WASHINGTON — In recent years, the United States has been the victim of the International Gymnastics Federation's two-per-country rule. And it's happening again at the Tokyo Olympics.
A total of 24 gymnasts can advance to the individual all-around finals in men's and women's gymnastics. A total of eight gymnasts can advance to each of the individual apparatus finals.
But under FIG rules, no more than two gymnasts per country can advance to any individual finals.
On Saturday, the four U.S. gymnasts finished in the top 24 after qualifications. But only Brody Malone and Sam Mikulak will get to compete in the all-around final. Yul Moldauer (finished 19th) and Shane Wiskus (21st) were left out.
Then on Sunday, five U.S. women finished in the top 24, but three will have to sit out the all-around. Simone Biles and Suni Lee are in. Jade Carey (9th), MyKayla Skinner (11th) and Grace McCallum (13th) are out.
The news stings more for Skinner who is in Tokyo as an individual, not in the team competition. She failed to qualify for any events and her Olympics are over.
The disappointment in missing an all-around final may be somewhat muted when a gymnast finishes low in the standings. It's another thing if they finish third or fourth, which has happened to the Americans in recent years.
At the 2012 London Olympics, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas were the top two U.S. finishers in qualification, finishing second and third, respectively. Teammate Jordyn Wieber -- a favorite to win the whole thing -- was right behind Douglas in fourth after qualifying. She was left out of the all-around.
Douglas went on to win the gold.
Four years later in Rio, Douglas was the victim. Simone Biles and Raisman qualified 1-2 for the all-around. Douglas was third and, despite performing better than 22 other women ahead of her during qualification, she was left out.
But, the rule did turn beneficial for Biles this year. She finished 10th in qualifying for the uneven bars. But because four Russians finished in the top eight, two must drop out. So, Biles is in.