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Perfect 10 No More: A new era of scoring in gymnastics is here

The Men’s Gymnastics Team Final is starting in about an hour and for those of you just tuning in, I’m sure you will be confused to find that the perfect 10 is no longer there. For me–somebody who grew up and trained under that system–it’s been difficult trying to figure out the new scoring guide.

So, to educate myself as well as my fellow gymnastics fans who are probably wondering what the hell a score of 14.5 means and whether or not it’s a good score, I visited the USA Gymnastics website to see what’s up. Here’s the gist what I found:

“Under the new system, a gymnast’s total score includes values for both the routine’s content and his/her execution. Basically, the new scoring procedure adds the Difficulty Score, which includes difficulty, connection value and element requirements, to the Execution Score, which encompasses execution, artistry, composition and technique, to determine a gymnast’s total score. Scores no longer have a maximum value of 10.

Difficulty Score: difficulty and technical content. The Difficulty Score represents what was previously known as the start value and includes difficulty and credit for connections (two high-level skills that are connected) and element group requirements, which are the basic categories of skills/elements that must be included in a routine. The element group requirements vary by apparatus. This score is determined by the A Panel, which is a two-person panel.

The difficulty value is determined by totaling values for the 10 most difficult skills, which includes the dismount. Each skill has a set difficulty value, as outlined in the Code of Points, and for the women are divided into seven classifications, with six for the men. The difficulty value of a skill or element is not recognized if it fails to meet its technical requirements. Also, credit is also only given once for a skill.

Connection value is awarded when specific skills or skill types are executed successfully in succession. The women can earn connection values for the balance beam, uneven bars and floor exercise, while the men can earn it for the floor exercise, still rings and horizontal bar. For men and women, each connection value is either 0.1 or 0.2 points.

Element group requirements are the basic skills or elements that must be included in each routine and vary by apparatus. This area is similar to the special requirements in the past. If all of the requirements are included, a maximum of 2.5 points is awarded.

Each judge on the A Panel independently reaches his/her Difficulty Score and then the two compare and reach a consensus.”

For those of you who are familiar with the old scoring guide and Code of Points, this would be the portion where you earn your bonus points. However, there’s an additional score that factors in now:

Execution Score: execution, artistry, composition and technique. The Execution Score, determined by a six-person B Panel, now begins at 10 and deductions are made for errors and faults in technique, execution and artistry/composition. Each judge independently determines his/her score. The highest and lowest scores are dropped, and the gymnast’s Execution Score is the average of the remaining four judges’ scores. Deductions for neutral errors are subracted from the sum of the Difficulty and Execution Scores.

The deductions for various errors have changed and now range from 0.1 point for a small error to 0.8 point for a fall. Neutral errors include those for stepping out of bounds or violating time requirements, as well as attire or podium violations.”

In other words, it’s more or less, how well you perform your skills. The final score is the sum of both the Difficulty and Execution Scores. I hope that helps you out! For more information, click here for Men’s Scoring and here for Women’s Scoring.


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