FIG Executive Committee: 2021 seniors eligible for Tokyo Games and more

By Patricia Duffy | April 9, 2020
FIG Executive Committee/2020 Melbourne World Cup: Finals Day 1
Courtesy 2020 FIG Melbourne Individual Apparatus World Cup

The FIG Executive Committee (EC) announced multiple key decisions on Thursday that directly impact the now-Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games, as well as more events.

Keep reading for the EC’s release and our breakdown of these groundbreaking decisions.

FIG Executive Committee takes key decisions following 2020 Tokyo postponement

In the wake of the one-year postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the FIG Executive Committee held a meeting by video conference on Thursday, April 9, 2020 to discuss the major issues raised by the change of dates and the impact of the current global health crisis on Gymnastics events.

The Executive Committee made several key decisions that will allow the athletes, their entourages and national Gymnastics federations to see a little more clearly in these troubled times.

Qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

While almost 75% of the 324 Olympic places in Gymnastics have already been allocated, the fast-growing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the staging of the remaining qualifying events, which were planned to take place between mid-March and the end of May 2020.

The Executive Committee takes note of the International Olympic Committee’s decision to extend the qualification period until 29 June 2021, which gives a larger window for the completion of the Olympic qualification process.

In this regard, the Executive Committee has decided to follow the principles of the Olympic qualification rules and to do its utmost so that all remaining qualifying World Cups and continental championships that are not run as originally expected can be re-scheduled once the safety conditions are met.

To this end, the FIG intends to work in close cooperation with the hosting national federations and the continental unions to find new dates once the pandemic has been contained and governmental restrictions are lifted.

TO THE POINT: All qualification events that were cancelled or postponed will somehow, someway be rescheduled within the next 16 or so months to allow for the completion of the original qualification process. All results from meets that have already taken place are still valid. Basically, the FIG will work with the hosts of the [remaining] All-Around World Cup series, Individual Apparatus World Cup series (namely, Doha), and more to complete the qualification process. Although dates haven’t been announced, expect this schedule to look very similar to the original 2020 spring schedule.

Regarding the Apparatus World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan, which had to be stopped on 13 March before the finals, the Executive Committee has decided that the results of the qualification stage must be considered as the final rankings, and points must be awarded according to these rankings.

TO THE POINT: This will be one of the most controversial decisions from today’s EC meeting. The qualification results from Baku will stand as the final results and count toward the Individual Apparatus World Cup series rankings. This is great news for some, but it’s been well-documented that many athletes who would’ve been podium contenders (e.g. Team USA’s Stephen Nedoroscik on pommel horse) traveled to Baku and then almost immediately had to turn around and scramble to return home before the pandemic took a turn for the worse. Now, there is only one more competition remaining in the Individual Apparatus series. For athletes like Nedoroscik, this means the end of the line as far as trying to qualify via this series. In Nedoroscik’s case, he would’ve needed a win in Baku, which was very much possible, as well as a win in Doha to potentially earn the top spot in the pommel horse rankings and a berth for himself to Tokyo. Nedoroscik could still be named to the U.S. team as a specialist if the U.S. earns +1 or +2 via the All-Around World Cup series and Continental Championships. Other specialists, especially from “weaker” countries, may not be as lucky.

Nothing changes for athletes or National Olympic Committees who have already gained an Olympic qualification spot. They keep their place at the Games.

TO THE POINT: Individuals who qualified to Tokyo via the 2019 World Championships, etc. don’t have to worry about their spots being taken from them. Current rankings from series that were in progress still stand. Now, there’s just the matter of finishing the qualification process.

Age eligibility

The Executive Committee has decided that the age eligibility criteria in the Olympic qualification rules must be amended, in order to line up with Article 5.2 of the FIG Technical Regulations specifying minimum age in the year of the competition for senior competitions and the Olympic Games. The additional eligibility criteria remain the same.

TO THE POINT: One of the most widely-debated topics since the Olympics were postponed has been decided. Athletes who will be seniors in 2021 are now eligible for Tokyo. This will particularly impact the U.S. Women’s team, as junior stars like Konnor McClain, Skye Blakely, and more will now be in the mix.

Judges and Codes of Points

The Executive Committee has agreed to make no change to the judges’ selection criteria for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and therefore the judges who have been invited to take part in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games remain invited for next year.

They have also decided that the 2017–2020 Codes of Points in all Gymnastics disciplines will remain in force until the end of 2021. The 2021–2024 Codes of Points, which will now come into force on 1 January 2022, will be published next year to avoid any confusion. All courses and exams for FIG Judges’ brevets will also be postponed by one year, to November 2021.

TO THE POINT: The 2017-2020 Code of Points will remain in place until the end of 2021, effectively making it the 2017-2021 COP. In addition, if the 2021-2024 COP doesn’t come into “force” until January 1, 2022, that means the current COP will also be valid for 2021 WorldS as well. (More on that below!)

World Championships

The health crisis has led to the postponement of the 2020 Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships in Geneva, Switzerland, the Aerobic Gymnastics World Championships in Baku, and the first FIG Parkour World Championships in Hiroshima, Japan. The FIG is in touch with the organising member federations to find new possible dates to hold these events in 2021.

For now, there are no plans to move the 2021 World Championships in Artistic Gymnastics in Copenhagen, Denmark, or the Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships in Baku. The candidature process for hosting the 2021 Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships also continues.

TO THE POINT: One of the most exciting announcements from this release is that the 2021 World Championships for Artistic Gymnastics in Denmark will continue as planned. As is typical with the first Worlds in a new quad, this will be an “individual” meet with no team event. With the event now set to take place just months after Tokyo, you can expect more “new” faces than usual as Olympic athletes take a rest. Or, maybe some will delay their break until after Worlds. Who knows! Either way, there will certainly be an interesting cast of characters in Copenhagen!

Electoral Congress

The Executive Committee also discussed the Electoral Congress that is planned in Antalya, Turkey, in October 2020. Diverse scenarios were considered, including the possibility of postponing the Congress to October 2021. The Executive Committee will again assess the situation in mid-May, and will take a final decision then or in June, depending on the evolution of the pandemic.

In the meantime, all the deadlines for national federations to respect remain unchanged, including the 20 May 2020 deadline to submit candidacies for elections.

What do you think? Did the FIG Executive Committee get it right with these decisions?