National Champion, Heath Thorpe Left Off World Championships Team
Gymnastics Australia released their 2023 World Championships roster today, and notably missing was 2023 Australian National Champion, Heath Thorpe.
Photo: Health Thorpe
Thorpe wrote on Twitter:
I am absolutely heartbroken to share that I have not been selected to the Australian team for the 2023 World Gymnastics Championships.
Despite my many results and improvement this year alone, including my recent Australian All-Around title, I will not be one of the five Aussie gymnasts afforded an opportunity to compete in the biggest Olympic qualifier come October.
At this time, I am not allowed to speak to the selection process and what has occurred, but am hopeful that the subsequent findings are made public in due course.
It is an impossible task to summarise the overwhelming emotions that I am currently experiencing...but know that I have more words to share soon with my friends, family and fans. I wish the team selected nothing but the best and hope they all have a successful and health Worlds campaign.
2023 World Gymnastics Championships Team and Their Path to Olympic Qualifications
The Australian team for the World Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp is comprised of Tyson Bull. James Hardy, Clay Mason Stephens, Mitchell Morgans, and Vedant Sawant.
By choosing this team, Gymnastics Australia has bypassed the opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games with a team; they have instead stacked the team full of two-all-arounders, two high bar specialists, and a pommel horse specialist.
Neither Clay Mason Stephens, nor James Hardy are likely to qualify via the all-around, though they each have a standout event of floor and vault respectively. Australia's best chance at Olympic qualifications through the 2023 World Championships is going to come from one of their three specialists.
Tyson Bull qualified to the Olympics during the last Olympic cycle by making the finals at the 2019 World Gymnastics Championships.
However, the International Federation of Gymnastics, significantly reduced how many athletes can qualify to the Olympics via the pre-Olympic World Championships; in the prior Olympic cycle, up to three athletes could qualify per event – this year, it's only one. Lauren from the Gymternet outlines the full qualification procedures here.
While Bull is outstanding on high bar, he's going to have to compete with the likes of Cyprus' Ilias Georgiou and his own teammate Mitchell Morgans for a shot at competing in Paris. Sawant is comparatively new to the international stage, having made his World Cup debut in 2022. However, he has made several World Cup pommel horse finals, and should he perform his best, he certainly has a shot at making the pommel horse final in Antwerp.
The problem for Sawant is: the pommel horse final is always filled with gymnasts from countries that will not qualify a team like Ireland, Armenia, Croatia, and Jordan. And only one of those gymnasts can make it from the 2023 World Championships to the 2024 Olympic Games.
It is unlikely that any of the chosen gymnasts will qualify to the Olympics from this route, but if I was to put my money on one, it would be Tyson Bull on high bar.