TOPs, or the Talent Opportunity Program, was created 22 years ago to identify young talented gymnasts.

And from the USA Gymnastics Women’s Program Rules and Policies:

“The Talent Opportunity Program (TOPs) is an identification system that is implemented by the Developmental Team Coordinator under the direction of the International Elite Committee. Its purpose is to assist the coach with early identification of potentially talented athletes and to nurture and assist in the development of these athletes and their coaches and to provide competitive opportunities.”

So as you can see from the quotes above, TOPs is a program USA Gymnastics uses to find gymnasts with a “special” talent for gymnastics.  The goal is to have a strong national gymnastics team; I think the fact that it is under the direction of the International Elite Committee illustrates this point.

Since the goal of TOPs is to identify gymnasts with a “special” talent that if coached right, can become a very high-level gymnast, the program is focused mainly on developing the most up to date gymnastics technic and elements at a very young age. TOPs gymnasts also learn some specific gymnastics skills that are building blocks to other high-level skills. They learn these skills at a faster pace than is typical in the JO Program (gymnastics levels 1-10).

From the USA Gymnastics Website, "TOPs (Talent Opportunity Program) is a talent search and educational program for female gymnasts ages 7-10 and their coaches."