Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The C-c-code

Apologies, I hate when life gets majorly in the way of blogging.

First things first, Bruno Grandi's post-worlds interview. The code undoubtedly has problems. His code that is, it is through his efforts that difficulty soars higher all the time and is rewarded in scoring and ranking. Or, as a top FIG official puts it, 8 years on from the open-ended code introduction, "Gymnasts do difficult exercises in order to win under the current system". Well, colour me shocked. The fact is, this was always happening. It didn't always work out, gymnasts such as Daniela Silivas, Yelena Produnova and Tatiana Lysenko were penalised for low/dodgy landings on massive skills ahead of the rest of their competitors, which certainly would not happen these days as gymnasts with a cushion of difficulty can afford execution errors.

And yet, gymnastics history shows consistently that the winners tend to have the more difficult, more exciting, more original routines. It nudged, I feel, Tatiana Gutsu just ahead of Shannon Miller, and there are several other examples in the same vein. The girl with the bigger tricks getting rewarded is NOT a new theme. Gymnasts constantly sought to get the full 10.0 start value, as they seek these days to have 6.0+ d-scores. In fact, slashing the number of counting skills to 8 from 10 has not helped at all, all it has done is force the gymnast to compete even more difficult skills to get ahead. Plenty of d-scores today with 8 counting skills are above the top d-scores seen in Beijing in 2008. The only exception is bars, and even then, d-scores are climbing there, and that's without the benefit of the pirouette bonus the top bar workers relied on back then.

So, since gymnasts are facing more pounding than ever to keep up, what is the solution being offered? Cut d-scores in half, to decrease the emphasis on difficulty, and create greater disparity in e-scores by having a new 0.2 deduction. I fail to see the benefit in the first idea. The girls with the highest d-scores will still have the advantage, scores will just look a bit bleak with winners having scores in the 12's and 13's. It COULD be a good idea, if execution scores had more fluctuation. Having the top 3 win with 8.966-8.933 execution with their d-scores in the 6's as they are now, and then in the 3's...not exactly going to do much really to make the code any fairer. Of course, they are proposing having greater distinction in deductions with the 0.2 yet I feel this would make little impact since scores are just so boxed together anyway.

Beam is a particular problem for me. Up (generally with as little artistic thought and effort as possible), skill, skill, skill, leap, leap, arm wave, skill, skill, leap, arm wave, cursory and dull low to beam, skill, dismount series (is it...wait for it...a double pike??) YAWN. They've no time to waste, lovely movements that were all over routines in the 80's like a glorious rash are precious connection bonuses being lost. I'd really like to see counting skills go down to 5-6, with strict penalties if your routine doesn't flow and/or is essentially skillfest with no real thought to it other than 'get d score above 6, don't fall'. It's no wonder the last 2 beam finals have been abysmal. I wouldn't mind seeing counted skills go down on the other apparatus', but it's really beam that is screaming out for it.

Another idea which I think would be well worth investigating, and which along with decreasing counting skills is a popular one, is the reintroduction of ROV, which was part of the scoring in the last 1980's. This stood for Risk, Originality and Virtuosity and did exactly what it said on the tin, gymnasts got bonuses for displaying these qualities. Unfortunately, I am too young and don't know much about how it was implemented and how easy it was to define. What would make the most sense nowadays is allotting 0.5 or possibly more for each of these conditions satisfied in a routine. The biggest objection is that this is subjective, yet gymnastics judging is and always has been so I don't really buy that. Risk is self explanatory and virtuosity is fairly straightforward...would be an interesting and fair way to further penalise sloppy/chucked routine by withholding it. Originality though would need to be clearly laid out. Your own skill, tick. A very rare series such as aerial-loso-loso, tick (in my view). Very different dance, tick.

We need to talk about dance skills. Capping them at E is silly. The race for d-scores is what's causing horrific non-180 leaps, and that would be lessened by implementing other measures already mentioned. I'd like to see girls who throw full-twisting Shaposhnikovas and other very difficult transitions rewarded, likewise there should be more incentive to do skills like Memmel's on beam.  The triple-Y on floor is a LOT less dangerous than for instance, a splatty Produnova, and if girls who go outside the box with difficulty are rewarded, why aren't those who do the same with dance skills? It makes no sense at all than I can figure out.

