The sport of gymnastics is likely to see a number of big names return in Tokyo, although some former mainstays will be absent. Additionally, after the Games were postponed, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) updated qualification guidelines to allow athletes born in 2005 to compete in qualifiers, which could lead to further turnover -- previously, only athletes who turned 16 by the end of 2020 were going to be allowed.
Who's Still Here
Four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles will return for her final Olympics.
Japan's Kohei Uchimura, widely considered the greatest male gymnast in history, has said he will not try for a spot on the all-around roster and instead compete on high bar only. Five-time Olympic medalist Max Whitlock is expected to compete again for Great Britain; 2016 individual all-around silver medalist and top American male Sam Mikulak is also set to return for a final Games.
Russia's Nikita Nagornyy, the world all-around champion in 2019 and Rio silver medalist in the team all-around, is expected to continue his recent dominant stretch in Tokyo.
(NOTE: While a World Anti-Doping Agency ban will prevent Russia’s name, flag and anthem from appearing in Tokyo, clean athletes, including teams, will be permitted to compete in all competitions as ROC – an abbreviation for Russian Olympic Committee – under a flag with the ROC symbol.)
Though she initially planned to try for Tokyo, 2012 and 2016 Olympic medalist Aly Raisman retired in early 2020, saying she will instead focus on being an advocate for victims of sexual abuse following the revelations surrounding Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics. Two-time Olympian Gabby Douglas, the first Black gymnast to win individual all-around gold, is not expected to return.
"Final Five" member Laurie Hernandez staged a comeback after an extended break from competition after winning two medals in Rio, but did not advance to U.S. Olympic Trials.
Danell Leyva, a three-time Olympic medalist for the U.S., retired after Rio, where he took silver on the horizontal bar and parallel bars.
New Faces to Watch
Three-time world championships medalist Jade Carey mathematically secured an individual spot on Team USA's Tokyo roster in April 2020 by earning a nominative berth through FIG's apparatus World Cup series. Jordan Chiles, Simone Biles' teammate, has had a breakout year and qualified for her first Games, and world championships veteran Suni Lee also punched her ticket to Tokyo.
China's Tang Xijing, the 2019 Worlds all-around silver medalist, is expected to be a contender on the women's side, as is Russia's Angelina Melnikova, who won a silver in the Rio team all-around competition.
Kaya Kazuma is likely to be Japan's biggest male star, having finished sixth in the all-around final at 2019 Worlds. For the U.S., 2021 all-around national champion Brody Malone put on a dazzling performance at Trials and will be competing at his first Olympics.