Gymnastics gets underway with men's qualification: Preview, start time, how to watch

Posted at 9:28 PM, Jul 22, 2021

Artistic gymnastics competition at the Tokyo Olympics begins Friday with the men's qualification session. 

Men's qualification is divided into three subdivisions for competition. The U.S. is in Subdivision 3 and will start on the parallel bars, then rotate through the apparatuses following the Olympic order (floor exercise, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, high bar).

Full field:

  • Subdivision 1: Mixed Group 1 (Romania, Croatia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Belarus, Ireland), Ukraine, Russian Olympic Committee, China, Mixed Group 3 (Netherlands, Israel, Cyprus, Egypt), Spain
  • Subdivision 2: Switzerland, Brazil, Great Britain, Mixed Group 6 (Hong Kong, Mexico, Armenia, Canada, Bulgaria, Nigeria, Greece), Japan, Mixed Group 4 (Vietnam, Australia, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Albania, Cuba)
  • Subdivision 3: Germany, Chinese Taipei, Mixed Group 5 (Turkey, Italy, Philippines), Mixed Group 2 (France, Uzbekistan, Norway, Lithuania, Azerbaijan), United States, South Korea

Every gymnast, whether competing for a team or as an individual, competes in the qualification round, as it serves as the qualifier for the team final, all-around final, and the event finals. Any athlete attempting to qualify for the all-around final has to perform on all six events in order to get a cumulative all-around score. Otherwise, they will only be in contention to make individual event finals and/or team finals if they are competing as part of a team. 

Gymnasts do one routine per apparatus, with an exception on vault – if a gymnast wants to make the individual event final on vault, they must do two different vaults, the scores of which are averaged, to be in contention. In this case, only the score of the first vault will count toward their qualifying for the team and/or all-around finals. 

Scores from qualification (which do not carry over to the finals) determine the following outcomes:

1. The top eight teams qualify for team finals.
2. Top 24 individual gymnasts qualify for the all-around finals, with a maximum of two gymnasts per NOC.
3. The top eight individual gymnasts on each apparatus qualify for the respective event finals, with a maximum of two gymnasts per NOC per event. 
4. Final individual all-around placings 25th and lower will be determined.
5. Final team placings 9th-12th will be determined.

For the men, Japan, China and the Russian Olympic Committee are expected to lead the way for team qualifying. The U.S. team of Brody MaloneSam Mikulak, Yul Moldauer and Shane Wiskus is looking to qualify for the final and pursue the nation's first men's team medal since 2008, when the squad took bronze.

As for individual event prospects for the U.S., both the veteran Mikulak and breakout star Malone are likely to advance to the high bar final. Mikulak, competing in his third and final Olympics, is yet to win a medal and finished fourth on the apparatus in 2016. Also of particular note: Kohei Uchimura, the Japanese star with seven Olympic medals, is only competing on high bar at these Games and should cruise into the final. 

Additionally, Alec Yoder, the American pommel horse specialist, will be in the hunt to qualify for the final in his only event.


Subdivision 1 of men's qualification begins at 9 p.m. ET on July 23, followed by Subdivision 2 at 1:30 a.m. ET on July 24 then Subdivision 3 at 6:30 a.m. ET. Gymnastics competition is taking place at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, located in the northern part of Tokyo's Ariake district near the Athletes' Village, the International Broadcast Center, and the Media Press Center. 

How to watch


7/23 Men's Qualification - Subdiv. 1 (9 p.m. ET) Main Coverage
7/24 Men's Qualification - Subdiv. 2 (1:30 a.m. ET) Main Coverage
  Men's Qualification - Subdiv. 3, including Team USA (6:30 a.m. ET) Peacock | Main Coverage | Team USA Tracker


7/24 Men's qualification (4:30 p.m. ET) NBC
  Men's qualification, featuring Team USA (8:45 p.m. ET) NBC