My final suggestion would be an 0.2-3 bonus for doing a mount above A/B in difficulty on bars and beam. I would call it the 'Non glide kip bonus'. This would need to be in conjunction with lowering counting skills (so gymnasts would not need to conserve their energy as much and would have more time). I cannot blame gymnasts for doing easy, quick mounts...it makes perfect sense. But, it's very boring to watch.

As for the artistry comments, they have already put strict penalties into the code for poor/lacking artistry. The issue with it is time, time that could be going into skill-skill-connection bonus. I have the uncomfortable feeling that part of the motivation behind these comments is motivated by body type, which is another discussion entirely. I know that I, for one, saw plenty of artistry on display at worlds. Not always in the most obvious places, and not always of the elegant variety, but, present.

How can the problems with the code be fixed, what are other possible realistic solutions? Would you rather see the perfect 10 brought back? How many prizes should the FIG man get for his quote about difficulty winning?


  1. A couple of things I'd like-
    1) A cap on the number of skills (not just those counted, but performed), at least on UB/BB. I think part of the problem is that far too many gymnasts complete A/A leap combos, and now the million and one D/A dance-acro combos- and it's only for the single CR in case of the leap combo. Forcing composition that might at least cut back on that might help? In reality, I think this the major reason NCAA routines can be more "artistic"- they have to do far fewer skills. I'd allow exceptions for basic choreo fluorishes (scales on beam, back spins, etc.)
    2) Make mount a must count element on UB/BB. It at least, by default, is on FX. And the dmt IS a must count requirement. Part of the problem is that almost any of the mounts that are high enough to be worth doing (C+) are either too risky or simply take too much time. There are actually a lot of B mounts, but nearly none are used- probably because the extra time/risk isn't worth it when it won't count. I mean PPLs flairs are a B skill- and that's just one example. But it's a lot harder/riskier than just jumping on. Also encourage gymnasts to submit new ones.

    I also sometimes wonder if they should drop the minimum number of dance elements to 2. Might help cut back on the number of beyond shitty switch 1/2s on BB. They could still do 3+ if they want. Also, bring the tuck jump and cat leaps back to the code- at least they could be options. I'd also like to ban the split jump/scissone combo.
    They should also devalue the inbar stalder elements.

    I also agree about the ridiculous cap of dance and UB transition skills. Yes, everyone complains that we only over see pak/bails, but in reality there's only I think 5 more in the code at all! (Straddle back, ezhova, ezhova with a full twist, full twisting bail, bhardwaj) Handstand requirements probably knock the feasibility of the full bail out, and the straddleback is only a C. And that the Seitz is the same as the van Leeuwen in difficulty is absurd. For goodness sakes, the Komova II (I think- the one w/o twist) would have the same difficulty as one with a twist!

  2. What would you think of bring back compulsories to an extent? Perhaps only during qualifications. This could force gymnasts to focus on arm placement, pointed toes, 180 degree splits, fluidness which might then naturally translate into their "optional" events. It could also seve as an equalizer for those gymnasts that "chuck" skills wih minimal thought to artistry and the finishing details that make up aesthetically pleasing routines and those gymnasts that lack difficulty but execute so well. If gymnasts can keep a high level of compulsory exercises and have high difficulty optional routines great, but at least they would be spending a portion of their time in the gym focusing on many of the elements that are slipping away from the sport.

    1. Oooo, now that's one I haven't thought about in a while. I think it would be very, very interesting and would truly discern gymnasts in the way that the FIG want, and we want the FIG to.

      The way the code is now though, absolutely not. We need to have a much less strenuous code in order for gymnasts to be able to cope with extra workload at the elite level. I'd agree with qualifications only. It could definitely be worth a trial, but not until it's overhauled anyway as I've said.

      On the other hand, the US get lambasted for poor basics, etc, but they have compulsories right the way through to Level 8 I believe? So there's a flaw in that system..

