One-year-out countdown to London 2012 begins today
posted on 07/27/2011

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., July 27, 2011 – One year from today, the Opening Ceremonies for the 2012 Olympic Games will commence in London. To mark the one-year-out milestone, 2008 Olympic silver medalists Jonathan Horton and Alicia Sacramone and 2011 AT&T American Cup champion Jordyn Wieber appeared on NBC's "Today" show this morning and signed autographs outside the NBC Experience Store.

For the USA's top gymnasts, the Road to London will begin at the 2011 Visa Championships, Aug. 17-20, in Saint Paul, Minn., where they will compete for U.S. titles and national team berths, as well as coveted spots on the U.S. Team for the 2011 World Championships.

The U.S. will have its first opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games at each discipline's 2011 World Championships: rhythmic, Sept. 13-26 in Montpellier, France; men's and women's, Oct. 7-16 in Tokyo, Japan; and trampoline, Nov. 16-19 in Birmingham, England. The second opportunity for Olympic qualification is during the Olympic Test Event in London Jan. 10-18.

USA Gymnastics' Olympic year begins with the AT&T American Cup on March 3 and includes the Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships, the Visa Championships (June 7-10 in St. Louis) and the U.S. Olympic Trials – Gymnastics (June 28-July 1 in San Jose, Calif.), as well as key events for rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline.

In London, men's and women's gymnastics and trampoline will be staged at the North Greenwich Arena, with rhythmic gymnastics held at Wembley Arena. Here's a quick competition schedule:

    July 28 - Men's gymnastics qualification rounds
    July 29 - Women's gymnastics qualification rounds
    July 30 - Men's gymnastics team finals
    July 31 - Women's gymnastics team finals
    Aug. 1 - Men's gymnastics all-around finals
    Aug. 2 - Women's gymnastics all-around finals
    Aug. 3 - Men's trampoline qualification and final rounds
    Aug. 4 - Women's trampoline qualification and final rounds
    Aug. 5 - Men's and women's individual event finals
    Aug. 6 - Men's and women's individual event finals
    Aug. 7 - Men's and women's individual event finals
    Aug. 9-10 - Individual and group rhythmic gymnastics all-around qualification rounds
    Aug. 11 - Individual rhythmic gymnastics all-around finals
    Aug. 12 - Group rhythmic gymnastics all-around finals

A few key changes have been made for the 2012 Olympic Games and are as follows:

  • Team size. The size of the team for men's and women's gymnastics has dropped to five from the six used in 2000-2008. In the preliminary competition, four gymnasts compete on each apparatus with three scores counting, and for the finals, three gymnasts compete on each apparatus, with all three scores counting (same as in past Olympics). This means each team needs four solid routines for each apparatus (four apparatus for the women; six for men).

  • Number of skills in each routine. Women's routines now include eight skills rather than the 10 in the last quad, although the men still use 10 skills.

  • Importance of the D (Difficulty) Score. Scores for men's and women's gymnastics include both the D or difficulty score and the E or execution score. The D score includes credit for the specified number of skills performed in the routine, along with connection value (credit for connecting high-level skills) and element group/compositional requirements. For several of the events, a large difference in the D score can impact how an athlete fares.

  • Minimum age for World Artistic Championships. For the 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, all participants must turn 16 in the calendar year 2011. This is different than it was in 2007, when gymnasts who were age-eligible for the 2008 Olympic Games were allowed to compete in the 2007 World Championships to gain experience on the world stage. If the current rule would have been in place in 2007, Shawn Johnson would not have been eligible to compete in the World Championships, where she won the world all-around and floor exercise titles and helped the USA to the world team title.

  • U.S. Team selection procedures. The selection procedures for gymnastics for the U.S. Olympic Team will be released in 2011. The U.S. Olympic Trials – Gymnastics are scheduled for June 28-July 1 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

  • Time of flight for trampoline. In 2011, time of flight has been added as part of the scoring criteria. Time of flight is determined by a combination of laser beams mounted on the trampoline frame that records each time the athlete breaks the beam while sinking into the bed. When the athlete returns to the air above the bed, the attached timing device records the time spent airborne. That number, given in seconds, is added to the aesthetic and difficulty scores for a final, total score.

For the latest information and updates as we approach London 2012, visit www.usagym.org.