***Please note: The I.O.C. has recently decided to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympics because of growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. A possible new date for the Olympics is Summer 2021 although nothing has been confirmed at this time.
The year we’ve all been waiting for is finally here – the year of the summer 2020 Olympics!
The 2020 Summer Olympics will be here before we know it so it’s time to get all the info about artistic gymnastics for this very important competition!!
We don’t know about you, but we sure are excited!
Here’s all the info that we know right now. As we learn more, we’ll update this article so keep checking back.
Where are the 2020 Summer Olympics?
The 2020 Summer Olympics are being held in Tokyo, Japan. Gymnasts will compete at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre which holds up to 12,000 spectators.
When do gymnasts compete at the 2020 Summer Olympics?
Female artistic gymnasts will compete on the following dates:
- Sunday, July 26th – Women’s Team Qualification
- Tuesday, July 28th – Women’s Team Final
- Thursday, July 30th – Women’s Individual All-Around Final
- Sunday, August 2nd – Women’s Vault Final, Women’s Uneven Bars Final
- Monday, August 3rd – Women’s Floor Exercise Final
- Tuesday, August 4th – Women’s Balance Beam Final
Once a television schedule has been finalized, we’ll share it here with you! Tokyo is 14 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone in the United States so most likely we’ll be catching the replay hours later.
All gymnasts participating in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 must be born on or before December 31, 2004 for the Women’s competitions. That means gymnasts must be at least 15 1/2 years of age to go to the Olympics.
What Events Do the Gymnasts Compete On
Women’s artistic gymnasts compete on four different apparatus in the Olympics. These are:
- Vault– The vault table is about 4 feet tall, 4 feet long and 3 feet wide table.
- Uneven Bars– The bars are made of fiberglass. The high bar is 8.2 feet tall and the lower bar is 5.6 feet tall.
- Balance Beam– The balance beam is 4 inches wide, 4 feet tall and 16 feet long. It has springs in it and is covered in leather or suede.
- Floor Exercise– The 39 feet by 39 feet square spring floor is made of springs, rubber foam and plywood.
The New Gymnastics Format for the Olympics 2020
The gymnastics qualification system underwent an overhaul following the Rio Olympics. Instead of having 5 team members per team as was done in the past, the women’s gymnastics teams will now consist of only 4 team members. In addition, there can be up to 2 specialists (whose scores do not count for the team) per each National Olympic Committee (i.e. the United States is considered a National Olympic Committee). These two gymnasts can compete as individualists on one or all events depending on their strengths. Their scores will not count toward the team score for their country, however.
Note: For the Paris 2024 Olympics, the format will go back to 5 team members without the individual specialist spots.
For team scoring purposes, four gymnasts will compete on each apparatus and only 3 scores will count.
For individual event finals, only two gymnasts per country will advance to the event finals, regardless of whether they were part of the team or were one of the individual specialist gymnasts. Thus, if 3 gymnasts from one country get the top 3 scores on an event, only the top 2 will compete in event finals.
What is slightly different with this format is that it enables the individual gymnasts, if they are all-rounders, to have a chance to compete in the all-around final (assuming they make it to the AA finals). So this could potentially be up to 6 gymnasts per country competing in the all-around competition as opposed to the 3 max in the past. For a country like the United States with its great breadth, this could be a potential show-down for all-around.
Olympic Gymnastics Scoring
There are two components to the final score that gymnasts receive at the Olympics – the execution score and the difficulty score. In the old system the execution score was the only score. This score remains out of a 10.0, but now the difficulty score is added to it. The difficulty score is based on what skills the gymnast performs and the bonuses she gets from connecting one skill to another. So now in theory, scores can be infinite because the difficulty score isn’t out of anything. However, scores in the 15s and 16s are good. The final score is calculated like this:
Final Score = Execution Score + Difficulty Score – Penalties
(Penalties are deductions such as stepping out of bounds)
A 9 judge panel is used to determine the score for each event. The difficulty score is determined by 2 judges. The execution score is determined by 5 judges; the score is calculated by dropping the highest and the lowest score from these judges and averaging the other 3 scores. The remaining 2 judges on the panel are the reference judges.
How U.S. Gymnasts Qualify for the Olympics
The United States hosts an Olympic Trials in late June where gymnasts compete for spots on the Olympics team.
The top two ranked All Around gymnasts from this combined two-day competition will automatically qualify for the Olympic team. The Athlete Selection Committee will determine the remaining two spots plus 1-3 replacement athletes based on their discretion taking into consideration their placement at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships plus the Trials, the composite strength of all the Olympic Team members, team needs and medal potential, and international competition experience. Other factors such as start value, execution value, consistency, and professionalism will also be taken into account when selecting the remaining spots.
Top Contenders for the U.S. Olympic Team
While it is still too early to tell who will make the team, we’ve rounded up the current gymnasts on the U.S. National Senior Team who could potentially be on the Olympic Gymnastics Team in Tokyo. This list will change as we get closer to the Olympics.
- Simone Biles – Spring, TX (trains at World Champions Centre)
- Jade Carey – Phoenix, AZ (trains at Arizona Sundays)
- Jordan Chiles – Spring, TX (trains at Word Champions Centre)
- Kara Eaker – Grain Valley, MO (trains at Great American Gym. Express)
- Morgan Hurd – Middletown, DE (trains at First State Gymnastics)
- Sunisa Lee – St. Paul, MN (trains at Midwest Gymnastics Center)
- Grace McCallum – Isanti, MN (trains at Twin City Twisters)
- Riley McCusker – Brielle, NJ (trains at Arizona Sunrays)
- MyKayla Skinner – Gilbert, AZ (trains at Desert Lights Gymnastics)
- Leanne Wong – Overland Park, KS (trains at Great American Gym. Express)