So, another quad has passed, and here we are, with a sparkly new code of points, ready for 2013. Each code brings with it new requirements, new skills, each attempting to keep the sport of gymnastics moving forward.
I guess we should start with a brief overview of the code’s recent history:
The ’06-’08 code arguably brought with it the largest change the code had seen, making its infamous departure from the 10.0 scoring system. The new code bought with it a scoring system where the gymnasts’ score was based on two separate scores – a difficulty score, which technically had no limit as to how high it could be, and an execution score, which was out of 10. The idea was to reward gymnasts who competed routines with much higher difficulty, who may have been treated ‘unfairly’ in the previous code (think – Kui Yuanyuan in the 1997 beam final, or Cheng Fei’s 2004 floor routine).
With the introduction of this new code we saw unprecedented difficulty, like Beth Tweddle’s release marathon of a bar routine, and competitions where, so far, twenty-two women have landed the difficult Amanar vault on their feet. This is compared to just three performed before 2004.
However, with this change we have also witnessed Vanessa Ferrari, Li Shanshan and Cheng Fei win All Around gold, beam silver and vault bronze respectively with falls, causing serious confusion to some fans of the sport who have watched gymnasts stay on the apparatus and perform seemingly clean routines to little or no reward.
The ’09-’12 code then bought with it more changes. Attempting to minimize the effect of the difficulty score, the amount of skills that would count towards a difficulty score was decreased (in the previous code, the ten most difficult elements were counted). This was way too many, leading to longer bars and beam routines, and side-passes on floor exercise. It also meant more tumbling and less emphasis on dance and choreography on floor, causing fans to grumble that gymnastics was losing what artistry it still had. In the new code, they reduced this to 8 counted elements, lowering the maximum difficulty of a routine, hoping it meant a gymnast could no longer medal easily with a fall.
There also were two noticeable changes for spectators. For one, we saw the removal of the famous ‘lunge’ on floor. This meant when gymnasts somersaulted, they would have to stick the landing without moving at all in order to avoid a deduction, instead of being able to take a controlled step back to absorb the pressure of the landing. We also saw the increased popularity of the Amanar vault. The vault had been given a huge start score in the 06-’08 code, and with six years until London 2012 to master it, there were more than ever before at the last Olympic games.
Now, we will break down the changes to apparatus one-by-one , starting with vault.
Before reading the article, it may be useful to take note of the following terms;
Connection Value (CV): Bonus added to a gymnasts difficulty score for connecting certain skills (READ MORE).
Difficulty score: Numerical value assigned to a routine, based on how difficult the code of points defines it to be (READ MORE).
Skill/element Rating: Individual skills are assigned values of .1 (A), .2 (B)… to .8 (H), depending on how difficult they are (READ MORE).
So what can we expect from the new code?
1. Downgraded vault difficulty values
2. Lower execution scores, almost impossible to medal with a fall
1. Many high tariff (generally vaults with a difficulty score above six) vaults are also seeing a downgrade in their difficulty value, with back entry vaults (Yurchenko and Tsukahara) losing .2 off their difficulty rating, and difficult front entry vaults losing .1 off their difficulty rating. This meant the 2.5 twisting Yurchenko (Amanar) has been downgraded from a 6.5 difficulty rating to a 6.3, but the double twisting Yurchenko keeps it difficulty rating of 5.8.
2. In gymnastics, if you fall during your routine, you will receive a full point deduction. However, when a gymnast competes in a vault final, she competes two vaults. This means if she falls on one of her vaults, her score for her bad vault will be averaged with her score from her better vault, where she didn’t fall. This makes the deduction for a fall in vault finals is only half as effective, leading to two gymnasts with high difficulty vaults winning medals at the past two Olympics.
In the new version of the code, this scoring system will change. The execution deductions are not averaged, meaning they are twice as severe. This means when vaults are scored, the judges will combine and average the difficulty score of vaults, but then take off the all the execution deductions from this difficulty score without combining or averaging the deductions. This brings vault more in line with the other apparatus, where falling is a full point deducted off the entire routine.
The scoring can be modeled by the equation as follows:
Difficulty (D-Score average of both vaults) + Execution (10 points minus deductions for both vaults)
Compared to the old code:
Vault 1 (Difficulty + execution) + Vault 2 (Difficulty + Execution)
This score would then be halved to give the final score.
So for example, here’s McKayla Maroney’s Olympic vault final vault score using the 2009-2012 code, and then the 2013-2016 code.
(6.5 (vault rating) + 9.366 (execution)) + (6.1 (vault rating)+8.2 (execution)).
This score was then halved to give her the silver medal earning score of 15.083.
In the new code, it would be scored this way:
Difficulty Score = (6.3+6.1) divided by two = 6.3
6.3 + (10 – 2.433, the sum of the execution deductions) = 13.866
This would have been the vault final rankings under the new code;
We hope this helps! Trust us, the changes on bars, floor and beam are far less complicated and require far less maths to understand!
Look out for Part Two soon!
Read more from the Decoding the Code Series!
Read about how the D and E Score is constructed
Read about Beam mounts.
Read about the Press and Planche move
Article: Bernard Vella
Join in the conversation on Facebook on The Couch Gymnast’s News Page.
Join the TCG Twitter