Artistic gymnastics competition at the Tokyo Olympics continues Saturday with the women's qualification session.
Women's qualification is divided into five subdivisions for competition. The U.S. is in Subdivision 3 and will start on floor exercise, then rotate through the apparatuses following the Olympic order (vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise).
- Subdivision 1: Italy, Mixed Group 3 (Ukraine, Croatia, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Azerbaijan), Japan, Mixed Group 6 (Argentina, India, Singapore, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic)
- Subdivision 2: China, Great Britain, Mixed Group 7 (South Africa, Ireland, Austria, Sri Lanka), Russian Olympic Committee
- Subdivision 3: Mixed Group 8 (Jamaica, Peru, Poland, Chile, Turkey), Netherlands, Mixed Group 1 (Australia, Romania, Portugal, Slovakia), United States
- Subdivision 4: Canada, Mixed Group 4 (Israel, Switzerland, Uzbekistan, Costa Rica, Malaysia), France, Spain
- Subdivision 5: Mixed Group 5 (South Korea, Norway, Mexico, Hungary), Germany, Mixed Group 2 (Egypt, Brazil, Sweden, Belarus), Belgium
Every gymnast, whether competing for a team or as an individual, competes in the qualification round, as it serves as the qualifier for the team final, all-around final, and the event finals. Any athlete attempting to qualify for the all-around final has to perform on all four events in order to get a cumulative all-around score. Otherwise, they will only be in contention to make individual event finals and/or team finals if they are competing as part of a team.
Gymnasts do one routine per apparatus, with an exception on vault – if a gymnast wants to make the individual event final on vault, they must do two different vaults, the scores of which are averaged, to be in contention. In this case, only the score of the first vault will count toward their qualifying for the team and/or all-around finals.
Scores from qualification (which do not carry over to the finals) determine the following outcomes:
1. The top eight teams qualify for team finals.
2. Top 24 individual gymnasts qualify for the all-around finals, with a maximum of two gymnasts per NOC.
3. The top eight individual gymnasts on each apparatus qualify for the respective event finals, with a maximum of two gymnasts per NOC per event.
4. Final individual all-around placings 25th and lower will be determined.
5. Final team placings 9th-12th will be determined.
The headliner of the day is, of course, Simone Biles. Even in podium training earlier this week, she came to play, showing off her Yurchenko double pike vault. If she lands the skill in competition at the Olympics, it will be named after her.
All of the U.S. women will have must-watch routines, and a key issue during qualification will be the "two per country" rule when it comes to making finals. Americans will have to battle it out between themselves on a few apparatuses, particularly on floor where Biles is the frontrunner, but any of her teammates could advance to the event final depending on how each scores on the first night of competition. Jade Carey unveiled a routine in podium training that featured more difficult tumbling passes than the skills she competed at the U.S. Championships earlier this summer, and Sunisa Lee also added difficulty after recovering from an ankle injury.
On vault, Carey and MyKayla Skinner will have to battle it out for the second spot behind Biles, and the second American qualifier on balance beam may come down to who wobbles the least. Lee is Team USA's best chance for a medal on uneven bars, but she'll have to best Belgian gymnast Nina Derwael.
Biles is expected to easily defend her all-around title from Rio, but the rest of the podium is less predictable. Russian gymnast Angelina Melnikova looked strong during podium training, and Rebeca Andrade of Brazil has emerged as a medal threat after overcoming multiple injuries throughout her career. Japanese star Mai Murakami is also one to watch.
Like the floor final, the second gymnast from Team USA who makes the all-around final will be decided by who has the best day during qualifications and may come down to only a few tenths. Lee finished second to Biles at U.S. nationals and Olympic Trials, but Chiles or Carey shouldn't be counted out.
Subdivision 1 of women's qualification begins at 9 p.m. ET on July 24, followed by Subdivision 2 at 10:50 p.m. ET, then Subdivision 3 at 2:10 a.m. ET on July 25, followed by Subdivision 4 at 4:05 a.m. ET and Subdivision 5 at 7:20 a.m. ET. Gymnastics competition is taking place at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, located in the northern part of Tokyo's Ariake district near the Athletes' Village, the International Broadcast Center, and the Media Press Center.
How to watch
|7/24||Women's Qualification - Subdiv. 1 (9:00 p.m. ET)||Main Coverage | Apparatus Feed|
|Women's Qualification - Subdiv. 2 (10:55 p.m. ET)||Main Coverage | Apparatus Feed|
|7/25||Women's Qualification - Subdiv. 3, including Team USA (2:10 a.m. ET)||Peacock | Main Coverage | Apparatus Feed | Team USA Tracker|
|Women's Qualification - Subdiv. 4 (4:05 a.m. ET)||Main Coverage | Apparatus Feed|
|Women's Qualification - Subdiv. 5 (7:20 a.m. ET)||Main Coverage | Apparatus Feed|
Women's qualification, featuring Team USA, will air on NBC at 7:30 p.m. ET on July 25.