The International Gymnastics Federation has approved a new format for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo which cuts the artistic gymnastics team event size from five gymnasts to four gymnasts, according to Nancy Armour of USA Today.
The 2012 Summer Olympics in London featured teams of five, while the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing featured six gymnasts per team.
Steve Butcher, the FIG men's technical committee president, wrote the following explanation of the new format on Facebook:
"[...] The team format will be four gymnasts, four compete on each apparatus, and three scores count. 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 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."
At the 2012 Olympics, the United States five-woman team of Gabby Douglas, Jordyn Wieber, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney won gold in the team all-around. The men's team all-around gold medal was won by China.
Raisman, who also won gold in floor exercise in London, reacted to the change on Twitter on Friday.
Are you kidding me?!? Changing the 2020 gymnastics Olympic team to 4 girls instead of 5? What's next? A team of one member? What a shame.— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) May 15, 2015
A Change.org petition was started on Friday opposing the decision.
- Molly Geary