So this thread was prompted by coming across this thread on Twitter:
The IOC are very hot on equality now, both for athlete quotas and medals. This is obviously going to be a problem for gymnastics going forward.
The Youth Olympic Games are achieving equality in quota places by making WAG+Rhythmic=MAG. (Medal events are already balanced with rhythmic making up for the extra apparatus in MAG). Clearly this is one potential solution to meet the IOC goals, but if implemented at future Olympics would mean the fields for the women’s events would have to shrink significantly.
The other solution for rhythmic would be to introduce men, but I think men’s RG is a long way off being a viable Olympic event. And if it was ready to be added, the other gymnastics disciplines would have to give up spots to make way.
If you either add men’s RG or alternatively just ditch RG entirely, the problem would then be that MAG has more medals than WAG. Whatever happens with rhythmic it’s possible the IOC will take issue with this anyway, but there is as far as I know no movement to change either discipline to achieve equality between them. Simply removing event finals from the Games would do the trick though.
If the IOC really want to press the issue on this it seems like it will be very tricky to do without significantly harming one or more of the Olympic disciplines. Has anyone else any thoughts on this?
I think it’s reasonable that WAG and RG are combined. But isn’t the total calculated by governing body? So assuming that trampoline has equal number of male and female competitors, the FIG athletes are exactly 50:50. MAG has more events, therefore more medals. If MAG had the same number of participants as WAG, it would be mathematically easier for men to win a medal than women, which is genuinely unequal.
Some numbers for this - in Paris the quotas will be
96 MAG, 96 WAG, 94 RG.
If they adopted the WAG+RG=MAG rule, and kept the same ratio of WAG:RG, then the quotas would be
143 MAG, 72 WAG, 71 RG
12 teams of 5 requires 60 athletes, so I think it’s safe to say WAG would have to move either to fewer teams or teams of 4 (without the extra specialists from Tokyo).
I do actually think there is an imbalance in how difficult it is for genuine medal/EF contenders to qualify in MAG in the current system, but up to now we have the same Olympic quotas, similar size Worlds, WAG usually draws better crowds and TV figures. I think some people in WAG would push for RG to get the boot rather than accept half the quota of MAG.
I, for one, am okay with dropping RG, Sync Swimming (whatever ist modern name is), Modern Pentathalon, and all the Sailing events. I am also fine with moving the martial arts (all dozen different disciplines) to the winter, nuts to the ice/snow requirement.
Reducing the size of the summer games is essential to keep countries interested in hosting. Adding a few smaller, indoor sports to the winter games might sell more tickets as people don’t have to freeze their asses off to watch. Or else cut the men’s weight classes in boxing and suddenly you have gender equality in medals. Ta. Da.
(And lets talk about venues. BMX, for example, is asinine at the summer games. An entire custom stadium for 2-4 days of competition? No. Stop that shit.)
I would feel so much better about so many of the venues if they used more existing courses and stadiums. It’s terribly wasteful to build new everything, though thankfully lately cities seem to have been getting better about that.
As for gender equality, I think the overall goal is very worthwhile, but there is such thing as what we call in the tabletop gaming world “lawful stupid” (as opposed to a character who is supposed to be “lawful good.”) Lawful stupid is when you take the rules so literally as to make them backwards or incomprehensible. The decision to take RG spots from WAG tips towards lawful stupid.
Why is it stupid? They have the same governing body?
Plus if you have the same number of MAG and WAG, it becomes statistically harder for women to medal than it does the men.
If RG ceases to be an Olympic sport (which I think is likely) it leaves the FIG with 2 medal allocations spare. I can promise you now that this will not result in more WAG participants, as they can’t award anymore medals to WAG.
The most logical and uncontroversial move would be to include mens and womens syncro trampoline, since the discipline already is in the Olympics.
The next option would be to introduce either tumbling or double mini and have men’s and women’s events in those.
A more interesting move would be to delete a men’s event and add one for women so thet all compete 5.
(I’d kick rings to the curb as the most boring men’s event and add another arms event for women. Maybe PB? If men’s pb added a hold/pose requirement, well there is your rings skill. It would be interesting to see how women’s pb developed differently from mens. Yeah, yeah, parkour is more likely than that.)
Will never happen. However boring you may find rings. For the general public, and indeed the wider sporting community, it’s the event they most associate with men’s gymnastics.
Parkour is extremely unlikely. It’s still new to the FIG, who are still very much in the process of figuring out how it’s going to work. It’s too risky to bring to the Olympic stage. I also wonder if it’s seen by the IOC as too much of the same genre as skateboarding, which proved popular in Tokyo, but still needs bedding in as an Olympic sport.
I can’t bear parkour as a sport its a pastime a passion but not a judged sport to me. I can’t do with skateboarding and bmx either. That’s just me and I feel all olympic competitors should be over 16 regardless of the sport. It always annoys me that swimming has a million athletes but they keep cutting our spots. I would love to see acro at the olympics though. Much as I like tumbling it feels too much like a one trick pony to be part of the the olympics.
It’s the most subjective of all the judged sports, and in a sport that is hugely political and dominated by a tiny, tiny number of countries. 74% of RG 1&2 brevets were born in USSR and it’s successor countries. It’s very different from the rest of the gymnastics family, something that is highlighted whenever the Olympics comes around and in the English speaking media assign the commentary to the same people that do artistic. I asked Christine Still about it and she said she dreads it every Olympics!
RG’s place in the Olympics is safe as long as other sports remain majority male, and that could last a while. And many governing bodies are not good at developing women’s participation (looks at UWW). It’s possible the Olympics may cease entirely before RG being removed becomes a good option.
Yeah this is the feel i get too. Only that I’d say figure skating has the same issues. And I’d say sync swimming but granted i know nothing about that sport except that i hate that people equate making grimaces and hyper extending fingers with expression.
That might have been true a decade ago, but the pace of change imposed by the IOC in recent years has been rapid. The time when gymnastics can point to other sports that are worse is running out.
Women made up 48.8% of the competitors in Tokyo. Paris is supposed to be 50-50. The only holdouts left will be gymnastics and aquatics (artistic swimming, but partly balanced by water polo having more men’s teams) vs football (also more men’s teams) and wrestling (Greco-Roman events are only held for men).
The football and water polo issues look fairly easy to solve - I don’t know why football is still like that, the men’s competition is irrelevant - so if they are the female-heavy events will have to move as well to keep the games 50-50.