The Balance Beam Situation

Because gymnastics is a comedy, not a drama

Things Are Happening – March 28, 2020

Just kidding, no they’re not, obviously. But here’s the latest on the Nothing.

  • The IOC confirmed (in true IOC fashion, with the actual news coming in the fourth paragraph after we talk about how great all the administrators are for six hours) that the Tokyo Olympics would not be held in 2020, but “will” be held by the summer of 2021. Let’s hope so. I can’t take much more of this, and it’s somehow still March.
  • Supposedly, we’ll be receiving the finalized dates for the Nu-lympics in about three weeks. If I were the IOC, I’d select dates as pessimistically as possible because we don’t know anything now and still won’t know anything in three weeks—but experience has shown that I’m definitely not the IOC. Even with an extra year, I’m sure we’d still end up engaging in the biennial tradition of athletes arriving at the Olympic Village housing and posting pictures like, “So, the toilet is on the ceiling and the bed is mice. How. Why.”
  • The IOC did confirm that all previously qualified Olympians and teams will retain their spots, which had to be the case, but it’s nice they said it in words. What we don’t yet know is how that premise might extend to athletes whose spots weren’t officially awarded but who, say, gained points in a semi-complete Olympic qualification series. Just…for example. I’m sure that decision will depend on whether there’s even a chance to finish those series between now and the Olympics, which will depend on knowing those new Olympic dates. Sigh. GET A MOVE ON BUT ALSO TAKE YOUR TIME BUT QUICKLY.
  • The idea that additional spots might be added in various sports has also been quashed, which makes sense since that was a stop-gap proposal in case qualifying events were canceled but the Olympics still went ahead. With a 2021 Olympics, there should be an opportunity to finish up some manner of qualification process (should, maybe, or, sort of), with no need to add spots to make up for missed qualifying opportunities.
  • USAG announced that Olympic Trials are postponed until 2021 (obviously), but that they’re still hoping to go ahead with events like classic and nationals in 2020, potentially late summer or fall. Those dates seem like a pipe dream right now, given that you’d need to announce an official date and venue fairly far in advance to give athletes time to prepare (among a thousand other logistical issues), and how would you have any confidence in setting an actual date for an event any time soon? But we shall see.
  • As of now, we’re still getting some mixed messages (A or B) on the most pressing gymnastics question, that of age eligibility for the 2021 Olympics, so I’m holding off making any categorical proclamations. But Bach’s statements lately have been very much in the “these are still the 2020 Olympics” vein, which would indicate to me that they are leaning toward using previously published rules and qualification procedures without amendment for a new year.
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