Let’s roll together – after three years of waiting this was finally possible again in 2022. The first international competition was the Belgium Open in April 2022. A final check-up for the elite athletes before the main event of the year, the first World Championships in Wheel Gymnastics since the beginning of the Covid pandemic.
World Championships in Sønderborg, Denmark (May)
This on-site IRV event was a big success, with 93 athletes from 13 nations qualified for the competition. A week full of action with an impressive number of creative routines and a thrilling Cyr battle. The gym was quickly sold out and the live stream broadcast the finals worldwide to viewers from countries ranging from Japan to Colombia and the US. They were treated to the qualified commentary of IRV Vice President Günter Fischer in co-operation with a local Danish broadcasting team.
The Danish organising committee headed by Edgar Claussen did a phenomenal job. They somehow managed to be everywhere at once, taking care of every small detail that needed attention. They prepared a charming opening gala with local school children and display teams, they did not despair when the contracted caterer pulled out a week before the event and they had to find an alternative, they provided a proficient competition speaker for several competition days, and they took care of all the small sorrows from missing extension cables to duct tape and scoreboards, and, and, and ….
Another highlight of the event was the farewell party with live music organised in the city hall on the final evening. And during the whole stressful week, the Danish team was still smiling at the end of it. THANK YOU again Edgar, Imke, Marion, Susanne, Jörn and all the others who made it all possible.
A new Code of Points for Gym Wheel (August)
But Sønderborg was not only about the competitions. During the event, a new Code of Points for Gym Wheel that will be introduced in 2023 (CoP2023+) was presented to an above averagely interested audience. The project team consisting of Alexander Müller, Miriam Kaufmann, Katharina Heymann and many others have been working hard over the last five years to reform the Code of Points and the first edition of the new version was finally published in August 2022.
The new system will make the scores in Gym Wheel more balanced and future-proof. The first official IRV competition to be judged using CoP 2023+ will be the 2023 Team World Championships in the USA. In preparation for this, international online judging courses are scheduled for January 2023.
Danish and Austrian Open Competitions (November)
Before we reach the end of 2022, the international wheel gymnastics community will have the opportunity to meet a couple more times. At the Danish Open on 5 November, athletes will be able to sniff the “World Championship air” again as the competition will take place in the Humlehøjhallen sports hall, the same venue as for the World Championships in May.
Meanwhile, 71 athletes from 11 clubs and 5 different countries have signed up for the Austrian Open on 26 and 27 November in Salzburg. This traditional competition will close the international Wheel Gymnastics calendar for 2022.
Outlook for the future
After the World Championships in Sønderborg, a number of experienced athletes announced their retirement, and the national teams will need to be built up again. The upcoming international Open competitions will provide a good opportunity for all nations to see where they are before the transition to 2023.