If you’ve been sleeping on Oklahoma’s Gage Dyer, you’re going to want to wake up quick.
The Oklahoma senior seems to have caught the eye of the U.S. Men’s Program Committee (MPC) on day one of the 2021 US Gymnastics Championships at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, after tying for first on vault (14.700) – where he threw a massive triple twist and stuck front handspring double front – and earning the second-best floor score of day one with a huge 14.550.
While Dyer also competed pommel horse on day one, the Yukon, Oklahoma native is a true floor and vault specialist – his power, technique, and control on both events undeniable.
Even more impressive? Dyer, 23, started gymnastics just a decade ago at the relatively late age of 13 and has risen through the ranks to become a serious contender for the Tokyo Olympic team this summer.
Specifically, Dyer is in contention for the +1 specialist spot the U.S. men officially qualified on Friday after Paul Juda’s 83.000 point all-around performance at the 2021 Pan American Championships.
“I’d say bringing back two medals is better than one,” Dyer said when asked about specializing on two events versus one, like many of the other athletes in contention for the individual spot.
“I’m very, very confident with my ability if that shot is given to me. I think what I have been doing has hopefully opened up the eyes of the selection committee to let them know that I’m very capable of bringing home a medal for our country.”
And capable he is.
Dyer’s floor and vault scores would’ve put him among the top 8 athletes on both events at the 2019 World Championships, and with room to improve, he could easily contend for two medals in Tokyo – a key factor for the MPC’s selection procedures.
“You kind of have to weigh who’s got the upper edge,” U.S. Men’s High Performance Director Brett McClure said when asked about who’s in contention for the individual Olympic spot. “The plus one spot is really focused on medal potential.”
Heading into day two, Dyer has the potential to up his D-score, but he may keep his current set as a precaution since he’s still monitoring an Achilles injury from earlier this year.
“It’s going to be a conversation that I have with my coach,” Dyer said. “But I think it’s definitely possible to get that higher D-score in for day two.”
Momentum is certainly in Dyer’s favor. He’s coming off a successful NCAA season, where he won both floor and vault at the 2021 NCAA championships in addition to contributing to Oklahoma’s runner-up finish.
Dyer told media Thursday that he just kind of coasted through his JO career, despite his coaches pushing him, but by his senior year of high school, he started to realize he had built up the strength and skills to compete at the elite level.
“I honestly don’t think that I fully grasped that I [could] represent this country, and potentially get a medal with what I can do, until the last three years,” Dyer reflected.
It might be hard to believe, but at the start of Dyer’s gymnastics career, he couldn’t even do a pull-up. That’s not to say Dyer’s performance on Thursday was a surprise, but rather a testament to how far he’s come.
Now, he’s known for his lethal combination of consistency and difficulty.
Getting the opportunity to witness Dyer on floor is a treat for all who watch, and you can tell by his infectious smile and passionate roars that he’s enjoying it just as much, if not more, than his fans.
“I’ve been constantly knocking on the door, and I’m just trying to make my statement to say I’m here, I’m ready to go. Put me under any pressure, and I’ll do my job.”
You can catch Gage Dyer and rest of the senior men back in action at the 2021 US Gymnastics Championships on Saturday, June 5 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Read our recap from day one here, and find out how to watch here.