The Jade Situation
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STATEMENT FROM USAG
Based on our understanding of the current FIG qualification rules, we believe Jade Carey’s performances on the floor exercise in the World Cup Series have mathematically qualified her, by name, to the Tokyo Olympic Games. Barring any rule changes, we anticipate that FIG will award her the spot. We are extremely proud of Jade’s performance on the world stage, which earned her this well-deserved opportunity.
This path – to pursue the opportunity for an individual qualification – was open to certain qualified national team athletes. No other eligible athletes opted to pursue this qualification route.
We anticipate that Jade will be competing at Trials. Unless she accepts the individual spot beforehand, Jade would be eligible to make the four-person team. At this time, FIG has not announced when they will officially award the spot or whether they will impose a deadline for acceptance.
In any event, the choice to accept or reject the qualified spot is hers, and she has the full support of USA Gymnastics in any outcome.
So...this is what we all knew, but USAG is giving its blessing?
So now that we've seen what happened at podium training-- what are everyone's thoughts? I am assuming she wants to be on the team so if that's a possibility she wants to go that route, but the individual spot is her backup.
I also think USAG will avoid putting her on the team if they can (unless she proves great enough that they have to include her) but crazier things have happened!
If Jade is named to the team, it will be because she earned the spot by her performance. Not because she "stole" a spot from someone else. If any one of her competitors wants a spot, they have the opportunity to out-perform her in the Olympic qualifying competitions.
The issued statement above seems to be an uncharacteristically adept one by USAG (perhaps one of the few things they've done well in this whole odyssey.) This is the best approach to deal with the situation as it stands now.
This whole Rube-Goldberg qualification system is FIG's doing. Apparently their intent was to allow more opportunities for gymnasts from non-power-countries at the expense of the power-countries. It's hard to tell if the trade-offs they ended up creating are intentional/foreseen. Certainly the stick that COVID stuck in the wheel of their Rube-Goldberg device couldn't have been foreseen, though FIG could have been more pro-active in announcing how they would adapt to COVID cancellations, etc.
USAG did a poor job of understanding the system and anticipating the athletes' potential reactions to it. If they had promptly issued their own rules for Olympic qualifying rather than belatedly reacting to the Careys' actions, maybe some of the current controversy might not be happening and Tom wouldn't have been in the situation of having to make constant statements about whether they'd be considering her for the team. They put both the Careys and the selection committee in a bad spot by not laying things out by around 2018.