in defence of 2 / nation

Almost everyone I know is decrying the FIG rule allowing a maximum of 2 gymnasts / nation to qualify to Olympic Finals.

The main argument against the 2 / nation rule I’ve heard is that one of the very best gymnasts in the world, the defending World Champion, is not allowed to contend for the AA title. … This time.

If it was Aly 3rd, I doubt there would be much debate.

If it was Kazuhito Tanaka from Japan in the Men’s competition, there wouldn’t be much discussion. … Actually, Tanaka was eliminated, like Jordyn. … I didn’t hear a word.

He was eventually added, replacing an injured Koji Yamamuro.

The two solutions to this specific problem I hear are:

return the rule to a maximum of 3 / nation (as it was in 2000), or …
allow exceptions to the rule in cases of World Champions

Women’s Gymnastics is a sport where only 4 nations dominate the medals. I want to see gymnasts from other nations have a chance to contend, and even upset those 4 favourites.

The 2 / nation rule helps.

“Sudden Victory” at each level of competition helps.

Smaller team size helps.

The USA chose to have 3 gymnasts do the AA knowing that one would be knocked out. If they wanted those two to be Gabby and Jordyn, they should have kept Aly off Bars in prelims.

Beam Dreams – Two Per Country And Other Such Rules – My Take on the Debate

Of course the argument that the Olympics is all about deciding who’s BEST is specious. If that was the case we’d have 15 Americans in London and perhaps 1 Canadian.

There must be some maximum number of competitors at each level of competition. Two finalists is better than one, I feel. I personally think it looks bad for the sport to have all three from one nation on the podium.

Still not convinced?

Read Thiago Simoes post on how the 2 / nation rule is seen in 2016 Olympic host Brazil:

There has been much debate over the last few days about Jordyn Wieber’s failure to qualify for the All-Around finals. This is all somewhat baffling to me, someone who lives in a country which has achieved respectful results in gymnastics after the two-per-country rule was applied. …

Couch Gymnast – Two-per-country Rule: Another View

Having only 4 nations dominate WAG at the Olympics is bad for the sport in the rest of the world. Just as having only 4 women’s College teams ever having won the Team title makes it more difficult — not less — for every other team in the NCAA to justify their existence.

For the greater good of the sport, I can live with the disappointment of not seeing Jordyn get a shot at winning the Olympic title today.

Good luck to Gabby and Aly.

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Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

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