I’ve been in a post-Olympics haze since returning from Tokyo, and while I still have a lot I’d like to analyze from Tokyo, I figured what better way to take a break than with a brand-new Olympic qualifications system?
At an FIG meeting in Doha, federations came up with an updated system that uses bits and pieces of things that worked in the 2020 quad, but that also takes some issues into consideration.
Qualifying as a Team
The FIG previously decided that countries qualifying full teams will once again be able to send teams of five instead of four, and they also made the decision to drop the additional individual spots for countries with full teams. A country that qualifies a full team will have a full team of five, no more, no less, which I’m sure will be a welcome change for federations that struggled with how to best build teams when you don’t yet know who may or may not be eligible to contribute.
Like last quad, the top three teams at the mid-quad world championships – 2022 – will qualify to the Olympic Games, while the next nine qualify the year before the Games, in 2023.
Qualifying as an All-Arounder
With teams no longer bringing individual qualifiers, the need for the all-around world cups as a qualifier is moot, but the other routes for all-around competitors are still open, with most able to earn spots at 2023 World Championships, while the rest will get in via continental championships.
The most crucial difference is that the teams that finish 13th through 15th at 2023 worlds will be able to qualify their top two individual competitors, instead of just one, taking up a total of six spots. The remaining spots – seven for MAG, 13 for WAG – will be awarded one-per-NOC, also based on qualifications at worlds in 2023, for a total of 13 MAG and 19 WAG all-arounders.
Another change is that only one gymnast per continent will be able to qualify via continental championships in 2024. Last quad, Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa each qualified two, while Australia just had the one. A total of five men and women will qualify this way, instead of 11 each last quad.
Qualifying as a Specialist
Specialists will be able to qualify through both worlds in 2023 and through the apparatus world cup series held in 2024, with Cottbus, Baku, Doha, and Cairo – the latter taking over for Melbourne – acting as hosts.
At world championships, up to three specialists per event were eligible to qualify to the Olympics last quad, but in the 2024 quad, it decreases to just one per event, so six MAG and four WAG. It won’t affect the women at all – only one specialist qualified to the Olympics at worlds in 2019 – but it could make a big difference for the men, especially on events with lots of specialist depth, like rings, where two of the finals competitors in Tokyo were qualifiers from worlds.
However, the world cup series will allow for two qualifiers per event, instead of just one, for a total of 12 MAG and eight WAG, meaning specialists will be more likely to attempt to qualify this way.
Host Country & Tripartite
The host country and tripartite spots haven’t changed. Should France not qualify teams or individuals in either MAG or WAG, they will be given a host country spot, though this almost certainly won’t be an issue for either, in which case this spot will be reallocated to the all-around pool at worlds in 2023.
The tripartite spot, meanwhile, will go to gymnasts from eligible NOCs, aka those with fewer than eight athletes in individual sports or disciplines at the last two editions of the Olympic Games. Typically, the FIG will nominate the highest-ranked athlete from an eligible country at the previous world championships who didn’t qualify outright.
How Would This System Have Worked in the 2020 Quad?
I don’t think this system is as confusing as last quad’s. For one, we’ve already experienced watching a super complicated qualification process unravel, and on top of that, we did it in a pandemic, which created even more confusion as multiple rules changed along the way. But it’s still a lot to take in, so using the results from world championships, the world cup series, and continental championships in the 2020 quad, I put together the lists of who would have qualified had this system been in place.
Mid-Quad World Championships
The top three NOCs qualify a full five-member team based on their finish in the team final at world championships in November 2022.
|Total: 15||Total: 15|
Based on results from world championships in 2018.
Pre-Olympic World Championships | Teams
The top nine NOCs qualify a full five-member team based on their finish in team qualifications at world championships in October 2023.
|United States||Great Britain|
|Total: 45||Total: 45|
Based on results from world championships in 2019.
Pre-Olympic World Championships | Individual All-Arounders
A total of 13 men and 19 women will qualify nominative spots based on their finish in all-around qualifications at world championships in October 2023.
