Gymnastics: Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021

Gymnastics: Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021

Gymnastics is one of five events that has been a part of every Olympic Games ever since Athens 1896. It is a test of strength, timing, precision, and perfection with concentration also playing a key part as the Gymnasts engage in technical routines with skilled proficiency. 

At the first modern Olympics, Gymnastics had 8 medal events. It remained a male-exclusive sport for 32 years until the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics where women gymnasts entered the fray. 

BEIJING - AUGUST 15: Nastia Liukin of the United States competes on the beam during the women's individual all-around artistic gymnastics final at the National Indoor Stadium on Day 7 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 15, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Rhythmic Gymnastics was added to the Olympics at the Games in 1984. Finally, Trampoline Gymnastics joined the Olympic fold in the year 2000 at the Sydney Olympic Games. 

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The most decorated gymnast at the Olympic Games is Larisa Latynina. She represented the Soviet Union from 1956 to 1964 and claimed a stunning 18 medals (9 Gold, 5 Silver, 4 Bronze). The Soviet Union, with 184 medals (73 Gold, 67 Silver, 44 Bronze) is the most successful nation in Olympic Gymnastics.

Gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021

One of the biggest changes for the Gymnastics event at the Tokyo Olympics is that the Team all-around event will only permit each country to enter 4 gymnasts each for the men's and women's events. This is a drop from the 5 person teams permitted at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Top Gymnasts at Tokyo Olympics 2020

Simone Biles, who ran riot at the 2016 Games, will look to carry her impressive form to Tokyo. Biles will look to claim all gold medals after her 5 gold and one Bronze in Rio. By doing so, she will look to move closer to the all-time Olympic record for individual gymnastic medals. A repeat 5 gold will help the 24-year-old eclipse Latynina's gold medal haul. 

Simon Biles, USA Olympics gold medallist, performs her floor routine at the Superstars of Gymnastics Event at the O2 Arena, Greenwich on Saturday 23rd March 2019. (Photo by Pat Scaasi/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Among Biles’ principal contenders will be Tang Xijing. The teenager claimed second place at the 2019 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships. Other names include Alice Kinsella, Alexa Moreno, and Angelina Melnikova. 

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The favorite in the men’s artistic gymnastic events is Nikita Nagornyy (2019 World Champion and 2016 Olympic medalist). As he debuted ‘The Nagornyy’ just a few months back, expect to see it at the Olympic Games too. Meanwhile, Kohei Uchimura of Japan will look to thrill his home fans and add to his 7 Olympic Medals

TOKYO, JAPAN - MAY 20: Kohei Uchimura of Japan competes on the rings during day two of the 57th Artistic Gymnastics NHK Trophy at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on May 20, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

Canada's double defending women's Trampoline gymnast, Rosie MacLennan, will seek to make it three in a row at the Tokyo Olympics. However, her slip at the Worlds has opened the door for the home favorite, Mori Hikaru. 

On the men's side, names to watch out for include Ivan Litvinovich, Uladzislau Hancharou, and Dong Dong, who has claimed a medal in each of the last three Olympics. 

Types of Gymnastics

There are three types of Gymnastics i.e. Artistic, Rhythmic, and Trampoline. In the Artistic competition, the men compete on six different apparatus, i.e. floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, high bar- in Olympic OrderMeanwhile, the women compete on four different apparatus i.e. vault, bars, beam, floor- in Olympic Order. 

Competition Format: Artistic Gymnastics

All Gymnastic routines are judged with an addition of the D-score (Difficulty) and the E-score (Execution). While the D-score remains pre-determined, the E-score goes a long way on the day of the performance. 

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JUNE 27: Grace McCallum competes on the uneven bars during the Women's competition of the 2021 U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Trials at America’s Center on June 27, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

In Artistic Gymnastics, all competitors start their journey with a qualifying round. It is from here that gymnasts qualify to the team final, the all-around final, and the respective event finals on the apparatus. None of the qualification scores get carried to the final events. 

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For the team all-around final, the 8 teams with the highest cumulative score i.e. the top three scores from six different gymnastic apparatus for men (four for women) make it to the final. 

