The two synchronized swimming events at the Olympic Games are the team and the duet.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has awarded 104 places for synchronized swimming. FINA, the sport’s governing body, then regulates how each of these spot is allocated.
Athletes younger than 15 years of age are not permitted to compete in the synchronized swimming events (FINA Rule SS3). As of 2016, men are still not allowed to compete at the Olympic Games.
Team Qualification: 10 teams
- Continental Championships/Host Country (5)
The best five teams from each continent will obtain a spot in the team competition, including the host country. For example for the 2016 Olympic Games, Brazil is automatically the representative of the Americas continent.
For Europe, the qualifying team is determined during the European Championships of the year before the Games. For the Americas, the team is usually determined at the Pan American Games of the previous year as well.
There are not enough teams in Asia, Oceania and Africa for them to hold a regular continental championship. Therefore, their continental spot is usually determined by their results at the World Championships from the previous year. For example during the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia, Australia placed ahead of New Zealand in the team competition and thus earned the Oceania spot for 2016.
- FINA World Championships (2)
The first two teams from the world championships not previously qualified through the continental quota will earn a spot, based on the combined results of the free and technical routines.
- Olympic Games Qualification Tournament (3)
The three best ranked teams at the test event will obtain the last spots for the Games. The test event is usually held a few months before the start of the Olympics.
Duet Qualification: 22 duets
- Team Qualification (10)
Each country that has qualified a team also automatically qualifies their duet, including the host country.
- Continental Championships (5)
The best ranked duets in each of the five continental championships will each obtain a quota place except for the Host Country Country NOC which will be the representative of the Asian Continent.
- Olympic Games Qualification Tournament (7)
The remaining open positions will be allocated according to the rankings of the Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament.
Once qualified, each federation will need to confirm their quota. Should a nation not enter despite being qualified, the spot will be reallocated by FINA to the next best ranked duet or team not yet qualified from the OG Qualification Tournament. It is the same if the host country were to not use their automatic quota.
2016 Teams (using past qualification rules)
The eight teams that have qualified to Rio are, in alphabetical order: Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, Italy, Japan, Russia and Ukraine.
The 24 duets that have qualified to Rio are, in alphabetical order: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Great-Britain, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United States of America.