    2. One thing that keeps cropping up in explaining why compulsories were scrapped is how deadly boring it was for audiences. Even I find the same music over and over again grating when I watch them on youtube. If they were ever to come back, they should really just be streamed online and the TV argument wouldn't need to come into it at all.

    3. It is true that the U.S. gets blasted more than other countries for poor basics, however I feel that the majority of the girls that make major teams show above average basics, perhaps not going above and beyond (such as more than 180 degree splits) , but still many of them show execution on par with the top Russians, Romanians, etc. It seems that when some of the U.S. girls become elites, in their quest to add more and more difficulty, that perfect execution shown in their earlier years may be sacrificed a bit. But still, no worse than the other teams. An overhaul of the code before bringing back compulsories is a given, like you said. But I do think it is an idea that has merit.

      Looking back, I found vault, bars and beam compulsories fascinating to watch. You're right, floor did get very repetitive, especially as the same music is playing in the background of every other compulsory video. Sigh, so hard to say what should be done, especially with so many valid opinions. I'm glad there is a realization that SOMETHING needs to be done, how soon the change will happen (if any) remains to be seen.

  3. Yes, the disincentive to perform so many as they're worth nothing might be enough on its own though? Hard to say exactly.

    The mount thing has to have the backup of less skills to be a valid option, but yes, counting it or the bonus, either would be good! Perhaps another bonus is needlessly fiddly now I think of it.

    I'd like to ban aerial-sheep. Yawn. Just like last code's aerial-LOSO. They need to encourage greater diversity with beam connection.

    Yes, it seems really unfair. You excel at the acrobatic side, and they'll even make you a new difficulty category! But the alphabet stops at E if your talent lies elsewhere.

    I should have a disclaimer on this post actually that I do not know the code enough, and certainly not enough of the old codes. Still, watching the sport definitely highlights areas they could be fixing. Such as y'know, not facing another paralysis on the vault while the FIG do nothing.

  4. I agree with you on the overuse of certain skills on both the beam and floor. I cannot tell you how many times I've seen an front aerial to sheep or split jump, switch leap to switch 1/2, bhs to 2 foot whip, etc at this world championships. How come we never see skills like a Rufolva, Kotchekova, full twisting jumps, back hip circles across the beam, or that beautiful full twisting Shushunova move that the chinese used do (ex. Li Ya's 2003 routine) on beam anymore?

    Even on floor, it's just tumble, double L turn or Memmel, switch ring to switch half, tumble, some arm waving, tumble, a tour jete 1/2 and then a double pike? It's getting really repetitive and I think the reason why is because the gymnast do skills that reward them the most without risking too much. I mean I guess doing a Kotchetkova on beam would be more risky than say an Aerial or a punch front, or a switch leap 1/2 on floor would be a better C move to do rather than a cat leap that you can easily stumble on. It's a smart strategy for a gymnast but at the cost of originality and maybe artistry.

    When you watch the gymnastics from the 80s, 90s, and even the early to 2000s, there were a lot of variety in the skills that many gymnasts did especially on vault, beam and floor (bars in an exception because I think routines back then were a little lackluster compared to today's). The base values started at 9.0 or 8.8 so gymnasts didn't need to pack so many skills in to get a 9.8-10.0 start value which allowed them to experiment and try different skills. Nowadays only certain moves can guarantee you the required difficulty to get a high D score, such as the overused In-bar stalder skills that the Russians love to use. I do think that if the required number of skills went down from 8 to 6 or even 5 required skills, we would definitely be seeing more room for choreography. Also, the FIG should reevaluate certain skills that were overlooked and increase their value like bringing a full twisting wolf jump from a C to a D or increasing the difficulty of front saulto vaults; this alone would persuade gymnasts to use other skills to up their D score and bring in more variety.

    I also agree with bringing back compulsaries, although the length of competition and seeing the same routines over and over by so many gymnasts can be daunting and I wouldn't be surprised if turned out to be a borefest with general audience. But for us gymfans, it would give justice to some of the gymnasts that may not have the difficulty but the execution that can push them into the finals if their compulsary scores were high enough (I'm looking at you Noemi Makra).

