Oregon Beavers take on Jade Carey is an American Olympian in women’s gymnastics who reached the final in vault and floor exercises. But she won’t make the team final at 6:15 a.m. ET Tuesday (stream here or watch prime time on NBC Tuesday). Neither does MyKayla Skinner. Here’s why.
How did Jade Carey get to the Olympics?
Carey’s place in the Olympics is as an individual gymnast. She earned it by competing in the Apparatus World Cup series, a series of eight fixtures between November 2018 and March 2020. Carey won the vault and three other gymnasts secured places for the other apparatus. However, these four athletes are allowed to compete in any apparatus, so Carey didn’t limit himself to jumping in Olympic qualifying. She competed on all four and scored high enough on vault and floor to advance to the apparatus finals.
Why isn’t Jade Carey on the gymnastics team?
The US gymnastics selection committee, headed by Tom Forster, could have named Carey as one of the four members of the team. But that would have given the United States one less gymnast in total at the Olympics, as no one else could be nominated for the individual place Carey deserved.
How did MyKayla Skinner get to the Olympics?
The United States also secured another individual spot due to the Americans’ strong performance in Olympic qualifying competitions like the 2019 World Championships. MyKayla Skinner was named there after the US Olympic Trials in June.
Skinner also competed in all four apparatus in the Tokyo qualifiers on Monday morning, but she did not score high enough to qualify for one of the finals, ending her Olympics prematurely.
Why are there only four gymnasts in the gymnastics teams of the Tokyo Olympics
In 2015, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) decided to have only four athletes per team instead of five for the Tokyo Olympics, the theory being that countries that had less depth among their gymnasts would have a better luck.
Additionally, all teams are only allowed to place three gymnasts on each apparatus, and all three scores count, so every person in Tokyo must be a strong overall competitor. At the 2012 and 2016 Games, each country had four of its five athletes competing on a given apparatus, and the lower score was rejected.
Will there be individual gymnasts at the 2024 Olympics?
No, the system with individual gymnasts will only be in place at the Tokyo Olympics. In 2019, the FIG decided to revert to five-member teams for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, with no possibility for gymnasts to qualify as individuals. As FIG President Morinari Watanabe said, he wanted a qualification system “that everyone can understand while being fair to the best athletes”.