Welcome to our Gymnastics Community
Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.
Sign up

When did prep op/xcel really start?

superflipgirl

Member
Gymnast
Former Gymnast
Jul 17, 2009
203
Country
USA
I know that the Xcel program (like the national Xcel program with requirements that apply to the entire country) started in 2013. And I know that before that, many states had their own prep op programs with distinct rules. But I've for some reason recently been really curious about the prep op program and I can't seem to find that much info. I am aware that there were prep optional leagues that went back as far as the early 2000's or even the 90's, but it seemed that most of those were specifically for gymnasts who were transitioning from compulsories to optionals, and most of the videos I could find from that era of prep op seemed to be skills that were around a level 6/7 (old levels). In other words, it didn't seem that prep op was really an alternate program back then, but more an "off-season" or "in between levels" program for gymnasts in the JO program. Does anyone know when the EARLIEST prep optional program was created? Like what was approximately the first year that someone in USA gymnastics said "okay we need a program for gymnasts who don't want to commit too much time to the sport"? By "prep op" I also mean any of those other "alternate" programs that existed from state to state, for example the Mason Dixon league.

The main reason I'm asking this is because about 14 years ago (WOW I'm old!), when I was about 9, I started competing in a program that I THOUGHT, until recently, was prep optional (I am in Virginia, by the way). It was definitely an alternate league, with a few different levels, and I was probably around a level 4/5 (old levels) skill level at the time, as were most of my teammates as far as I can remember. I was convinced that this was prep optional--I know that later in my career, it definitely was prep optional I competed--but since I've recently started researching this I can't seem to find any evidence that prep op existed in Virginia that far back when I first started competing (or maybe it was just super long ago and all evidence has been destroyed, lol!). I'm also pretty convinced it was not the Mason Dixon League--I'm pretty sure it had the word "optional" in it, and as far as I can tell, most Mason Dixon League teams were in Maryland and I don't think my team ever competed against any teams from Maryland. Does anyone have any idea what league this could have been (around 2005-2006)? It has been driving me INSANE trying to figure it out!

If anyone has any answers to either of these questions (if even one could be answered, it may help me figure out the answer to the other), I would greatly appreciate it! I'm mostly trying to figure out what the name of this league I competed in was, but I'm also just curious as to when the idea of alternate programs in USA gymnastics were really started! Thanks so much!
 

Oopski

Member
Proud Parent
Former Gymnast
May 25, 2012
295
NY
Country
USA
I competed around 95-96 in "prep-op" or "pre-8" which was modified level 8 rules. (2 Bs instead of 4 on each event, rest of requirements were the same I believe and my scores started out of a 9.6 on each event, except vault which used the normal values). I was in Texas. This was back when levels 6 & 7 were both still compulsory.

Not sure that helps you figure out what you were competing in though.
 

raenndrops

Well-Known Member
Coach
Proud Relative
Former Gymnast
Oct 24, 2009
6,334
The 'Wood, Ohio
Country
USA
Could it have been VAOP? I know they had different levels. Not sure when it started though.
 

Maxcat83

New Member
Proud Parent
Nov 3, 2018
15
36
Country
USA
AGA (American Gymnastics Association) in Texas was formed in 1984 and is still going strong.
 

coachmolly

Verified Coach
Verified Coach
Former Gymnast
Jan 18, 2009
2,965
VA
Country
USA
There was a USAG program called Virginia All Stars or something similar around that time. Not sure of the exact dates when one program ended and another began. I think there was some blending of different elements of different programs over time.
I grew up competing in Pennsylvania and there was a USAG Prep-op program here in the late 90s, my gym used it mostly for older girls who had done compulsories but weren't quite ready for optionals. I don't remember if it was just 1 level with all the same requirements or if there were sub groups within the program. But those types of programs were around long before USAG folded everything into Xcel in 2013ish.
 

Similar threads