Olympic gymnastics team event sizes will be cut from five gymnasts to four starting with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, according to an International Gymnastics Federation official.
“The team format will be four gymnasts, four compete on each appataus [sic], and three scores count,” was posted on FIG men’s technical committee president Steve Butcher‘s Facebook account. “The best countries will be able to qualify up to two individual gymnasts also through World Cups, Challenge Cups, and Continental Championships. There are many other formulas for AA [all-around] gymnasts to qualify outside of the teams. The final details are still to be worked out, but the format is now set. I am one of the few that did not support this major change.”
Olympic team event sizes were five men and five women each at London 2012, six men and six women each at Beijing 2008, Athens 2004 and Sydney 2000 and seven men and seven women each at Atlanta 1996.
U.S. women’s national team coordinator Martha Karolyi said in March that the rule change was “absurd.”
“It will hurt the spectacle, what the gymnasts can provide for the whole world, and would eliminate some of the strongest gymnasts just in our country,” Karolyi said. “Even when the team was six we had to leave home some strong ones. I totally don’t feel like I am really happy about that, but decisions will be taken, and we will be with any kind of decision. That’s what we did in the past, even if something doesn’t seem like very smart or very good, but once the rules are set for us, we will go with it.”
Butcher’s Facebook post pointed out that nations may be able to qualify six men’s and six women’s gymnasts to the Olympics — more than the team sizes at London 2012 — but two of the gymnasts would be for individual events rather than the team competition.