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Explaining the Allan Bower controversy in USA Gymnastics ahead of Tokyo Olympics 2020

Allan Bower of the USA competes on the parallel bars during the 2019 Gymnastics World Cup at the Resorts World Arena on March 23, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Allan Bower of the USA competes on the parallel bars during the 2019 Gymnastics World Cup at the Resorts World Arena on March 23, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
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Being an alternate athlete in any event is tough and Allan Bower has done it not once or twice but four times. While his teammates basked in the glory, Bower could only sweat it out in training, just in case anything happens to the US MAG team.

Allan Bower got a call-up once again for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The only twist in the tale was that he didn't receive funding for it initially. Moreover, the 26-year-old wasn't even invited to the World Team selection camp.

Needless to say, Bower was devastated by the decision. Speaking to InsideGymnastics, Bower said:

"I was very confused. I was very shocked and devastated because I felt like I deserved at least an invite to the World Team Camp. But I feel like that was ripped away from me. And we wouldn't even have known until they released the (Men's Program Committee) Minutes that I wouldn't even have been on the team or funded."

Bower only learned about his exclusion from his fellow gymnast Gage Dyer and coach Mark Williams, with the latter having received an email about it.


USA Gymnastics' response to Allan Bower's situation

Allan Bower competes on the High Bar during the P&G Gymnastic Championships at Honda Center on August 19, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Allan Bower competes on the High Bar during the P&G Gymnastic Championships at Honda Center on August 19, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

After social media posts from previous Olympians like Sam Mikulak and Simone Biles did the rounds, USA Gymnastics found themselves in a spot of bother. They later announced that he would receive funding until the end of August.

While the step is welcome, it still exposes loopholes in funding for Olympic-bound alternate gymnasts.

Also Read: 5 toughest moves in artistic gymnastics that could be performed at the Tokyo Olympics 2020

Having finished seventh in the US Olympic Gymnastics Trials 2021 with an overall tally of 165.450 out of nineteen participants, Allan Bower has shown that he hasn't lost his touch yet. He has been active on the senior circuit since 2016 and even finished fourth in the US selection camp for the 2019 World Championships.

Bower has sacrificed a lot to represent the USA in the Olympics. He has postponed his wedding plans and decided to delay his medical school plans to 2022, so that he can have a shot at the 2021 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.

Although Allan Bower won't be hogging the limelight if the Red, White, and Blue win a medal, his achievements are beyond commendable.

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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