The University of Illinois and Northern Illinois University men’s gymnastics teams made history by competing in the first-ever virtual NCAA event.
WCIA reports that the two teams opened their seasons from the comfort of their respective gyms — sending a livestream of each event directly to the judges for competition. The teams obtained an NCAA waiver in order to compete remotely.
“That was weird,” Illinois junior gymnast Hamish Carter told WCIA of the first-of-its-kind event. “That was the first-ever gymnastics meet done via virtual streaming system, so yes, we’re inside our own gym but it definitely felt strange.”
Illinois won the virtual meet by a score of 384.750 to 310.100.
“It is exciting,” Illinois head coach Justin Spring told WCIA. “You know, we knew we had to be innovative in the pandemic. We wanted a way to ensure we would have a competition season this year, so we pushed it. We had two competing formats, we got them together, we tried them out. We had to vote on them from a coaches association, we voted for one and now we move forward and the NCAA finally approved it and so here we are.”