    These are just some of the many suggestions that I think could make women's gymnastics, or gymnastics in general a much better sport. Let's just hope the FIG has the same mentality and implements these ideas in the future. I am a little apprehensive with the cutting of the D score in half which I don't why Bruno even proposed this change since it won't have any impact at all on artistry since gymnasts are still going to try to up their d score. I wouldn't be surprised if it persuades gymnasts to increase their difficulty even more than what we have seen.

    1. Brenna Dowell did a Kotchetkova! Another US gymnast too...Polina maybe? Ruflova yes, would love to see a resurgence of those. They just don't have time to set up skills like a yurchenko loop when it's not worth much, sigh. Only the Teza version is, and that's insane.

      Creating more categories for bonus on beam would help I think. As for floor, I think the only thing that would really and truly help it would be something like bringing back ROV, to balance out the race for difficulty.

      I wish the FIG would hold a huge conference, and allow outside ideas for discussion with a view to trialling them, at world cups for instance. Not that they'd be forced to discuss everything submitted, they'd have to be vetted first.

    2. That move Li Ya did on beam is no longer in the code I believe

    3. What? Why? That was a gorgeous move on the beam, and still to this day I am confounded by how they did it. I keep thinking it's a back flip to prone with a 1/4 turn to the side and then 1/4 turn back down the beam; anyway, it's a beautiful beam move that confuses me in a good way and I cannot believe that they removed the skill.

      Li Ya's beam from 2003 was my favorite, it had the balance between difficulty, artistry and flow compared to the chinese beam routines we see today. Sun Xiajao was another beam worker who had the skill and she was equally as gorgeous.

      It's a shame now that some moves are obsolete and we may not see them anymore in competition. It just bores me to death to see aerials, switch leap 1/2, sheep jumps, etc. all the time....

    4. Oooo! I'd forgotten she did that. Love skills like that, ones you have to keep rewinding because what just happened?

      Yep. ROV is what would help with diversifying beam, as would opening up some more connection types for bonus.

  5. Hi Catherine once again a extremely insightful blog. I in particular like the code because it rewards the gymnast for what they do and is more open to see what is been evaluated, also it was design to clearly have gymnastic to be seen as sport. To me the problem lies as you said in the E score which tends to somewhat be frozen to certain point. you hardly see a E score pass the 9.3 except in vault for women and in certain apparatus for the men, the judges need to be able to actually reward the athlete with the right execution score for those who perform with great technical ability and execution. another point is the requirements and composition of each exercise. is needs to be expanded and not too restrictive in what they are able to perform in linking skills especially on bars and beam, the men program seems to have more freedom in this area. another point is that floor rules on stuck landings and dancing in the corners are ridiculous and pointless. they promote injuries and suffocate the gymnast from being free to stick to they strength. to me the time restriction needs to be increase also to the 10 more seconds on floor and beam to allow the gymnast more time to include some dance elements and choreography. and finally why not include the 5 tenths to the composition score for choreography and artistic expression. we must actually pray that the judges are not bias and politically motivated to judge fairly the various kind of artistic expression and not reward someone the tenths because they have nice carriage like you said.
    some blogs and gymnastics fan think that been Russian or European automatically means that you are artistic and technically superior.

    1. I had the same thought about the extended time limit on the two pieces of apparatus where artistry seems to be diminished the most. More and more rules, restrictions and guidelines have been put on beam and floor throughout the years with gymnasts having to perform in the same time limit that those brilliant gymnasts of the 80's/90's performed in. They don't have the time to add some of those artistic elements.

    2. Hmm, interesting about the time limit. If number of passes was kept to 4, then yes it would be ideal. The extra time would be much more restful then, as there are already major concerns over the level of pounding and all of the injuries in WAG. I'm hesitant to say that women's bodies don't seem to be holding up to the code near as well as the men...but it does seem to be true. The open-ended code suits MAG.

      If I had to choose, I'd pick lowering counting skills, purely for injury concerns.

