Top female gymnasts technically excluded at the Tokyo Olympics


The 16-year-old Viktoria Listunova won the overall title in women’s gymnastics at both the European and Russian Championships earlier this year.

However, despite finishing sixth overall in Sunday’s qualifying round, Russian Olympic Commission athletes do not have the chance to try another all-purpose crown at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Listunova has often fallen victim to the dreaded “two per country” rule. This rule allows only two athletes per country to compete in all-round or equipment finals for medals.

Similarly, America’s Mikaila Skinner’s bid for the Olympics ended in qualifying after finishing fourth in the vault, but behind the country’s women Simone Biles and Jade Carey.

There is a long list of athletes who have been excluded from the Olympic finals for many years due to the two country-by-country rules that were first introduced for the equipment finals at the 1976 Montreal Games.

In the all-round finals from 1976 to the 2000 Olympics, three times were allowed per country, but since the 2004 Athens Olympics, “twice per country” has been revived in all-round competitions. ..

The restrictions are controversial as they could drive some of the best gymnasts in the world out of the medal battle just because their country is talented.

However, it aims to foster development and interest in countries where sports are less popular and to make competition truly global. The reduction in team size from 6 to 5 since 2008 and 4 in 2020 has also helped in this effort.

98 women from 48 countries participated in the 2020 gymnastics competition, compared to 98 from 32 countries in 2004. The team will return to five members in 2024.

In Tokyo, top teams ROC, the United States and China each have up to two athletes in the all-round final of 24 gymnasts on Thursday. Without the two rules, five more athletes from these delegations would also participate.

A female gymnast from the Soviet Union completed her final Olympic all-around podium sweep in 1960. Romania first achieved a feat in 2000, but the winner was disqualified after being tested positive for banned substances found in cold remedies.

At the 1972 Olympics, Japanese men dominated the all-purpose podium, followed by the Soviet Union in 1988 and a unified team in 1992.

Karen Brown