by Anna Rose Johnson
2018 is definitely going to be a banner year for gymnastics competitions! The halfway point in a quadrennium always brings exciting results, as many international programs have completed the “rebuilding” phase after the Olympics and are gearing up for the beginning of the next Olympic qualification process. This special season includes three important meets you won’t want to miss:
Pacific Rim Championships
Date: April 27-29
Location: Medellin, Colombia
Every two years, several federations come together for a fascinating competition (with team, all-around, and apparatus finals) that acts as a preview for the World team final later in the year. The Pacific Rim Championships has gained significant prestige in recent years, as the competitors are from countries that comprise the Pacific Alliance of National Gymnastics Federations (such as Australia, Canada, and the USA). As this competition is typically used as a warm-up meet for the Olympics, past winners include Olympic stars Simone Biles, Jordyn Wieber, Paul Hamm, and Nastia Liukin. So be sure to mark this on your competition calendars—it’s certain to be another memorable meet!
Pan American Championships
Serving as a bridge between the Olympics, the quadrennial Pan American Gymnastics Championships were last held in 2014 in Mississauga, Ontario, with the U.S. winning golds in the men’s and women’s team finals. To refresh you on the format of this meet, it works exactly like the Pacific Rim Championships, with both men’s and women’s team finals and individual finals. Pan Ams also includes rhythmic and trampoline meets, and major contenders usually include the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, and Venezuela. As the meet is typically held a month or two before Worlds, this could be a great opportunity to see many top athletes as they gear up for their biggest meet of the year.
European Championships—Team Edition
Date: August 2018
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
This biennial battle for European dominance has become a huge highlight of each season. The format of this meet alternates between individual and team competitions (2017 did not include a team final, but included an all-around final, and the 2018 format is vice versa). The women’s team gold has been tossed back and forth many times over the past few years, with Romania claiming the title in 2008, 2012, and 2014, and Russia winning in 2010 and 2016. Will Russia defend their title in 2018, or will Great Britain, a perennial team medalist, rise to win the gold? And could this be Aliya Mustafina’s comeback competition?