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Benefits of Andy’s Proposals

· More gymnasts will become Olympians all around the world. I believe this will do a great deal to encourage the world’s top athletes to continue to compete, even if it is just on one or two events. Currently, many athletes retire in the year or two before the Olympic because they realize they have almost no chance of becoming one of the mere six (soon to be five) selected gymnasts for the world championships or Olympics.

· The quality of gymnastics among the world’s top gymnasts will improve dramatically. With more athletes remaining in the sport and focusing on their best events, the breadth of competition on all events will grow, and the top gymnasts will be forced to push each other even more. This will occur on both national and world levels.

· The all-around will become more enticing to many gymnasts. Knowing that there are three guaranteed spots for all-arounders, we will see more gymnasts considering the all-around as a realistic avenue onto a world or Olympic team. Of course, many of them will also be in contention for individual event spots as well. Placing the 4th and 5th all-arounders as official alternates to the team is another way the all-around is encouraged through my proposal.

· There will be no more mysterious selection camps. Selection procedures will be objective, concrete, easy to understand, and completely disclosed to the fans. The excitement and drama that used to characterize World and Olympic Trials will finally return to the sport. On the final day of selection competition, the audience can know exactly what a gymnast needs to either place in the top 3 in the all-around or the top 2 on an event. This will increase public enthusiasm for the sport, as the fans will be more drawn in and enthralled by the Olympic selection process, rather than simply confused.

· World and Olympic competition will actually include more of the best gymnasts in the world. With more athletes allowed to compete in their specialties, the battles for medals will be much more fierce, authentic, and dramatic. We will see many more deserving gymnasts competing for world and Olympic medals who would normally be left off their respective six-member teams (again, soon to be five).

· The all-around finals at world and Olympic competition will become real again! Not only will many of the world’s gymnasts be enticed to train the all-around to make their respective teams, but the competition itself will be much more authentic with three gymnasts per country allowed to compete again. No longer will a gymnast who is one of the top 10 all-arounders in the world be sidelined in favor of a gymnast who scores several points lower because he or she wears a different leotard.

· The event finals will also reveal so much more of the world’s best gymnastics because not only are more of the specialists there, but there are no gymnast-per-country limits. No longer will fans be forced to scour through obscure YouTube videos to find the world’s best gymnastics routines; they’ll actually end up where they belong – on the world and Olympic podiums.

· Consistency will be more rewarded at the world or Olympic level, but the competitions will include enough scores to allow gymnasts or teams to actually rebound from mistakes. No longer will a deserving team be out of contention for a team medal because of one injury, concentration lapse, or other unpredictable debacle. No longer will a gymnast feel like giving up during an all-around competition after a fall that cost them an entire point; they’ll know the competition consists of two days and that perseverance will prevail.

· The team competition will be viewed as the culmination of the world championships or Olympics rather than simply its “warm-up.” By placing the team finals on the final day of the entire competition, its significance will be elevated, and the gymnasts will leave the week-long event with a sense of team unity and camaraderie, rather than a sense of individual competition with his or her teammates.

· All gymnasts will compete in the team finals among the teams that qualify. The ideals of team momentum, unity, and togetherness will be restored, as each gymnast will play a vital role in both days of the team competition. No longer will a gymnast watch from the sidelines or move mats around while his or her teammates compete in the individual circus acts we now call “team finals.”

I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on all of this!