Up until now, gymnastics qualifying for the Olympic Games largely took place at the World Championships the year prior to the Olympics and at the Olympic Test Event held approximately six months after that World Championships.
Starting with qualifications for the 2020 Olympics, the time frame has stretched to the two years prior to the Olympics. Though, the bulk of qualifications will still be in the latter half of 2019 and the first part of 2020.
Below is an overview on how the 98 women (48 as part of teams and 50 as individuals) who will compete at the Olympics in Tokyo will qualify.
VIA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
– 2018 Worlds: The top 3 teams will qualify for Tokyo. This is by country only, not by name for the gymnasts who competed.
– 2019 Worlds: The top 9 teams, other than the already qualified 3, will qualify for Tokyo. Again, this is by country only, not by name for the gymnasts who competed.
– 2019 Worlds: The top 20 individual all-arounders who are NOT on one of the 12 qualifying teams qualify for Tokyo 2020. These spots go to the individual gymnasts and CANNOT be transferred.
– 2019 Worlds: Individual event medalists who are not on one of the qualifying teams –or– one of the additional 20 all-arounders qualify for Tokyo 2020. Like with the all-arounders, these spots go to the individual gymnasts and CANNOT be transferred.
VIA APPARATUS (INDIVIDUAL EVENT) WORLD CUPS
– The overall series winner on each event over the course of the 2018 AND 2019 seasons (November 2018 – March 2020) qualifies for Tokyo 2020.
– The top 3 finishes for each gymnast over the two seasons will be used for the calculation.
– The winner CANNOT have competed at either 2018 Worlds or 2019 Worlds, if the gymnast’s team qualified at either of those competitions. Doing so would mean that the gymnast would’ve technically qualified twice, even though the spots earned for the team are non-nominative and don’t belong to the gymnast.
– If the series winner has already qualified for Tokyo 2020 via a top-12 World Championships team, the next highest in the ranking who wasn’t on a top-12 team gets the qualifying spot.
– The winner of the qualifying spot CAN be from a country of one the top-12 teams, but just couldn’t have been a member of either one of the 2018 or 2019 Worlds teams.
*Special note: Individual event qualifiers will have the option of competing on all 4 events at the Tokyo Olympics.
VIA ALL-AROUND WORLD CUPS
– Only the top-12 qualifying teams will be invited to all-around (AA) World Cups in 2020 (to be held in March and April of that year).
– From those 12 teams, the top 3 countries will earn a Tokyo 2020 qualifying spot. These 3 spots are non-nominative, meaning they don’t belong to a specific gymnast.
– Countries don’t have to send the same gymnast to each of the AA World Cups.
VIA CONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
– Per Olympic rule, two gymnasts from each continent, excluding Antarctica, must be represented.
– In 2020, the top 2 all-arounders from the following meets: African Championships, Asian Championships, European Championships, and the Pan-Am(erican) Championships will earn a qualifying spot to Tokyo 2020. The top all-arounder from the 2020 meet to be held in the region of Oceania will also earn a qualifying spot.
– Gymnasts who are a member of a top-12 team and competed at either 2018 Worlds or 2019 Worlds are NOT eligible to earn one of these spots.
– If the top 2 eligible gymnasts (or the 1 from Oceania) are from a top-12 team, the qualifying spot belongs to the country. If the top 2 eligible gymnasts are not from a top-12 team, the qualifying spot belongs to the gymnast.
– It’s also a requirement that the Olympic host nation have at least 1 participant. Making the assumption Japan will qualify as a team, this spot will be opened to the next highest all-arounder from 2019 Worlds who is not already qualified.
– The last spot is the tripartite invitation. This qualifying spot is offered to a gymnast from a country that had an average of less than 8 athletes compete at the previous two Olympic Games (in this case, Rio 2016 and London 2012). If unused, this spot will be opened to the next highest all-arounder from 2019 Worlds who is not already qualified.
The official procedure for qualifying from the FIG can be found here.