2024 Olympic Gymnastics Qualification Predictions
The 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships will begin on September 30 in Antwerp, Belgium. The first two days of the competition will be the qualification round for the team, all-around, and event finals. Additionally, the team results from the qualification round will determine which countries can send teams to the 2024 Olympic Games. The United States, Great Britain, and Canada already qualified for the Olympics by finishing top three at last year’s World Championships. This year’s World Championships will be the final opportunity for teams to qualify for the Olympics. The top nine teams, aside from the three that have already qualified, will earn the last Olympic team berths.
The competition for these final nine spots is likely to be intense. There are many countries that could theoretically contend, and injuries or consistency issues could throw any team out of the top nine. Below is an analysis of which teams are most likely to qualify, based on scores from the 2023 season.
United States, Great Britain, Canada
The United States, Great Britain, and Canada secured the first three Olympic team spots last year by finishing on the podium at the World Championships. This is particularly a relief for Canada who would be right in the middle of this Olympic qualification fight. Canada was the only team that had no falls in last year’s team final, which won them the bronze medal and an Olympic team spot. This highlights the importance of consistency and simply hitting routines without falls, which will be imperative for the teams that have not qualified yet.
Aside from the United States, Italy has the highest team scores based on averages and maximum scores from the 2023 season. Italy is sending a strong group that should make it to the Olympics unless there is a disaster.
Brazil has had a problem with their top gymnasts never being healthy at the same time, but with Rebeca Andrade, Jade Barbosa, and Flavia Saraiva all currently healthy, Brazil should be safe for Olympic qualification. This will be a major victory for a team that missed out on the 2020 Olympic Games due to untimely injuries.
Many gymnastics fans are worried about China’s standing because they are splitting their top gymnasts between the Asian Games and the World Championships. There are also rumors swirling about potential injuries on the current Worlds team. Looking at the numbers, China should be fine, especially if they avoid counting falls on the uneven bars and balance beam. This team has obvious weaknesses on vault and floor, but they have the highest team totals on bars and beam aside from the United States.
Although Japan has the lowest maximum team score among these “probably safe” teams, they have the highest minimum team score, highlighting their consistency. The reigning World balance beam champion, Watanabe Hazuki, was originally on this team but is now out with an ACL injury. However, Japan has enough depth on their team to absorb this loss and still qualify for the Olympics.
France obviously wants to qualify a full team for their home Olympics, and they are bringing a solid group to Antwerp. Mélanie De Jesus Dos Santos is the all-around star of this team, and her having a good day would go a long way towards qualifying for Paris 2024. Balance beam consistency could pose a challenge for this team, but France could have a few mistakes and likely still be fine.
The Netherlands is bringing the same team that won a bronze medal at the 2023 European Championships. Eythora Thorsdottir and Naomi Visser are both strong all-arounders, and Sanne Wevers is the former Olympic and current European champion on the balance beam. This team is very experienced and should qualify the Netherlands for a third consecutive Olympic Games.
Assuming the six teams mentioned above will qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games, this leaves only three spots left.
On paper, Australia seems to be in a solid position for Olympic qualification. However, Georgia Godwin is the top all-arounder on this team, and she is dealing with a back injury that could limit her. It is also important to note that Emily Whitehead has not competed at all this year, but her scores on vault and floor exercise would help Australia a lot.
South Korea has been quietly building a strong team that could qualify as a team for the Olympic Games for the first time since 1988. Yeo Seo-jeong won a bronze medal on vault at the 2020 Olympics, and Lee Yun-seo is an Olympic and two-time World all-around finalist. Like many teams, balance beam is a potentially problematic event for this team.
Romania is a former powerhouse in gymnastics, and the world was shocked when they failed to qualify a team for the 2016 Olympic Games. Romania slipped further and further down the rankings, but in recent years, they have begun to climb back. Romania is sending a very young and exciting team to the World Championships. They have the second-highest team total when looking at maximum scores, which highlights this team’s potential. The key for this team will be hitting clean routines, especially on their historically weakest event- uneven bars.
Mexico has been impressing gymnastics fans this season and won the silver medal at the 2023 Pan American Championships ahead of Canada and Brazil. Mexico has also not qualified as a team for the Olympic Games since 1972. They are particularly strong on vault, mainly thanks to former World medalist Alexa Moreno, but they are significantly weaker on balance beam compared to the other three events.
Belgium could have been a bubble team, but they will be competing in Antwerp without their two strongest gymnasts. The reigning Olympic uneven bars champion Nina Derwael is out with a dislocated shoulder, and Lisa Vaelen has glandular fever (commonly known as mono). In terms of average and maximum scores from 2023, Belgium is a significant step back from the bubble teams mentioned earlier.
Germany has unfortunately caught the injury bug. Elisabeth Seitz and Emma Malewski, both European champions, will miss the World Championships. Without these top gymnasts, Germany’s path to Paris 2024 has become significantly more difficult.
Spain surprised gymnastics fans in 2019 when they took the final team spot for the 2020 Olympics. However, the two top gymnasts from that 2019 Worlds team, Cintia Rodriguez and Roxana Popa, are not on this team.
Hungary was initially going to be a bubble team in this analysis, but losing Zsofia Kovacs to an ACL injury is a massive blow. Kovacs is the team’s top all-around gymnast and a three-time European champion. Without her on the team, Hungary’s team total based on average scores dropped by nearly five points.
There are seven other teams who will compete at the World Championships- Argentina, Austria, Czechia, Finland, South Africa, Sweden, and Taiwan. None of these teams have a team score above 150 based on 2023 averages. This makes them extremely unlikely to qualify as a team for the Olympic Games unless full chaos ensues.
Based on my analysis of 2023 scores, the teams that will qualify for the Olympics are Italy, Brazil, China, Japan, France, Netherlands, Australia, South Korea, and Romania. However, this prediction could easily be wrong! This will likely be a close competition, and that is what makes gymnastics exciting.
Streaming information for the qualification portion of the 2023 World Championships has not been announced yet, but the finals will be streamed on Peacock.