How a trip to Illinois landed Tyson Bull in Tokyo

Born and raised in Melbourne, Horizontal Bar specialist, Tyson Bull is set to live his dream on tomorrow afternoon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 

Bull kickstarted his gymnastics journey in Gymnastics Australia’s KinderGym program as a five-year old.

“I loved gymnastics from an early age. I was a quick learner and took to it quickly and just fell in love with it.

“I got serious after my first Nationals when I was 10. Coming back from that event, my club coach, Tim Robertson, persuaded me to try out for the High-Performance Centre and train there,” Bull noted.

This conversation lead Tyson and his brother Jayden to make the move to the Victorian High-Performance Centre in Prahran. 

“Living in the far eastern suburb of The Basin, this meant my parents were making the hour-long trek there and back 5 to 6 days a week after work until we were old enough to catch the train. 

“Not once did my parents think twice. The support I have received from them throughout my career has been unwavering and second to none. 

“Making the Olympics was every bit to do with their sacrifices as it was mine,” Bull said. 

After finishing his schooling in Melbourne, Bull packed his bags, bound for the Chicago and the University of Illinois where he would spend his college years, studying a Bachelor of Kinesiology/Science.

While in the United States, Bull competed in the NCAA competition, claiming 5 Horizontal Bar titles, as he prepared himself for the 2019 World Championships, where his world would soon change. 

Reflecting on his gymnastics career to date, Bull recalls one moment above the rest, a moment at that event, the 2019 Stuttgart World Championships.

“I can still remember the moment I realised I had qualified for the Olympics.

“Coming up as a junior, you always aspire to compete for your country. When you achieve that, it’s like Christmas. It’s something you have been working towards for so long, so you embrace it.”

As he looks forward to the next two-weeks, Tyson struggles to contain his excitement. 

“It’s the moments like receiving your uniform you have worked 20 years for, getting on the plane as part of the team and most importantly, knowing that you have done your friends and family proud.”

When Bull arrives at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo on Saturday afternoon, he will have hundreds of adoring fans from Australia and the United States cheering him on back home.

Outside of gymnastics, Bull is a fond supporter of all sports, most notably AFL and basketball. 

An avid Essendon Bombers fan, Bull notes his football skills may have a part to play in his new nickname.

“I’m deadly accurate at kicking foam rollers at teammates,” he chuckled. 

“They are same teammates that have coined the nickname ‘the big cheese’ after I qualified for the Games.”

There is no doubt Bull’s teammates, family, friends and much of Australia will be cheering him on this weekend as he takes it up to the world’s best. 

Tyson will take part in subdivision 2 of 3 on Saturday afternoon, 3:30pm (AEST) on Channel 7 in the Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Qualifications.