  6. Part 1
    I am not a Code expert by any means, but I'd like to add my two cents. First of all, the emphasis on the D-score is, as we know, one of the biggest problems of the Code, but far from the only problem. It is the fact that everything in this Code is about calculating, rather than judging, that has lead to the skill after skill after skill we see in routines today, and which is particularly evident on beam because of the limited space the gymnast is using. Everything is about two things: building difficulty by exploiting the CoP, something that, despite popular belief, is not at all new; and avoiding deductions. This may have sounded like a good idea at first - after all, by introducing objectively tabulated categories for both execution and difficulty, you'll get the best of both worlds, right? Well, no, because the Code is imbalanced and limited. Poor form, technique, basics and artistry can be off-set by massive, uncapped difficulty. The unimaginative basis for calculating the E-score is not enough to take into account all the facets of artistic gymnastics. Thus we are left with gymnastics heavily skewed towards difficulty which can only be obtained by following the limited guidelines of the Code, and neglects a holistic and harmonious view of the sport it is meant to judge.

    Unfortunately, us fans rarely offer any good alternatives either. This is particularly true for artistry stans and those whose preferences lean strongly toward the so-called "classical gymnast." They offer no more a complete and diverse insight than the current Code does and allow their personal bias to dictate an absolute view of a complex and dynamic sport. These are often the same people that, no matter what, will refuse to acknowledge Simone's brand of gymnastics, constantly letting their ingrained bias question every leap, every landing, every handstand and come to the conclusion that Simone is the most overscored gymnast ever. And they believe the Code should think that too!

    The other thing is that no matter what we talk about, no matter what ideas we come up with, there will always be downsides to those ideas, whether it be over correcting or having unintended consequences. Furthermore, there is undoubtedly selective memory and golden age thinking at play here. The previous eras of gymnastics had their problems as well that are conveniently forgotten by the masses. Sometimes the virtues of the past are exaggerated or taken out of context. If you go back and actually watch those competitions, you'll actually see a lot of similar and uninspired routines.

    Grandi's suggestions seem almost as perfunctory and shallow to me as some fans. Splitting the D-score into two? What will that do exactly? I think it is clear that we can't just tweak one or two parts of the system. The system as a whole needs to be re-examined and revamped. What needs to be changed, how it will be changed, what parts we keep and the end result of all this is what is up for debate.

    1. Grandi's suggestion seemed extremely lazy to be honest. I'd love a good open FIG debate looking to trialling some ideas, with ideas being put forward by outsiders. I don't have much hope of Grandi's successor being extremely open to this, it seems a vain hope.

      Exactly, and we can't really imagine all of the merits and downsides unless proposals were trialled. I suggest world cups, as something like Euros seems a little too big for experiments. It would also probably encourage better rosters of WAG at world cups!

      I thoroughly agree with your views, and recommend again getting a blog :)

  7. The code needs to change, but not in the way Grandi wants it to. Cutting the D-Scores in half won't change the standings...I also agree that the number of skills required should be lower. The problem with Beijing 2008 was that gymnasts were packing in too many skills, but now the problem is that gymnasts are packing in too many DIFFICULT skills. This needs to change because there are SO MANY INJURIES!!

    Also, I don't know if you remember, Catherine, but during Ana Porgras's floor exercise in the 2009 Worlds event finals, Christine Still mentioned that gymnasts get rewarded 0.5 for artistry. Whatever happened to that? I think that if the FIG would start implementing this rule, the artistry problem would be resolved. Also, that 0.5 could be rewarded for creativity in elements (like you mentioned) on top of artistry. This way, routines won't look so repetitive and boring and gymnasts would have an incentive to do a rare skill or a difficult/rare mount/dismount.

    You know what else they should do? Change the way vault is scored!! The reason vault is the highest scoring event is because only one skill is taken into consideration. From 1997-2000, it was mandatory for gymnasts to perform two different vaults not necessarily of different families (unless you wanted to qualify for event finals). This would not only drop vault scores, but it would also eliminate vault specialists (I'm sorry for saying that, but I think being a vault specialist requires much less work than being a specialist on other events).

