I’ve loved watching this season of NCAA gymnastics, but I keep finding myself thinking about what a weird year it’s been due to the Olympics being delayed. Last year, we saw the careers of legends like Ross and Nichols cut short because of the pandemic, and now we’ve also seen the majority of top contenders delay college for a year to try out for the Olympics. The result is that we’ve had a season with zero Olympians and very few gymnasts who were ever Olympic hopefuls, which hasn’t been the case for decades.
I’ve loved watching so many of these former JO and lower-tier elite gymnasts shine this year with beautiful gymnastics that perfectly matches the ethos of the NCAA code of points, but I wonder how much they would’ve been overshadowed if the current crop of elites had retired after last summer and joined the NCAA ranks? And how many of them will be overshadowed next year when indeed the legion of top elite contenders decamp for college?