It is important to note that qualifying for the Olympics does not guarantee a position on a squad. The process of becoming an Olympian has only just begun for the 11 BYU affiliates who have met qualifying conditions. Athletes usually don’t find out if they made the team until about two weeks before the Olympics.
For the first time since 1964, the Olympics will be held in Tokyo, Japan. The 2020 Olympics will take place from July 24 to August 9, but countries are not required to announce their official teams until early July, and dates vary by sport. Five new sports have been added to the 2020 Olympic Games, bringing the total number of events to 33. These new sports include baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing.
Countries are limited in the number of athletes they can bring to each event. Each Olympic sport has an international committee that establishes global qualification standards. Larger countries, such as the United States, frequently have more qualifiers than available spots on their teams, thus they must reduce the field until they reach the required number.
In June, the United States hosts Olympic trials to determine the best qualifiers. In smaller countries, the majority of athletes who qualify make the Olympic team.
Athletes from Brigham Young University might compete in track and field, swimming, and volleyball in Tokyo. The process to qualify and make the Olympic roster for each of these sports varies.
Athletics (track and field)
The qualifying system for track and field has been changed to a two-tiered system, with athletes qualifying first by meeting a time requirement, and the remaining spots being assigned based on the world ranking.
The world ranking is determined by the strength of the time and the status of the competition. In the 10,000-meter event, runners are judged on their two best times. Athletes in 5,000-meter races are ranked based on their top-three finishes, while athletes in events up to 1,500 meters are ranked based on their best five finishes over a 12-month period. Marathoners have a longer window than any other race, an 18-month window, and their ratings are based on their two best results. They can also qualify by placing in the top ten of a major World Marathon, such as the Boston Marathon.
The timing standards have been changed to make them more challenging, and the quotas for each race have been reduced from previous years.
BYU adjunct statistics professor Jared Ward qualified by finishing in eighth at the Boston Marathon and will compete in the U.S. Olympic trials on Feb 29, 2020.
Swimmers only qualify for the Olympics when they meet the time requirements at a FINA approved swim meet, like Winter Nationals. Individual athletes have until June 29, 2020, to qualify for the Olympics. The deadline for relay athletes is May 22, 2020.
Athletes can qualify in numerous events but can only compete in the U.S. Olympic trials for races they have qualifying times for. At the trials, everyone swims at least once. The top 16 swimmers from each event will advance to the semi-finals after the first round. The top eight players advance to the finals. The top two swimmers in each event will represent the United States at the Olympic Games.
In the sport of swimming, each country is limited to sending only 26 men and women to the Olympics. Six swimmers from BYU are among the more than 1,000 who have qualified for Team USA’s swimming team. The Olympic swimming team for the United States will be announced on July 6, 2020.
Volleyball isn’t timed or measured, therefore the process to qualify is different from swimming or track and field. Volleyball players are added to a pool that coaches choose from to designate the official team and replacements.
Athletes with national team experience are given preference. Attacking, blocking, digging, setting, serving, and passing are the six areas in which volleyball players are judged.
The relevance of various regions varies depending on the player’s position on the squad. Players are also judged on their ability to function in a team, their attitude, their versatility, their maturity, and how well they follow coaches’ instructions.
Mary Lake and Taylor Sander were added to the pool when they participated on Team USA. Team USA volleyball will announce its nominated team and substitutes on or before July 2, 2020.