Simone Biles competes on Floor at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships on Oct. 13, 2019 in Stuttgart, Germany.
St. Louis remains the gateway to Tokyo for U.S. gymnasts, just one year later than expected.
The rescheduled U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Gymnastics will be held June 24-27 at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, almost exactly one year after the event was originally planned for the same venue.
Both the trials and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were delayed one year in an unprecedented move in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tokyo Games will now run July 23-August 8, 2021, or starting one day earlier than they would have in 2020.
Those who had tickets for the 2020 trials will be able to use them in 2021 or request a refund from the seller, USA Gymnastics said. Because the 2020 trials had been sold old, the federation said “the opportunity to buy future tickets is unlikely.”
The two other major U.S. Olympic Team Trials events, swimming and track and field, had previously announced they would be returning to their same venues in 2021 as well.
The 2021 gymnastics trials are expected to follow the same format as planned for 2020, with the men competing on Thursday and Saturday, and the women on Friday and Sunday. Scores from both days will be combined, and the top two women and top man will automatically qualify for Team USA. The second-place man can also qualify if also has top-three finishes on at least three apparatuses.
Both the four-person women’s and men’s Olympic teams will be introduced at the end of the competition in St. Louis, with a selection committee determining the remaining spots.
In addition to the teams, another U.S. woman and two U.S. men could also earn Tokyo berths through a new individual qualification format. Should the U.S. earn those quotas, a selection committee would determine which athletes fill the spots as well.
Prior to the shutdown of global sports Jade Carey, a four-time world medalist, mathematically secured her position in Tokyo by merit of winning the floor exercise and vault competitions on the FIG Individual Apparatus World Cup series. Unless she elects to give up that spot, she would not be eligible for the team competition in Tokyo.
Leading the charge for the U.S. women’s team is the incomparable Simone Biles, a four-time gold medalist in Rio and the most decorated gymnast in the history of the world championships with 25 medals, 19 of them gold. Competition for the other spots will be especially fierce, with 2017 world all-around champion Morgan Hurd and former world team members Kara Eaker, Sunisa Lee, Grace McCallum, Riley McCusker and MyKayla Skinner, as well as 2019 world junior vault champion Kayla DiCello, among the top contenders. Konnor McClain, a 2019 junior world bronze medalist with Team USA, is among the athletes eligible for 2021 who would have been just under the minimum age requirement had the Olympics been held in 2020. The U.S. women have won every global team championship dating back to 2011.
On the men’s side, two-time Olympian Sam Mikulak continues to set the standard for Team USA. A six-time U.S. all-around champ, Mikulak won his first individual world medal with a bronze on high bar in 2018. Yul Moldauer, the 2017 U.S. all-around champ and three-time world championships participant, should also be in the mix, along with fellow former world team members Trevor Howard, Marvin Kimble, Akash Modi, Eddie Penev, Colin Van Wicklen, Shane Wiskus, Donnell Whittenburg and Alec Yoder, as well as two-time worlds alternate Allan Bower.
The U.S. men finished fourth at the last world championships, one spot up from their position at the Rio Games.
The Gateway City has established itself as a pre-Olympic home for the sport in recent years, with the men’s trials and women’s national championships being there in 2016, as were the 2000 and 2012 U.S. championships for both men and women. The 2012 and ’16 events took place at Chaifetz Arena on the St. Louis University campus, while the 2021 competition will be held at the larger Enterprise Center, home of the NHL’s Blues, in downtown St. Louis.