If you are interested in starting gymnastics, then maybe one of the things that you are wondering about is when the gymnastics season starts and ends and just how it works. This is also important information for you to know even if you are not a gymnast yourself or the parent of one but you simply want to keep up with it as a spectator.
Gymnastics is something that it is definitely fascinating to watch, as gymnasts do all kinds of things that do not even seem to be humanly possible at times, making it a great sport to watch. While most people are aware that gymnastics is something that is a part of the Olympics, there is a lot more competing that goes on to determine who is going to have the honor of representing the U.S.
There is actually technically more than one set of dates that could be referred to as the gymnastics season. Unfortunately gymnastics is not a “pro” sport in the same way that football, baseball, and basketball are. Part of this is possibly because of the young age that most gymnasts are and in part because of the young age that gymnasts reach their peak.
There are two different things that affect the competition year. These are the elite gymnasts, which are the ones that the Olympic gymnasts are chosen from, and the college gymnasts which compete as a college sport but do not have to be at the elite level.
These two different gymnastics have slightly different start and stop dates for their seasons, but most of the time there are going on during roughly the same months. There are a number of other differences between these two kinds of competitions besides the dates, and there is even differences during the years leading up to the Olympics.
Elite Gymnastics Seasons
As mentioned, the elite gymnastics is the gateway to becoming an Olympic gymnast. It is the elite gymnastics season that ends in the World Championships, and the way that whole season works is like a build up to that very event.
Simone Biles won the title of the All-Around World Champion for three years as an elite gymnast before she also became an Olympic gymnast. In the years that there will be Olympics there are a lot of extra competitions, so that even though most of the gymnastics year is September to either the end of March or the beginning of April, there are a lot more “off season” competitions.
These competitions are done in rounds so that only the most talented from them progress further and they often start back in August with the World Championships being held in sometime in September, usually somewhere in the U.S. or Canada.
Because of the fact that these two events are so important, there are a number of competitions leading up to them. All in all, this means that it is really hard to pinpoint exactly when the “season” begins since there are actually elite level competitions that take place all year round.
The competitions leading up to the World Cup are divided up into several different ones that are called sessions which are held on different days. The first one of these is the qualification competitions which is followed by the team finals. After that is the all-around finals, with the event finals being the last of the sessions.
The qualification session is abbreviated TQ and the gymnasts compete on all four of the different apparatus with the scores being used to determine which teams advance further as well as which individual gymnasts get to go further to the all-around and the event finals sessions.
Each country enters six gymnasts as their team for this qualifying session which is made up of a four person team with two induvial gymnasts. This competition format is really simple to keep track of, since all four of the gymnasts on the team have to compete in all four of the different gymnastics events with three of their scores counting.
The two individual gymnasts do compete with the team during the qualifying round in order to be able to compete in the future sessions, but the scores that they make do not count for the team score. The teams that pass then go on to the team finals which are abbreviated TF.
While the four members stay on each team, here the format is a little different. This time only three of the gymnasts compete on each of the events with all three of these scores counting, so there is a lot more pressure here since there is no room for error.
Next, the all around finals which are abbreviated AA are for the individual gymnasts who have to compete on all four of the apparatus. At the end their scores from all of the events are combined with only the top three gymnasts being given awards.
The next, and last part is the event finals which is abbreviated EF. For this session the top eight gymnast on each of the events compete against each other to see who is the best at each of the individual events.
Once an elite gymnast reaches college age, most use their gymnastics skills in order to get a college scholarship and after that they retire from gymnastics and pursue another line of work. Because there is not much of a specified season, gymnasts have to be in shape all the time which really wears on anyone.
It is also in part for this reason that most of the major sports networks are not inclined to broadcast gymnastics competitions, because there is not really any set season for them as much as for other sports. However, leading up to the Olympics they will sometimes make an exception to this and air some of them because people are much more interested at that point.
College Gymnastics Seasons
While this form of gymnastics may not really lead up to the Olympics, there are benefits to this type of gymnastics. For starters there is the fact that college gymnastics has a regular season that starts in the beginning of January and ends sometime in late March or early on in April.
Because of this regularity, and the fact that there are not any off season competitions, there are some TV networks that air these competitions. This means that if you are watching a gymnastics competition on TV then it is most likely a college competition.
One of the reasons why college gymnastics is so regular with its season is because of the fact that they are governed by the NCAA in this matter. The NCAA is the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and it says that each college has to have a certain number of sports for each sports season.
With the gymnastics season beginning in January and ending just before summer break, gymnastics is therefore counted as a spring sport. The different school teams are divided up and compete against each other.
These competitions are scored and the scores of the season are tallied up with the top teams competing against each other for the title of the best team. At the start of the next year the teams start out in roughly the same positions that they ended in at the end of the previous year other than some minor changes if coaches or lead players changed at all.
Off Season Competitions
As mentioned, off season gymnastics competitions are something that are actually fairly common. This is especially true of the Xcel Program which has no season and competes year-round. However, you are still not likely to see this as a TV program at all.
Part of the reason for this is because the Xcel program is not nearly as competitive and is mostly just for really young gymnasts. These gymnasts are not elite gymnasts, or even close, and other than beginners who intend on getting serious with gymnastics, it is more comprised of young gymnasts who do gymnastics as more of a hobby or for fun.