Saturday, 7 July 2012

A look at the next quad's code

As we have seen, the race for increasing difficulty means that perfect execution doesn't matter as much anymore- chuck a skill and fall or have major errors on it, and you can still beat lesser routines. This has been seen most memorably when Cheng Fei who fell in 2008 Vault EF beat Alicia Sacramone to the bronze, after Alicia exhibited clean and well performed vaults. This is why we are seeing so many Amanars, so many Pattersons, so many skill-skill-skill beam connections, so many pirouette combos and release combos on bars, and so many leaps out of passes- all in a drive to up the D score. But FIG are not happy. Upping a fall to a point off and decreasing skills counted from 10 to 8 hasn't helped, actually it has made it worse because the skills counted now have to be more difficult. This is not the individual gymnasts or coaches fault- the code is there to be played. It is the code entirely at fault for what we are seeing now.

Next quad's code, 2013-2016, was released in draft form a few months back. Doubtless it will see alterations after the London Olympics,but the changes it has made are significant.

VAULT

Here we finally have the solution to falls winning and to sloppy amanars scoring well. The current way is of course to average the two vault scores. The new way is absolutely different and will big time penalise execution. Both vault D scores are added together and averaged, then 10 is added. And here's the fun part...the total deductions for both vaults is then substracted from that total. What does that mean? It means sloppy amanars will not be worth doing over clean DTY's. It means falling on a vault like Yamilet Pena's Prod won't be worth doing either. It is good news for knees everywhere. It doesn't change a thing for McKayla Maroney, if anything it keeps her further ahead of other amanars. She would still have won 2011 worlds EF. BUT Cheng Fei would not have medalled in Beijing EF under this code.

THE AMANAR IS BEING DEVALUED. Hurray! Admittedly it is only going from a 6.5 to a 6.3 which isn't much BUT it helps the case for a clean stuck DTY over a messy amanar. Cheng is too, down to 6.4. I think both need to be harsher because the incentive to do them sloppily and still get a big score is still there.

Run length must not be more than 25 metres, or it will take an 0.5 deduction. I'm not sure I like the sound of this, I think the run length should be whatever the gymnast is capable of in order to harness her power on vault.

BARS

Pirouette combos are going to be hammered, they are not going to be allowed stack up conenction bonus for D score anymore. Most people tend to look at leaps out of passes as total code whoring, but so were the beautiful routines of Nastia, He and Yang! This is good news for release combinations and transitions (think He Kexin's and Beth Tweddle's release combos) and bad news for those who relied on turns instead of releases. If Beth can hang on for another quad, she will be rewarded for her insane difficulty even more than she is now.

FLOOR

Nothing major composition wise happening with floor, the element requirements seem to be the exact same. Tumbling passes are still restricted to four, thankfully. BUT...artistry will be much more important! There will be deductions for pasuses greater than one second before tumbling passes, deductions for more than one stationary pause in the corner, deductions for lack of expression, lack of creative choreography, insufficient use of floor space and for lack of fluidity. Choreo can be 0.3 or 0.1, the rest are 0.1. This is BRILLIANT news!! We can expect a return for balletic grace being rewarded and sloppy mechanical routines being slammed by the code. The major emphasis seems to be that the routine MUST continously flow and the gymnast must express her theme from beginning to end and interact with her music. Routines that barely connect with the music or do not connect enough will be harshly penalised too. Fantastic. This is good news for beautifully performed floor routines. Of course, not all of the above is new but taken together it really shows FIG's stance on valuing artistry again.

One of the biggest pet peeves people have had with floor codes is the huge emphasis on sticking the landing. This code will allow for one lunge, woohoo! Maybe more when it's finalised? Connection bonuses look exciting too, D+A (dance) sounds interesting. C+E makes for exciting tumbling lines, with twists into a double salto...a la Maroney's troublesome third pass which is great when performed correctly. Turn combos will be rewarded also. Everyone's favourite leaps out of passes will not getting connection bonus unless they are at least a B. Expect to still see them, but much less. Higher difficulty rewarding is being brought in apparently- H elements- but no further info on that yet.

BEAM

Is following floor's lead. So often are we seeing beam routines with amazing skills, but absolutlely no flow or grace. Skill-skill-skill- arm wave. Lack of expression, fluidity, choreography, pointed feet and aesthetic presentation are all going to be hit. Hopefully we will see this enforced as it's not a major diversion from the previous code where we are seeing horrendously choreographed beam routines. You can do it FIG, kill lack of artistry!



Interesting! Vault is the one changing the most, but it is great to see the emphasis on artistry elsewhere. It is of course unclear as to how much this code will change before it's finalised. My guess is that after London they will be ever more determined to penalise lack of artistry and sloppy amanars, but we'll see!

UPDATE: I found the submissions from individual federations and individuals. Australia do not want deductions for feet landing apart and for deep landings if head is above hip height- what? The latter especially looks terrible and needs to be deducted. France want MOARR LUNGES, excellent. They are also loving the drive for rewarding artistry on floor. Plenty want higher difficulty for some dance moves. India want acro and dance on floor to be judged entirely seperate to each other..hmm. Russia want 4 up, 3 count in TF. YES! I wonder how many of these we will see in the finalised code.

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