Russia ban runs through Olympic gymnastics team qualifying deadline
Russia’s ban from international sport extended long enough that, as rules stand, its gymnasts cannot qualify to defend Olympic men’s and women’s team titles at the 2024 Paris Games, even if they are reinstated to compete elsewhere before the Games start.
Should the ban be lifted in time, they can still qualify for the Paris Games to compete in individual events.
Gymnasts from Russia, and other European nations not already qualified, need to compete at next month’s European Championships to stay on the path toward Olympic qualification in the men’s and women’s team events.
Earlier this month, the European Gymnastics Federation was asked by what date must bans on Russian athletes be lifted for them to be eligible to compete at the European Championships.
“According to our rules, changes can be made until the draw,” the federation’s head of media wrote in a March 8 email.
The draw for the European Championships was held Tuesday. Russian gymnasts, who are still banned from international competition for the war in Ukraine, were not included in the draw.
The 2024 Olympic team event fields will be filled by the top finishers at this fall’s world championships, plus the medalists from last year’s worlds. Teams can only qualify for worlds via continental championships, such as the European Championships, or the previous year’s world championships.
The International Gymnastics Federation, whose Olympic qualifying rules were published by the IOC last April, was asked if there is any other way that gymnasts from Russia could qualify for the Olympic team events. It responded by forwarding a March 3 press release that stated that Russia and Belarus gymnasts remain banned “until further notice.”
Russia’s gymnastics federation has not responded to a Monday morning request for comment.
Last December, the IOC said it planned to explore a possibility that Russian and Belarusian athletes could enter Asian competitions if and when they are reinstated. There have been no further updates on that front. The Asian Gymnastics Championships are in June.
In Tokyo, Russian women, competing as the Russian Olympic Committee rather than Russia due to the nation’s doping violations, won the team title over the heavily favored U.S. after Simone Biles withdrew after her opening vault with the twisties. It marked the first Olympic women’s team title for Russian gymnasts since the Soviet Union broke up.
At last year’s worlds, the U.S. won the women’s team title in the absence of the banned Russians.
Russian men won the Tokyo Olympic team title by 103 thousandths of a point over Japan, their first gold in the event since the 1996 Atlanta Games.
China won last year’s world men’s team title over Japan and Great Britain.
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