The Federation of International Gymnastics announced decisions about the future of Olympic gymnastics. Under the new system, the number of gymnasts in the team competition will be reduced from five gymnasts to four, opening up 24 extra spaces for male and female gymnasts at the Olympic Games. These spaces will be filled by those who qualify as all-arounders or event specialists through a qualification system that will be independent of the team selection process by each individual country. These changes will take place beginning in 2020.
According to Steve Butcher, chair of the Men’s Technical Committee, “the team format will be four gymnasts, four compete on each apparatus, and three scores count. The best countries will be able to qualify up to two individual gymnasts also through World Cups, Challenge Cups, and Continental Championships. There are many other formulas for AA gymnasts to qualify outside of the teams. The final details are still to be worked out, but the format is now set.”
In one view, the total number of gymnasts per country has the potential to increase. The number per team will decrease to four, but two additional gymnasts will be able to qualify for potential all-around or event finals slots. Potentially, more specialists will be able to qualify, and this will give opportunities to countries without qualified teams to still qualify individual gymnasts.
The FIG released a Q&A regarding the decision here.