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With the spread of COVID-19, we’ve seen multiple competitions pushed back or cancelled altogether for the safety of the gymnastics community. Recently the Italian Gymnastics Federation cancelled the City of Jesolo Trophy, which was originally scheduled for April 4-5 and which FloGymnastics was to live-stream.
To give the gymnasts initially scheduled for Jesolo a chance to compete, USAG scheduled a competitive opportunity taking place at the National Team Training Center in Indianapolis. The meet takes place April 3-5, with Sophia Butler, Kara Eaker, Shilese Jones, and Leanne Wong as the senior competitors, and Love Birt, Katelyn Jong, Kaliya Lincoln, and Katelyn Rosen as juniors. We do not currently have information on whether or not they will allow spectators or if anyone else is coming to compete against the U.S. team.
To avoid cancelling altogether, FIG delayed the Doha Apparatus World Cup until June due to the fear of spreading the virus, but this change means that the apparatus World Cup series winners, who end up with a nominative spot to Tokyo, will be announced in June, after countries compete for up to two spots at the Olympic Games at the AA World Cup and Pan American Games.
The date of the Doha Apparatus World Cup change reflects positively for gymnasts from quarantined countries such as Italy and Iran who can possibly attend now, but also leads to confusion with nominative and non-nominative spots for certain countries. For example, spectators expected Jade Carey to win a nominative spot by the end of the individual apparatus World Cup series, taking one of two spots for the US. This prediction imagined her winning a spot after the United States secured a first spot at the AA World Cup series in April.
Now that Continental Championships will end before the individual apparatus World Cup series, it remains unclear if the United States will compete for a spot at the Pan American Games, and if so, if Jade Carey could accept her nominative spot, should she earn it at the conclusion of the World Cups in June. This change could also affect China and Japan, which find themselves in similar situations.
Three World Cup events are postponed to June 2020 due to the difficulties caused by the #coronavirus outbreak:— FIG Media (@FIG_media) March 11, 2020
- #ArtisticGymnastics - #Doha Apparatus World Cup
- #RhythmicGymnastics - #Pesaro World Cup
- #TrampolineGymnastics - #Brescia World Cup
The possibility of earning a spot at the AA World Cup series remains in jeopardy as well, while at least two of the three meets (Tokyo, Burmingham, and Stuttgart) must go on to give out spots. Just today FIG released that the German Gymnastics Federation and Local Organizing Committee cancelled the Stuttgart All-Around World Cup in Germany, with no chance of rescheduling.
This change affects Sunisa Lee and Yul Moldauer, the gymnasts originally scheduled to represent the U.S. in this competition. New cancellations appear daily for events around the world due to safety concerns, but the Birmingham (March 28) and Tokyo (April 4-5) AA World Cups are still on for now. The AA World Cups allocate three spots to teams, and if the series doesn’t finish, those spots will be allocated another way.
one week until i’m back stuttgart ?✨❤️ pic.twitter.com/w7bz6jBvHd— Sunisa lee (@sunii567) March 10, 2020
Due to these changes, FIG will likely alter or at least clarify its qualification process for the Tokyo Olympics. FIG should release announcements soon to keep the process fair, but no such information had been shared so far.
The situation around COVID-19 affects not only elite gymnastics, but college gymnastics as well. Many teams decided to not allow spectators at meets for the near future, and some teams decided not to travel for meets this weekend. This unfortunate timing affects senior night for multiple teams, a time gymnasts take to celebrate their time in the sport and fans can show their gratitude to gymnasts for their contributions to the team.
heartbroken? https://t.co/REeYUJNsAm— Madison Kocian (@MadisonKocian) March 11, 2020
UCLA’s senior night originally moved to no spectators, and then Bridgeport decided not to travel to the dual meet, meaning there is no opponent for UCLA’s senior night, and they have not released any statements on plans for the situation. Kent State and Rutgers moved to no spectators for their upcoming meets, and spectators at Yale, Penn, Brown, Washington, and Cornell are being limited. Southern Connecticut State cancelled all travel, therefore cancelling its meet at Towson. The latest changes and information for NCAA teams and upcoming meets continue updating in real time here.
While impossible to know how these cancellations and changes will play out and can feel disappointing, the most important priority revolves around keeping the gymnastics community safe during such a difficult time.