Northwest

Why Isn't Jade Carey Competing in the Gymnastics Team Final?

Northwest

Oregon State Beavers commit Jade Carey is a U.S. Olympian in women’s gymnastics who made the final for both vault and floor exercise. But she won’t be competing in the team final at 6:15 a.m. ET on Tuesday (stream here or watch in NBC primetime on Tuesday). Neither will MyKayla Skinner. Here’s why.

How did Jade Carey make it to the Olympics?

Carey’s spot in the Olympics is as an individual gymnast. She earned it by competing in the Apparatus World Cup Series, a set of eight meets between November 2018 and March 2020. Carey won for the vault, and three other gymnasts earned spots for the other apparatus. However, those four athletes are allowed to compete in any of the apparatus, so Carey was not limited to the vault in the Olympic qualifications. She competed on all four and scored high enough in both vault and floor exercise to advance to the apparatus finals.

Why isn’t Jade Carey on the gymnastics team?

The U.S. gymnastics selection committee, led by Tom Forster, could have named Carey as one of the four members of the team. But that would have given the U.S. one fewer gymnast overall at the Olympics because no one else could be appointed to the individual spot that Carey earned.

How did MyKayla Skinner make it to the Olympics?

The U.S. also earned another individual spot because of the Americans’ strong performance in Olympic qualifying competitions like the 2019 World Championships. MyKayla Skinner was named to that spot after the U.S. Olympic Trials in June.

 

Skinner also competed in all four apparatus at the Tokyo qualifying on Monday morning, but she did not score high enough to advance to any of the finals, bringing an early end to her Olympics.

Why are there only four gymnasts on the Tokyo Olympics gymnastics teams

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 who had less depth among their gymnasts would have a better chance.

Furthermore, all teams are only allowed to put up three gymnasts on each apparatus, and all three scores count, so each person in Tokyo has to be a strong all-around competitor. At the 2012 and 2016 Games, each country had four of their five athletes compete on any given apparatus, and the lowest score was thrown out.   

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, FIG decided to go back to five-member teams for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, with no opportunities for gymnasts to qualify as individuals. As FIG President Morinari Watanabe said, he wanted a qualification system “that everybody can understand while being fair to the best athletes.”