Hollywood actor and Sarasota native Bruce Merkle placed first in the Mens Division of the United States Yoga Federation’s National Championship event held last week.
Merkle also placed first earlier this year in the West Coast Region, which encompasses 11 states to qualify, for the National Championship. The states are divided into four regions: Central/Southern, Northeast, Southern and West Coast.
Merkle placed seventh in the World Championship held in Beijing in 2018. The international event is held every two years in various countries with athletes from all over the world.
Merkle lives in Los Angeles and has appeared on “This Is Us,” “AJ and the Queen,” “The Tonight Show,” “The Goldbergs,” “Conan,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Rules of Engagement” and Nickelodeon’s “Victorious.”
In 2016 in California, he originated Olaf in the first stage version of Disney’s “Frozen” and performed the role for over 2 million people.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, acting jobs are scarce, his mother, Marlene Merkle, said.
“Disney has not yet opened any of the shows in California,” she said. “Most of his competition in yoga consists of people who own yoga studios. He does it because he enjoys it.”