The Australian Olympic Committee says it is “actively” considering whether gymnastics-specific equipment is suitable for athletes competing in the Rio Olympics.

Gymnastics equipment has become a hot topic of debate following a series of deaths in the sport last year, which has led to calls for better regulation and a wider selection of equipment.

The Australian gymnasts who are in Rio will also be using the equipment.

“We are actively considering the use of gymnastics specific equipment in our athletes and will provide more details as we move forward,” an AOC spokesperson said in a statement.

The US Olympic Committee said it would “continue to monitor the situation”.

The IOC’s gymnastics committee is currently considering a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee to ban gymnastics based on a recommendation made last year by the International Federation of Gymnasts.

“A few years ago the IOC issued a recommendation to ban any kind of gymnastic equipment,” IOC vice president and executive director Domenico Dolce said on Thursday.

“And in fact, we’ve followed up with the IOC and they have also made the same recommendation.”

The IOC has recommended the AOC ban gymnastic-specific gear from all venues, including all matches, which would apply to the Rio games.

“All Olympic events should be accessible to all athletes regardless of whether they have a gymnastics training or sport-specific background,” Dolce told ABC News Breakfast.

“For all the different levels of sport, whether it’s track, figure skating, boxing, soccer, fencing, we’re all interested in making it easier for all athletes to be able to participate and compete.”

The Australian Gymnastes Association has also urged the AOI to follow suit.

“The Olympic Games are about the athletes, not the equipment,” AOGA national president Greg Parnell told ABC Radio Melbourne.

“If you want to go and compete, the equipment is absolutely the best, the best we can provide, but if you want the best athlete, then we’re the ones who have to put in the work and we’ve got to make sure that the best equipment is in place to help them achieve their goals.”

The AOIC is set to meet on Sunday to decide the fate of the sport.

“It’s all very complicated and it’s all going to be a lot of work,” Dolcy said.

“But it’s going to have to be done.”

The Olympics will take place in the town of Copacabana from August 9 to 13.

More to come.


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