul Moldaver, energetic, aggressive, experienced competitor; and Shane Wiskus, another very good athlete, young and already with an international presence.

When do you leave for Japan?

Next July 16 we will go directly to the city of Funabashi, near the capital, to complete our preparation; and from there to compete.

Casimiro Suárez competed in the Moscow Olympic Games when he was just a boy and later, at the height of his career, he was deprived of doing so in Los Angeles and Seoul, after the Cuban absence for political justifications. Now he makes his debut as a coach in the five rings event...

Yes, although I classified an athlete in Atlanta '96, the Brazilian Soraya Carvalio, she was injured and could not compete, so now I will definitely and with God's favor be able to make my debut as a coach.

For me this experience is the best. I would have liked to do it with the Cuban team, but it didn't happen. There are times when things change in your life and it is part of destiny. I was always very hard-working, persistent and disciplined for gymnastics.

Many coaches did not believe in me and Servando Roig, who was my teacher until I was 15, and later Héctor Ramírez and Eugenia Veloz, did. They helped me be who I was on the national team and who I am today. I have always looked at myself in the mirror.

Swimming against the current is my fate, I am part of history in theCuban gymnastics, we created a golden era, we made Cuban gymnastics grow to global levels. We were respected by all our rivals...but things happen and if you hold on, you lose.

I held on as much as I could to continue in Cuba, in my sport, but one day I told myself: this is it! and today I have reached the top in a country that is not mine and that is super difficult for many reasons. Getting here is like getting to the major leagues in baseball. Here there is no permanent coach on the national team, here everyone can and if you produce you are the guy, you go to the big ones; If not, another takes the place.

Knowing you as I know you, I know that you are living the best moment of your life.

You ask me what is this for me? Well, it's the best, it's the greatest and most beautiful experience of my life because getting here is the best, it's what every coach longs for and wants to achieve in their sports career. Because it is so hard, the taste is tripled.

It is something different because he is not a Cuban gymnast but, although it is paradoxical, you feel a sweeter flavor; here there are monsters, coaches from all latitudes of the planet preparing stars, and you are part of the Olympic Team "it came and stopped", speaking in the purest Cuban.

It is the greatest blessing that a coach can feel on the face of the earth. I have been trying to place an athlete on the Olympic Team since 2012. In 2012 and 2016 I almost achieved it, but it was almost not achieved. Now it is a reality. Thank God it was given to me; So it's unnecessary to tell you how I feel.

What do you think?


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Julita Osendi

Graduated in Journalism from the University of Havana in 1977. Journalist, sports commentator, announcer and director of more than 80 documentaries and special reports. Among my most relevant journalistic coverage are 6 Olympic Games, 6 World Athletics Championships, 3 Classics

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