Differences Between Olympic և NCAA Gymnastics և

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – For decades, college gymnastics has lived in the shadow of elite competition.

The Olympics were an Olympics. And what happened off that refined air … it was not.

“When I started college gymnastics, I think at the elite level, they were kind of looking down on college gymnastics, as if we were the place where good gymnasts went to die,” said BJ Plock, longtime head coach of the Michigan National Champion. .

History has changed over the last 15 years or so as the number of elite athletes making their way to college level has dropped steadily.

The four 2020 Olympians – all-around champion Sunisa Lee (Auburn), gold medalist Jade Kerry (Oregon), silver medalists Jordan Chailes (UCLA) and Grace McCallum (Utah) – will compete in the NCA National Championships on Thursday.

Their arrival has provided jet fuel for a movement that has gained momentum in recent years in terms of visibility and cache. The proliferation of social media, the rise of television coverage, and the quiet rules that allow NCAA athletes to cash in on their name, image, and resemblance have all caused a stir in college gymnastics.

Competitively, even with the influx of former Olympians and former US team members, the parity has never been greater, largely due to the emphasis on college gymnastics on accuracy over difficulty. On Thursday, Lee’s Olympic teammates will hardly be able to take the podium in individual all-around competitions, and on Saturday in team finals.

Michigan, in fact, used the core of athletes who had never competed at the elite level to win its first title last spring, defeating programs whose roster topped the list of athletes competing internationally for the United States.

How did it happen? A quick primer on the differences between the NCAA and elite gymnastics.


Competitive gymnastics is divided into levels: 1-10. Athletes who reach Level 10 usually have the opportunity to experience the “elite” at some point, an avenue that usually first becomes available when they are about 12 years old.

If only a few pass the elite, the vast majority, who reach Level 10, have the opportunity to compete in a collegiate race.

Elite gymnastics is much harder, with longer, more elementary routines. The day-to-day life of the college is by definition “easier” or “partly” due to the nature of the season and the fact that the athletes are full-time students.

At the elite level, gymnasts train 30+ hours a week. Many learn at home, և they are trained to climb several times a year, և these meetings are common so that their bodies can recover.

The college season is January-April. For Auburn’s other seven teams vying for the team title, as well as for athletes qualifying for the national teams, this week’s final will be at least the 13th match in just over three months.

Establish NCAA rules that limit training to 20 hours per week, and it does not make much sense to cram daily with many elite connections.


Although the 10-point system disappeared from elite gymnastics in 2006, it is prospering collegially.

In elite gymnastics, the open system of points allows for horse mistakes that can be corrected, increasing the difficulty of everyday life. The 10.0 system evaluates accuracy in college.

“In the elite, as in the case of big tricks, you get a bonus – just for doing great tricks, you do not have to do them perfectly,” said Lisa Bowerman, head coach at Texas Women’s University, a Division II program that serves as a host. for nationals.

While everyday life by definition can be “easier”, the slightest variation can be the difference between winning a national championship or leaving the podium.

“A lot of what makes a team successful in college gymnastics is the culture, the ability to withstand the pressure of competition,” said Arkansas coach Jordin Viber, 2011 World Champion and 2012 US Gold Medalist. Women’s Olympic team. “It’s not based on how difficult skills you can do. And that’s why you do not need a whole team of elites to win the national championship. “


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