Tokyo 2020: The full story as Becky Downie misses out on Team GB selection

Becky Downie

Two-time Commonwealth and European champion Becky Downie has not been selected by British Gymnastics to compete at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The gymnast, who is known for her success on the uneven bars, says she "doesn't have the words" to describe how she feels after failing to earn a place at the Tokyo Games.

Downie, 29, posted an emotional message on Twitter after receiving the news, stating: "I know I don't want to retire like this." 

With Downie’s future now uncertain, GiveMeSport Women looks at what’s happened so far and why British Gymnastics has been criticised.

Statements on abusive behaviour

With Downie viewed as one of the best British gymnasts around, earning a world silver medal just two years ago, the decision to leave her out of the British team has been seen as controversial.

Some believe the gymnast's involvement in highlighting the alleged abusive behaviour within the sport has played a part in her omission.

Niamh Rippin, a former artistic gymnast, is just one of many who are outraged at the way Downie's situation has been handled. 

"To leave out a potential Olympic medallist is one thing but regardless of this decision the way Becky has been treated by BG is horrifying," the European silver medallist said. "Is it just a coincidence that Becky and Ellie spoke up against abuse?"

Downie and her sister Ellie, who both compete professionally, released joint statements after allegations of abuse within British Gymnastics were made last year.

As abusive claims against British Gymnastics were filed – including a teenager stating she was made to train until her hands bled when she was 10-years-old – the Downie sisters shared their own experiences.

Ellie admitted she had been subject to a "never-ending focus" on her weight and she was left feeling "ashamed" of how she looked when she was just 14.

The two went on to remark that abusive behaviour within the sport has been "completely normalised". 

This is not the only reason British Gymnastics has been criticised for Downie’s omission, however. The news of her exclusion came at a difficult time for her and her family.

Death of her brother Josh

Josh Downie, a former cricketer and brother to Becky and Ellie, tragically passed away at just 24 last month. 

His sudden death, naturally, had a huge impact on the family, who have been left heartbroken with the news. 

Ahead of what she hoped would be a Team GB Olympic call up this summer, Becky Downie posted a touching tribute and pledge to her late brother, promising she would keep pushing for her spot on the roster.

"I know Josh would want me to take it as far as I could go and I owe it to myself to finish what I started," the 29-year-old wrote alongside a video of her training on the uneven bars.

Delayed gymnastics trials

Amid the heartache the Downie family have been feeling this last month, Becky and Ellie were given extensions on their Olympic trials. 

The two missed the initial trials in Cardiff but were given an additional date to compete in order to give them the best chances of qualification. 

However, despite this, Ellie decided to take time away from gymnastics to be with her family. The 21-year-old pulled out of the qualifiers, but Becky vowed to keep pushing for her chance at winning an Olympic gold medal.

They both represented Team GB at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, but vying for a medal this year was not to be, even with the extended trials.

Becky Downie omission

After receiving the news she would not be travelling to Japan for the Games this year, Downie was given the chance to appeal the decision. The deadline fell on the date of her brother's funeral.

Her appeal was dismissed by British Gymnastics, much to the outrage of many figures within the sport, including former professionals. The timing of the appeal process was also questioned.

However, despite the controversy and allegations surrounding the decision, performance director James Thomas has denied any ulterior reasoning behind Downie's omission.

"The panel viewed that based on current form, they hadn’t seen the level of performance required to win a medal," he said. "For me, I’m very confident the team were considered on their gymnastic merits and nothing else."

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