Two gymnasts per NOC will qualify from teams that finished 13th, 14th, and 15th in qualifications for a total of six MAG and six WAG athletes, and all others are one per NOC for a total of seven MAG and 13 WAG.
|Ludovico Edalli (Italy)||Georgia Godwin (Australia)|
|Niccolo Mozzato (Italy)||Emma Nedov (Australia)|
|Loris Frasca (France)||Flavia Saraiva (Brazil)|
|Antoine Borello (France)||Thais Fidelis (Brazil)|
|Ferhat Arican (Turkey)||Diana Varinska (Ukraine)|
|Ahmet Önder (Turkey)||Anastasiia Bachynska (Ukraine)|
|Carlos Yulo (Philippines)||Giulia Steingruber (Switzerland)|
|Manrique Larduet (Cuba)||Lee Yun-seo (South Korea)|
|Milad Karimi (Kazakhstan)||Zsofia Kovacs (Hungary)|
|Robert Tvorogal (Lithuania)||Martina Dominici (Argentina)|
|Alexander Shatilov (Israel)||Alexa Moreno (Mexico)|
|Artur Davtyan (Armenia)||Danusia Francis (Jamaica)|
|David Huddleston (Bulgaria)||Kim Su Jong (North Korea)|
|Aneta Holasova (Czech Republic)|
|Marcia Vidiaux (Cuba)|
|Maria Holbura (Romania)|
|Elisa Hämmerle (Austria)|
|Anastasiya Alistratava (Belarus)|
|Farah Ann Abdul Hadi (Malaysia)|
|Total: 13||Total: 19|
Based on results from world championships in 2019.
Pre-Olympic World Championships | Individual Event Specialists
A total of six men and four women will qualify nominative berths based on their finish in apparatus finals at world championships in October 2023. If there are no eligible athletes for an apparatus, the spot will be reallocated to the all-around field.
|FX: Artem Dolgopyat (Israel)||VT: Yeo Seo-jeong (South Korea)|
|PH: Rhys McClenaghan (Ireland)||UB: Mandy Mohamed (Egypt)*|
|SR: Ibrahim Colak (Turkey)||BB: Nazli Savranbasi (Turkey)*|
|VT: Marian Dragulescu (Romania)||FX: Barbora Mokosova (Slovakia)*|
|PB: Bart Deurloo (Netherlands)*|
|HB: Tin Srbic (Croatia)|
|Total: 6||Total: 4|
*Reallocated to all-around field due to no eligible competitors in the apparatus final
Based on results from world championships in 2019.
Apparatus World Cup Series
A total of 12 MAG and eight WAG athletes will qualify nominative spots based on their ranking at the conclusion of the four-meet series in March 2024.
|FX: Emil Soravuo (Finland)||VT: Oksana Chusovitina (Uzbekistan)|
|FX: Rok Klavora (Slovenia)||VT: Teja Belak (Slovenia)|
|PH: Saeedreza Keikha (Iran)||UB: Rebeca Andrade (Brazil)|
|PH: Nariman Kurbanov (Kazakhstan)||UB: Georgia-Rose Brown (Australia)|
|SR: Eleftherios Petrounias (Greece)||BB: Ting Hua-Tien (Taiwan)|
|SR: Ali Zahran (Egypt)||BB: Zeina Ibrahim (Egypt)|
|VT: Andrey Medvedev (Israel)||FX: Marta Pihan-Kulesza (Poland)|
|VT: Jorge Vega (Guatemala)||FX: Angelina Radivilova (Ukraine)|
|PB: Dinh Phuong Thanh (Vietnam)|
|PB: Andrey Likhovitskiy (Belarus)|
|HB: Epke Zonderland (Netherlands)|
|HB: Mitchell Morgans (Australia)|
|Total: 12||Total: 8|
Based on the FIG’s rankings at the conclusion of the 2018-2020 world cup series. The above scenario assumes there is a one-per-NOC limitation as there was in the 2020 quad.
