Shawn Johnson for 2011 VISA Championships

Shawn Johnson

Many people have been asking on Twitter, Facebook and discussion forums what the criteria is for petitioning at Classics to be allowed compete at the VISA Championships in four weeks time. You can find this information in the 2010 – 2011 USAG Women’s Program Rules & Policies;

IX. PROCEDURES FOR PETITIONING Petitioning procedures are for use when the athlete is unable to compete due to illness, injury or extenuating circumstances; they are not intended to replace the qualification system.

A. USA Championships

1. No petitions will be considered for athletes obtaining an all-around score at a Classic competition.

2. Any athlete who has attended one or more Open, Developmental, Pre-Elite, or National Team training camp in the current year is eligible to submit a petition for consideration.

3. All athletes who are not able to compete in the All-Around at a Classic meet due to a previous injury and are planning to petition to Championships will be required to attend the US Classic and perform on a minimum of one event, unless the athlete has competed in a USAG international competition during the current competitive year or verified at a national team training camp within the month prior to the US Classic Meet.

4. The petition must be sent to the USA Gymnastics Women’s Program Director prior to the Classic competition, unless the athlete is injured during the Classic competition. The petitions must include: a. a written request from her coach, and/or her parent or guardian stating the reason for petition. b. a photocopy of the gymnast’s All-Around results from her most current Elite Meet(s).

5. A physician’s written verification of the illness or injury and the date of release for return to activity must be included with all injury petitions. 93 6. The Athlete Selection Committee (NTC, IECC, AR) will make all decisions regarding petitions for Classics/Championships.

a. Decisions will be evaluated on an individual basis and made in the best interest of the USA National Team.

b. The submission of a petition is not a guarantee of acceptance. c. The committee will consider the following areas when evaluating the petition:

1) Results from recent international and national championships.

2) D (Difficulty) and E (Execution) Scores in comparison to the current Elite qualification chart. Note that, per event, the three event score is higher than a four-event score.

3) World Class presentation

4) Readiness to compete

5) Physical capability to fulfill training plan as listed in the Women’s Responsibility Manual.

7. The National Office will notify the gymnast and her coach of the approval or denial of the petition.

8. There will be no other avenue for admittance to Championships outside of these petitioning procedures (i.e. video or pre-meet verification).



B. Classics/Challenge Petitions:

1. All current or former Elite athletes are eligible to submit a petition to a Classic Meet.

2. All athletes who attended a Zone training camp/clinic or have competed in a National Qualifying competition are eligible to petition.

3. Petitions should be sent, according to the above guidelines, to the Women’s Program Director for review by the Athlete Selection Committee.


Shawn’s petition was accepted just after the competition ended. Given that Martha has seen her at the National Training Camps that has helped her petition. It turns out that Shawn only had to compete on a minimum of one event to be eligible to petition.

She wasn’t at her best on Saturday, in fact Chow said she was only at about 30% ( I read this in an interview / article on Sunday but to be honest, I read so many about Shawn since the competition that I can’t remember where I saw it!) but it she didn’t look too shabby at all. She still has it, by it, I mean the wow factor. Sure, she popped off the beam on her first line of connections but I still thought she was great. However, I didn’t love the mount, I’m not a fan of it… or the leotard.

Best of luck to Shawn in the next four weeks in the run up to the VISA’s, her nerves really showed on Saturday night but she often looked better than some of the newer seniors. View Shawn’s bars and beam routines here.

So, in your opinion, should Shawn’s petition  have been accepted? Should it have been accepted so soon? Leave a comment below.

Photo: AP Photo/Paul Beaty

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