The 2020 Olympic qualification process is so weird and dumb, you guys. You are completely forgiven for putting off trying to understand it for as long as possible.
But it’s starting to be that time of quad…
Recently, the FIG released an entirely unhelpful gibberish video (the part about continental championships is actually indecipherable) that was supposed to explain this cuckoo-pants fever dream of a system to the uneducated masses. Thank you, it didn’t. Try again, but this time pretend like you’ve had a conversation with a human person before.
Anyway, here’s the actual deal.
What’s the team format for the 2020 Olympics?
Qualification is 4-4-3 (4 on the team, 4 compete each event, 3 scores count).
The Team Final is 4-3-3 (3 up, 3 count—the format we know well).
Translation: All four selected teams members will be all-arounders. It’s terrible.
How do teams qualify?
The top 3 teams from the 2018 Worlds Team Final advance to the Olympics.
Then, 9 more teams from 2019 Worlds Qualification will join them.
12 teams. Done. That’s all. No bothering with Test Event qualification this time. Team qualification is finished by the fall of 2019.
How do gymnasts without teams qualify?
In the all-around at 2019 worlds, the best 20 women and 12 men who aren’t part of qualified teams will also go to the Olympics (limit 1 per country) along with the top 3 from event finals who aren’t part of qualified teams (limit 3 per country).
These spots are for the individual, not for the country. So it’s not Switzerland getting an Olympic spot; it’s Giulia Steingruber specifically getting an Olympic spot.
What’s the deal with these specialist spots?
Oops. Don’t call them specialists. You might get murdered. They’re simply individuals and can compete all events at the Olympics if they choose.
This quad, there are several new methods of Olympic qualification open to any individuals, whether they’re part of a qualified team or not. Qualified teams can earn two more spots through these routes, bringing their potential Olympic teams up to six members.
Event World Cups
The overall winner of the event world cup series on each apparatus gets a spot at the Olympics (limit 1 per country). These spots are also for the individual, not for the country.
The event world cup qualification series begins in Cottbus in November 2018 and ends in Doha in March 2020. Each gymnast’s best 3 results during that period count for the final rankings.
All-Around World Cups
The top 3 countries at the end of the four 2020 All-Around World Cups (American Cup, Stuttgart, London, Tokyo) earn spots at the Olympics. These spots are for the country, not for the individual.
The top 2 finishers in the all-around final at the 2020 continental championships earn a spot at the Olympics. That spot is for the individual, unless that gymnast’s country is already qualified as a team, then it is for the country.
What if I’m just pretending to be interested in all this but really only care about how it affects the US women?
Thank you for your honesty.
The US women will qualify a team of four gymnasts to the 2020 Olympics after placing among the top 3 teams at the 2018 World Championship (let’s be real here).
The US women will gain a fifth Olympic spot by sending athletes to the all-around world cup events in March and April of 2020 (American Cup, Stuttgart, London, Tokyo) and placing in the top three in the overall standings at the end of those four meets.
The US women will gain a sixth Olympic spot by sending athletes to the 2020 Pan American Championships and placing someone in the top 2 in the AA final.
The US will then select its team of six (four gymnasts competing for the team, two gymnasts competing solely for themselves) following the Olympics Trials as usual.
So, for US women’s purposes, the 2020 American Cup is the first meet that will matter for earning those two extra individual spots. You don’t have to worry about it until then.
The US will not bother with the individual event world cups since Olympic spots earned there are for the athlete rather than for the country. The US wants to be able to pick its own team, rather than have its team determined by external competition results.
I heard that people who are on the worlds team can’t compete at these other qualifying events. What white nonsense is that?
I know, it’s weird.
Countries that have already qualified teams to the Olympics cannot send the gymnasts who earned that team qualification off to earn more Olympic spots at the event worlds cups and continental championships. (This does not apply for the all-around world cups.)
Explain specifically for the US women, please and thank you.
So, since the US women won’t attempt to get a spot from the event world cups, this really only applies to the continental championships.
Basically, it will mean that the all-arounders on 2020 Pan American Championships team cannot have been on the 2018 worlds team. Not a big deal in the end.
And that’s that.
-12 teams of 4.
-Qualified teams can send up to six gymnasts to the Olympics given the right circumstances.