A total of five men and five women (one per continent) will qualify nominative berths based on their finish in all-around qualifications at the continental championships series in 2024.
|African Championships||Omar Mohamed (Egypt)||Naveen Daries (South Africa)|
|Asian Championships||Rasuljon Abdurakhimov (Uzbekistan)||Tan Sze En (Singapore)|
|European Championships||Adem Asil (Turkey)||Larisa Iordache (Romania)|
|Oceania Championships||Mikhail Koudinov (New Zealand)||Emily Whitehead (Australia)|
|Pan-American Championships||Javier Sandoval (Colombia)||Luciana Alvarado (Costa Rica)|
|Total: 5||Total: 5|
Based on results from continental championships in 2021, with the exception of Asian Championships, which were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, I selected the top Asian qualifiers based on all-around qualifications world championships in 2019, coinciding with the rule change in the 2020 quad.
Host Country & Tripartite Invitations
The host country is guaranteed one spot if not qualified through other criteria, and one nominative tripartite commission invitation spot is available to an athlete meeting eligibility criteria.
|Host Country||Daniel Corral (Mexico)||Filipa Martins (Portugal)|
|Tripartite||Matvei Petrov (Albania)||Milka Gehani (Sri Lanka)|
|Total: 2||Total: 2|
Since the host country qualified for both MAG and WAG, this berth was reallocated to the next highest-ranked all-around athlete based on qualifications at world championships in 2019.
Tripartite nomination was based on NOCs meeting eligibility criteria at world championships in 2019.
Here are the key points that popped into my head as I was working through this case study.
- A number of lower-ranked all-arounders in both MAG and WAG would not have qualified to the Olympic Games, with the cutoffs going from 51st for MAG and 94th in WAG based on the 2020 system to 42nd in MAG and 65th in WAG based on the 2024 system.
- This means Oksana Chusovitina would not have qualified to her eighth and final Olympic Games via worlds, though she would go on to qualify as a specialist on vault at the world cup series, so we can breathe a sigh of relief. Given that NOCs that qualify two teams are no longer eligible to take these spots, I’d imagine Chusovitina and other top specialists will focus on qualifying this way first, and then world championships will become a secondary goal should the world cups not work out.
- I love seeing so many world cup regulars who happen to be specialists qualify via the apparatus series. I think this is why the apparatus world cup qualifier should exist, for those who are consistently winning medals internationally but who don’t compete as well in the all-around.
- That said, on some events we had to dig really deep into the rankings to find gymnasts from eligible NOCs, as most of the top-ranked gymnasts on several events were those who had already qualified teams or would go on to qualify teams at world championships.
- All individual athletes who went on to medal at the 2020 Olympic Games would have still qualified through this system, though several countries would miss out on these medal opportunities if they didn’t include the athletes they brought to Tokyo as individuals on their five-person teams since taking a +1 along for an individual berth is no longer allowed. For example, China would have needed to name Guan Chenchen to its five-person team to have her in a position to win gold on beam.
- Opening up two-per-NOC qualifying for the teams ranked 13th through 15th meant several talented all-arounders who missed out on Tokyo would have made it had this been the case last quad.
- Australia would have qualified four WAG spots! They would have qualified two all-around spots at worlds for finishing 13th as a team, and then would have gone on to earn a specialist berth via the world cup series, as well as a continental championships berth.
- The Turkish men also would have qualified four MAG spots, which they did under the 2020 system as well.
- Not much changed in terms of continental championships, though with Rebeca Andrade of Brazil previously qualifying at the world cup series, she would no longer be eligible to qualify at Pan Ams, meaning Luciana Alvarado takes over as the top qualifier for the continent.
- For the men, neither the U.S. nor Brazil would have been eligible to qualify at Pan Ams having already qualified full teams to the Games, so Jossimar Calvo – who sadly missed qualifying this quad – would have made it instead.
Anything else you noticed that you want to bring up? Give it a mention in the comments!
Article by Lauren Hopkins