My name is Shelby Salmon, Elite Developmental Program Director at USA Gymnastics. I joined the WAG Program team in January in this role. I am responsible for TOPS and the Elite Developmental Program for the Women’s Program.
As you may know, the IEC and the TOPS Committee, made up of the Women’s National Team Staff and coaches, has been working to update the TOPS Program since last year.
The purpose of the TOPS National Program is to build the physical abilities and technically sound fundamentals for our athletes of the future. While strength and flexibility continue to develop, the athletes will learn the compulsory routines which contain many of the root skills required for elite level development. Form, execution, and shapes will be the primary focus of this program. This is the beginning of the path for an elite athlete, TOPS-HOPES/ DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM-ELITE.
Whether an athlete chooses the elite path or the Development Program path, the TOPS program will assist in developing a well-prepared athlete as she moves forward.
The new program will be implemented starting in the fall of 2022. Physical Abilities will be evaluated in the fall of each year, starting in September, 2022 and running through mid-November. USA Gymnastics will conduct the Physical Abilities evaluations virtually, similar to the virtual competition format used across the country in 2020 and 2021.
Physical Abilities will be evaluated and based on the results, a minimum qualification score will be determined. Athletes achieving the minimum score or higher will be eligible to compete TOPS routines during the winter competition season, from January through April of each year. In an effort to provide as many qualification opportunities as possible, TOPS competition sessions will be incorporated in invitationals across the country. Judges who have an Elite Compulsory rating are eligible to judge TOPS.
Click here to access the TOPS routines. Videos will be added at a later date.
TOPS competitions may not be conducted after April 30 of each year. At the conclusion of the TOPS competition season, scores will be evaluated and a minimum qualification score for TOPS National Testing will be determined. Athletes achieving the minimum score or higher will be invited to attend TOPS National testing.
TOPS National testing will be conducted as it has been in the past, sometime in the early part of June of each year. 8-10 year old athletes will be invited to perform and be evaluated on Physical Abilities and TOPS routines. Based on the results, athletes will qualify to the TOPS A and TOPS B teams and will be invited to TOPS camps, which will take place in July or August of each year, depending on the calendar and the schedule each year.
What this means for 2022:
USA Gym will host a zoom call for TOPS State Managers to review the roles and responsibilities of each State Manager. I will be in touch with a day and time as soon as possible.
This is a significant departure from the way USA Gymnastics has conducted TOPS in the past. However, as the sport has evolved, the changes seem timely and necessary to further develop the broad base of the Elite Program. USA Gym is excited to give this opportunity to athletes across the country and is looking forward to this new phase of the Women’s Program.
If you have any questions, please contact me anytime.
These videos are only a GUIDELINE. The OFFICIAL interpretation of the routines is the TEXT.