However, in the finals, things are much more open with each country only allowed to send three gymnasts to perform a routine on each apparatus. Also, as only three gymnasts will perform per apparatus and 18 routines for men and 12 routines for women will be considered, it means that the judges will omit no scores from the final consideration. This means that a bad landing, a fall, or a poor E-score could prove detrimental. 

SAN JOSE, CA - JULY 10: MyKayla Skinner competes on the uneven bars during Day 2 of the 2016 U.S. Women's Gymnastics Olympic Trials at SAP Center on July 10, 2016 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

In the individual all-around event, the top 24 advances from qualification where the scores of efforts across all apparatus are taken into consideration. However, the condition of the top 24 implies that there should be only two gymnasts per nation in the final. For the finals of the individual apparatus events, the top 8 gymnasts qualify with the prerequisite of not more than two per country being applied here as well. 

The higher qualified teams/individuals follow the Olympic Order for events, i.e. the top two teams or four individuals in the men's events start with the floor exercise. Meanwhile, the teams in five and six and individuals from 9-12 will begin the final with the rings. In women's events, the top individuals/team starts from the Vault. 

Rhythmic and Trampoline Gymnastics Format

Rhythmic gymnastics is one of two women-only Olympic events. The other being Synchronized Swimming. In this discipline, gymnasts are allowed to use a ribbon, ball, hoop, or clubs to enhance their routine on the floor.

This sport permits the use of music with vocals allowed to be part of 50% of an individual's four performances (one with each apparatus). In team events, five gymnasts step onto the 13x13 mat and give two displays with a combination of apparatus in play. Music with vocals can be part of one display. 

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JUNE 27: Emma Malabuyo competes in the floor exercise during the Women's competition of the 2021 U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Trials at America’s Center on June 27, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

An individual routine must be between 75-90 seconds; a team routine must be between 135-150 seconds. A performance going under or over the time limit results in a point penalty of 0.05. Gymnastics incur further point penalties if the ribbon gets entangled in the routine and if they drop the ball, club, or hoop. Another point deduction takes place if the hoop vibrates in the air. 

In Trampoline, only 16 gymnasts per gender make it to the Games. From here, each gymnast displays two routines of which the first one has special requirements which do not differ per gymnast. The second routine lets them showcase their skills. 

To advance to the final, the scores from each routine get added with the top 8 progressing. Here too, as in Artistic and Rhythmic, the scores from qualification aren't carried to the medal event. 

Schedule for Gymnastics at the 2020-2021 Tokyo Olympics

The Artistic, Rhythmic, and Trampoline Gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics will begin with the men's Artistic qualification event on July 24 and end with the Women's Rhythmic Group all-around final on August 8. 

Artistic Schedule

EventQualificationFinal
Men's Team all-aroundJuly 24July 26
Men's Individual all-aroundJuly 24July 28
Men's FloorJuly 24August 1
Men's Pommel HorseJuly 24August 1
Men's RingsJuly 24August 2
Men's VaultJuly 24August 2
Men's Parallel BarsJuly 24August 3
Men's High BarJuly 24August 3
Women's Team all-aroundJuly 25July 27
Women's Individual all-aroundJuly 25July 29
Women's VaultJuly 25August 1
Women's BarsJuly 25August 1
Women's BeamJuly 25August 3
Women’s FloorJuly 25August 2

Rhythmic Schedule

EventQualificationFinal
Women's Group all-aroundAugust 7August 8
Women's Individual all-aroundAugust 6August 7

Trampoline Schedule

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EventQualification & Final
Men's TrampolineJuly 31
Women's TrampolineJuly 30

Venue for Gymnastics at Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021

All Gymnastics events for the Tokyo Olympics 2020-2021 will take place at the Ariake Gymnastics Center.

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VenueAriake Gymnastics Center
DateJuly 24- August 8
ChannelPeacock TV (US), BBC iPlayer (UK), Eurosport Player (Europe), TSN (Canada), Channel 7 (Australia), Sony LIV (India)
Total Players competing in Gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics324 ( 210 women and 114 men)
Most medals in the sport (Gold)Soviet Union 184 (73 Gold, 67 Silver, 44 Bronze)