This is the third part of Bernard Vella’s in-depth explanation of the changes made to the FIG Code of Points for the coming quad. This section explains changes on Uneven Bars and Balance Beam. See the link below the article to catch up one part one and two, dealing with floor and vault.
1. Less pirouetting connections
2. More release connections
3. Lower difficulty scores
4. No E+E bonus for pirouettes
The new code has attempted to reduce the disproportionately high difficulty scores achieved on the uneven bars. The nature of uneven bars can mean that gymnasts strong on bars can easily link difficult pirouettes to one another and to release moves. While there will still be a bonus for these pirouette connections, it will be reduced from .2 to .1. I don’t think it will change any routines too much, although we may get to see more release skill linking (Twedinator style), which is always exciting to watch.
Without so much bonus for pirouettes, the Chinese may not quite have the edge on uneven bars they did in Beijing and London, both times of which they were the top scoring team, but their difficulty scores should remain reasonably high, alongside their fabulous execution, so there shouldn’t be a drastic scoring reduction, but perhaps enough to bring uneven bars more in line with other apparatus.
1. Connection bonus for two dance elements
2. More acrobatic series
The largest change to the beam difficulty score wise is the change in connection bonus. Connection bonus is now only for 2 elements linked together, and for all series of 3 elements linked together, there is a series bonus. This contrasts to the previous code, which awarded all sorts of different connections for different amounts of elements connected together.
If you follow the code, or want to learn more about it, here are some examples of how these new changes will play out:
The ever popular aerial front walkover + back handspring + layout somersault with step-out (D+B+C) will now only receive .1 bonus, as there is a series bonus of .1, but no D+B or B+C connection value. If you don’t know this series, it is probably one of, if not the most popular beam series competed since 2000. Check out the acrobatic series in Nastia Liukins Olympic beam routine on youtube if you are unsure.
Another series, 2 back handsprings to a layout landing on two feet, famously competed by Shawn Johnson (B + B + E) will receive the same .2 connection value it had in the last code, however this is because the series now receives two individual connection bonuses. The series receives .1 of its connection bonus for one back handspring directly into the two-foot layout (B+E), and its other .1 in series bonus (awarded for the entire B+B+E combination). In the previous code, the entire series of B+B+E was awarded a .2 connection bonus, instead of being made up of individual bonuses.
A combination such as Yang Bo’s back handspring to layout step out to Rufolva would in fact receive .3 series bonus, instead of the .2 it had in the last code, because of the addition of the series bonus.
It seems here the code is trying to encourage different acrobatic connections, and really wants gymnasts to innovate in terms of acrobatics on beam in order to maximize connection value they can receive.
The code has now also added opportunities for connection bonuses on beam when gymnasts connect two dance elements, which did not previously exist. (Although there was, however, a bonus for two connected turns, and a small bonus for an acrobatic element connected to a dance element). There is now a connection value of .1 for two C dance elements linked together, and .2 for two D rated dance elements, or a D rated dance element connected to a D rated acrobatic skill.
The first connection bonus could be gained, for example, by a split leap with leg change, into a split jump with a half turn. The .2 bonus could be gained by a sheep jump connected to a Yang Bo jump, or a front aerial walkover connected into a sheep jump. Obviously here the new code is trying to increase and encourage use of dance elements, perhaps in thinking they will add to artistry on beam. Dance combinations can be tricky, since many of the more difficult dance elements involve blind landings, but if gymnasts can master them, it would be nice to see some more original compositions and skills on beam.
Understanding the Code Changes Part One: READ
Understanding the Code Changes Part Two: READ
Photo: Yasmin Collier of Australia by Nadia Boyce.
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
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