The FIG really screwed up the competition calendar after 1992.
Everything about the 2001 - 2004 quad sucked, IMO, due to the horrific COP and non-stop changing of the rules:
- 2001 = New, ridiculous COP; 1-VT Prelims/Quals; 8 Teams in TF with 6-3-3; Top 32 in AA with 2 Sessions.
- 2002 = Removal of SRs from the COP.
- 2003 = 2-VT Prelims for EF Qualifiers; Top 24 in AA (2 per country).
I don’t think the EF-format worked well in the middle of a quad with so much change / demanding COP. By late 2002, the best athletes were injured, off-peak, or 3 months from becoming eligible. USA sent a B team (no Schwikert, Yim, Uzelac, Hatch); RUS had Ezhova + Zamo, but Khorkina + Ziganshina did poorly; ROM was in turmoil (Petrovschi + Ban performed well, but Cojocar + Raducan underwhelmed); CHN missed EFs; NED was in decline; AUS sent Slater who bombed, etc.
1998 + 2002 would’ve benefit from a full-format Worlds in May/June: 4/5-member teams, top 24 (2-per) AA, EF (i.e., format of Euros at the time). That would’ve given 1982-born gymnasts a full Worlds’ experience, and allowed those in the 01-04 quad a chance to boost their SVs, etc., with ample time to recover for the next Worlds. Otherwise, the AA+EF format used in 2005+ would’ve been a better fit.
(I think every older gymnastics fan has wished a USA team of Atler, Maloney, Ray, and Moceanu could’ve compete in some capacity against Amanar, Olaru, Presecan, Khorkina, Produnova, Kuznetsova, Zamo, Ling, Meng, Bi, Karpenko, Shkarupa, Teslenko, Varga, etc.)
These days, I think it’d be a great event to hold in the Spring of Olympic years as was done in 1992/1996; esp. in the age of specialists, reduced # of spots for the OG, new age-rules that don’t allow 16-year olds to compete at the last Worlds anymore, etc. Many specialists on the men’s side were able to attend - and even medal - at a Worlds they otherwise never could’ve gotten to, as did gymnasts like Portuondo, Marinescu, Liu, and Severino. They also introduced us to gymnasts like Gogean, Kui, Sheremeta, etc.