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Gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics: What to Know for 2021

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Jordan Chiles – Simone Biles
Jordan Chiles – Simone Biles

Gymnastics is one of the most anticipated events at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. 

American stars Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman have helped boost the sports’ popularity and made it a staple on the Summer Olympic calendar. 

While the United States has been impressive at artistic gymnastics in the 21st century, the sport’s gold standard remains Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina. In her three trips to the Olympics in 1956, 1960 and 1964, Latynina won a women’s Olympic record 18 medals.

Here’s everything you need to know about artistic gymnastics for the Tokyo Olympics:

What are the types of gymnastics?

Olympic gymnastics is divided into three categories: artistic, rhythmic and trampoline. Artistic gymnastics has been part of the Olympics since the first Games were held in 1896. Rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline events were introduced more recently in 1984 and 2000, respectively.

What is artistic gymnastics?

Artistic gymnastics has been contested since the first Olympics in Athens back in 1896 and has been held in every Olympics since then. This category consists of eight events for the men and six events for the women.

Men’s events include team all-around, individual all-around, floor exercise, horizontal bar, parallel bars, pommel horse, rings and vault. These eight events have been the eight artistic events at the Olympics for men since 1936.

Women’s events include team all-around, individual all-around, vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. These six events have remained consistent on the women’s side since 1960.

How is artistic gymnastics scored?

Artistic gymnasts are judged in two categories — a D score for difficulty and an E score for execution.

 

The difficulty score is based on the moves an athlete performs, and they are given between 0.1 and 0.8 points per move. Men’s scores use their top 10 moves and women’s scores use their top eight moves to accumulate the athlete’s final D score.

The execution score is much simpler. Every gymnast starts with a perfect 10.0 score and points are deducted for any mistakes.

The D and E scores are combined at the end, and the gymnast with the highest cumulative score wins the event. The athlete with the highest combined score from every event is deemed the winner of the all-around event.

Which country has the most medals at artistic gymnastics?

On the men’s side, the Soviet Union has the most artistic gymnastics gold medals with 45 and total medals with 106. Japan holds second place in total medals with 97 and golds with 31. The United States is third among men’s teams with 64 total medals, 22 gold.

On the women’s side, the Soviet Union has the most gold medals and total medals with 36 and 94, respectively. Romania is second with 24 gold medals and 62 total medals, with the United States again in third at 14 gold medals and 48 total medals.

When will the Olympic gymnastic competitions take place?

The men’s and women’s artistic gymnastic competitions will take place from July 24 through Aug. 3 in Tokyo at Ariake Gymnastics Centre in the northern part of Tokyo’s Ariake district. This is a temporary venue with a seating capacity of 12,000.

Here’s a look at the schedule for what events will be held on those 11 days:

July 24 — men’s qualifications events

July 25 — women’s qualification events

July 26 — men’s team final

July 27 — women’s team final

July 28 — men’s all-around final

July 29 — women’s all-around final

Aug. 1 — men’s floor exercise final, men’s pommel horse final, women’s vault final, women’s uneven bars final

Aug. 2 — men’s rings final, men’s vault final, women’s floor exercise final

Aug. 3 — men’s parallel bars final, men’s horizontal bar final, women’s balance beam final

What gymnasts will compete for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics?

Simone Biles will be the leader alongside five first-team Olympians for the U.S. women in Tokyo.

Biles, Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum will compete in the team competition, and Jade Carey and MyKayla Skinner will compete as individuals. The four team members are overwhelming favorites to win USA’s third consecutive Olympic title in women’s team gymnastics, while Biles is expected to win the individual all-around and medal in several apparatuses as well.

For the men’s team, Sam Mikulak is back for his third Olympics. Mikulak, Shane Wiskus, Brody Malone and Yul Moldauer will compete in the team competition. Alec Yoder was chosen to compete as an individual in Japan, where he looks to win a pommel horse medal.