What are the HOPES and Junior Elite Programs?

The HOPES program was initiated in the 2006 season and was a tremendous success. Since, it has been a wonderful asset for some of our countries most aspiring talent. The USA Gymnastics HOPES Program is one of two Elite competition programs – HOPES and Junior Elite programs. The TOPs program is a testing program, that is managed under the same committee control as the HOPES and Junior Elite programs. These programs are not classified as “being an Elite Gymnast.” While in HOPES, athletes are not considered Elite Gymnasts, thus they still can compete JO level 8, 9 and 10.

The primary differences between HOPES and Junior Elite are age differences, qualifying scores and modified competition rules. HOPES is for gymnasts ages 10 – 12. Junior Pre-Elite is for gymnasts ages 11 – 14. Gymnasts can qualify and become HOPES or Junior Elite by hitting the qualifying score(s) in Compulsories and/or Optionals.


Elites, HOPES and Junior Elites Use International Scoring at Meets

The optional gymnastics meet scoring system used by Elites, HOPES and Junior Elites is different than the USAG Level 9 and Level 10 JO 10.0 scoring system. Elites, HOPES and Junior Elites use international scoring, which has two scores added together – an Execution score up to 10.0 and a Difficulty score (the highest has been about 7.2 – 7.4). So an international score will be above a 10.0 (hopefully anyway) and could currently be up to 17.4 on some events. A big difference between USAG and International scoring is that the deductions are higher in International rules, for example a fall is a .5 deduction in USAG and 1.0 in International competition.

HOPES Qualifying Scores

The HOPES compulsory qualifying score is 32.00 which must be scored at a Qualifier.

  • HOPES optional qualifying scores for 12 year olds is 48.00.
  • HOPES optional qualifying scores for ages 10 – 11, is 47.00.

Junior Elite Qualifying Scores

Optional competition must be full routines on competition surfaces and all qualifying is done at National Qualifiers or a Team Training Camps. A summary of the qualifying information for HOPES, Junior Elite and Elite is listed here. After qualifying to become a HOPES or Junior Elite gymnast, they are eligible to compete in the HOPES or Junior Elite Challenge and Classic Competitions, which are held at the same venue and same weeks as the Elite U.S. Challenge and U.S. Classic competitions.

  • The Junior Elite compulsory qualifying score is 33.5.
  • The Junior Elite optional qualifying score for ages 11 – 12 is 48.00.
  • The Junior Elite qualifying score for ages 13 – 14 is 49.00

What The HOPES and Junior Elite Lead To

TOPs, HOPES and Junior Elite programs are designed to help transition gymnasts into the Jr. and Sr. Elite program levels and get high level optional competition experience, judging and training camp opportunities. From the HOPES and Junior Elite US Challenge competition, gymnasts are selected to attend a Developmental Training Camp at Karolyi’s National Training Center. They get to work with (and become known to, which is a critical step) the Elite National coaches, judges and USA Gymnastics staff. This is certainly an advantage in a future Elite gymnast’s career.

External Sources of information