With the 2022 NCAA season now firmly closed away in the attic, it comes time to shift attention to elite and refamiliarize with what we’re going to be about for the next several months.
Mostly, it’s the continental championships.
For 2022, the FIG has established a qualification standard for the world championship, so rather than worlds being open to anyone with an FIG license, all spots must now be earned and established in advance. Most of these spots will be secured at the continental championships, which now serve as a sort of pre-worlds series running through the spring and summer with much greater stakes than they had before, especially for the impartial viewer.
Ultimately, though, a large number of spots available are still available at worlds—200 for women, compared to the 234 women who competed at 2018 worlds—so the composition of countries shouldn’t be all that different from the past. The main change will come as a result of the number of teams permitted. In previous second-year-of-the-quad world championships, there was no cap to the number of teams that could enter, so lower-ranked nations could enter a full five athletes if they chose to. Now, those same countries will probably qualify only 1-2 individuals.
The series will kick off with the Oceania Championship at the end of May (held in conjunction with Australian nationals), then the Asian Championship in June (the recent cancellation of Chinese nationals means that the Asian Championship will be our first, best look at how the Chinese teams are shaking out in the new quad), followed by the African and Pan American Championships in July, and finishing with the European Championships in August.
These are the quota places available to be won at each event:
The only difference in team spot allocation for men and women is the 5-4 split between the Americas and Asia, where the competitiveness of the men’s teams from Taiwan and South Korea have shifted more spots to Asia, while their women’s teams don’t typically rank as high.
The all-arounders qualify these spots for themselves, not for their countries, so if they have to withdraw from worlds, the spot goes to the next person in the standings from continentals, not a replacement from the same nation.
The only spots that aren’t awarded based on the continental championships are awarded based on the Apparatus World Cup events that already took place this year, from which 8 people per apparatus will qualify spots for themselves. Those 8 people can’t have qualified as part of a team or as an all-arounder from the continental championships, so while it has already been decided who the top 8 are in the final rankings (WAG, MAG), we won’t actually know who qualifies in these spots until we see what happens at the continental championships. Expect to have to go pretty far down the list on some of these events to fill out 8 whole spots given how many of those athletes are likely to qualify through other methods. Unlike at the Olympics, the people who qualify to worlds for apparatuses can compete on only the apparatuses they qualified on.
What else is happening?
The end of May and into June will bring the normal Challenge Cup series with stops in Varna and Osijek, and Koper—which are different from the Apparatus World Cup events since these challenge cups have no world championships qualification implications. They just also happen to be world cup events, that are on the apparatuses. But they’re not Apparatus World Cups. Because of helpful.
The end of July brings us the Commonwealth Games gymnastics event, which will be the same weekend as the US Classic (now featuring men). That will lead right into the women’s European championship, followed by the men’s European championship and US Nationals, which will run simultaneously from August 18-21. Then it’s worlds, beginning on October 29th.