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  HOME | Sports (Click here for more)

Among 100s of Gymnasts Vying for Olympic Spots, Biles Chases Immortality

MADRID – The competition is sure to be fierce at the 2019 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, where 550 gymnasts will battle for 196 berths – divided equally between men and women – at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

But for Simone Biles of the United States, the challenge will lie in improving on her own records.

The 22-year-old Biles reached several milestones at the 2018 Championships in Doha, becoming the female gymnast with the most World all-around titles (4) and total World medals (20), including 14 golds – the most in the sport for anyone, male or female.

She also became the 10th gymnast overall and first American to win a World medal in every event.

For the rest of the competitors, the focus of the Oct. 4-13 Championships in Stuttgart will be punching their tickets for Tokyo.

Team Olympic places

Nine men’s teams and nine women’s teams will have the chance to qualify for Tokyo 2020. The Chinese, Russian and Japanese men have already qualified, as have the US, Russian and Chinese women.

Individual Olympic places for 30 men and 32 women

An opportunity for those gymnasts whose teams don’t qualify or are not even entered in the competition.

World Cup competitions and continental tournaments are the last option to make it to Tokyo

The winner of each apparatus at the 2019-2020 Artistic Gymnastic series, as well as the top three men and women at the 2020 Championships will go to Tokyo, in addition to the two top men and women, respectively, who qualify via continental tournaments in 2020.

Simone Biles, beyond imaginable

With her 20 World and five Olympic medals, Biles said she wants to take gymnastics to another level. To that end she has added new and more difficult elements to her routine.

With a nod to Biles’ dominance of the sport, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) has created a section of skills to be known simply as “the Biles.”

“Getting the skills named after me is really exciting, just to go out there and prove to myself that I can do them, especially under all of the pressure that will be there that night,” Biles said in Stuttgart.

“I feel like putting my name on a skill is really rewarding just because it’ll be in the Code forever as well as the medals. It’s something that I can hold onto because I’m the one that did it first, so it’s really exciting,” the American said.

Judges will have unprecedented help

In Stuttgart, judges will be able to rely on a new system that uses artificial intelligence and 3D sensors to capture every movement of a gymnast’s performance and convert the movements into numerical data.

The new system will be used for the pommel horse; still rings; and men’s and women’s vault.

FIG approved use of the system in Stuttgart after it was successfully tested at the Tokyo All-Around World Cup in April and June’s Junior World Championships in Gyor, Hungary.


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