    But honestly, sometimes it's not even the COP's fault. The judging is so unpredictable! One day they'll be lenient and the next harsh! Not to mention the fact that every non-Big Four gymnast is underscored...

    The only good thing is that Grandi won't be running for re-election. THANK YOU GYM-GODS!!

    1. Artistry in the code is confusing and vague. Not least how the code defines it. In this code, it's moreso the lack of or poor quality that is a deduction of course, I'm not aware of a bonus in the previous code? Christine is great although not always correct (and big 'elegant body' bias), but I could easily either have forgotten or just not know about this bonus!

      They did implement a new vault scoring system, to prevent those with falls winning, but it was only for event finals. It was pretty complicated. Bringing back two vaults for AA/quals etc would need massive changes to the code first, otherwise it is too much on top of what they are already doing.

  8. Hmmm... very interesting. In my opinion vault should stay vault, no major problems there. I think that for bars the mount should be counted as you said but I would like them to go back to the old system for that, just having 10 elements counts cause I kind of liked those high start values tbh. On beam, I think that the rules are fine except everyone is saying, oh those mounts are too time consuming. So why not raise the timing from 1:30 to in between 1:50 and 2:00. I also think that there should not be a limit for the leaps and jumps. For floor, they could always raise the timing but I kind of like seeing big tricks, I feel like it's more exciting than just seeing an easy routine with good execution. If artistry also is really such a big problem maybe they should try the rythmic gymnastics code used till 2008. Where the execution is judged out of 10, the D score and an artistry execution out of 10. I also think that again E should not be the limit for the non acro tricks

    1. Vault should bring back the changes they abandoned for event finals. I must google this again, but it was only used for one competition before reverting back. 10 elements is too much wear for gymnasts I think, especially now with so much more difficulty than when they were counted before.

      I like the rythmic code, yet however biased artistic gymnastics is with judging, rythmic is and always been on a different scale, so it's hard to really know!

  9. Part II
    The idea of reintroducing the ROV reward system is something that I've been hoping for a long time. Originality is not dead in the sport but it has taken a noticeable back seat in the pursuit of assembling Code-friendly routines that will score well, and thus forcing many routines to look the same. Virtuosity has all but died, with exceptions here and there. Arguably, Biles is one of the few competing top level Code friendly routines with both power and virtuosity in harmony. Most others to varying degrees are lacking. Risk has become both a problem and a virtue. Risk without technique and flair is useless to me. The Produnova is risky, but I don't want to see it rewarded anything extra for it. Not that it needs to because of it's insanely high SV. British bars are risky and original at the same time, and even while giving some away (a lot) on execution, they are rarely rewarded for it. Skinner has ambitious and daring tumbling runs, but is usually hammered just the same. Biles is and will continue to push the boundaries, but the difference between her and everyone else is that she is doing it with mostly clean execution and mastery, while not forgetting to integrate her individual style and personality into the routines.

    Omigod, fucking glide kips. I get that there is a lot of difficult work that needs to be focused on during the routine itself and so extra time committed to a more interesting (not necessarily more difficult) mount seems wasteful and pointless, but that's the problem!! The tireless pursuit of ever higher difficulty and the outline the Code gives to achieve it have robbed the sport of the little flourishes and unique elements that set gymnasts apart from one another. What's the point in doing something simple yet different that requires just a little extra time when it's not going to be rewarded?

    The point about taking more precise deductions i.e. 0.2, 0.4 is an interesting one to me. I've personally seen errors that are too big to be a tenth and too small to be three tenths and have been irritated that the judges are not allowed to be more specific in what they take away. So in that sense, it could be a good thing. But - would that really make a huge difference? Most of the time, no, I feel it would not.

    The oft mentioned suggestion of bringing back compulsories is something I would like to see, but it does not fit with current gymnastics, which is already physically and mentally taxing enough as is. Other serious changes would need to be implemented first before compulsories could be reinstated as a beneficial boost to the quality of gymnastics. Ironically, one of the reasons compulsories was discontinued was the idea that it somehow harmed emerging gymnastics programs. If anything, the lack of required mastery of basics, has, in my eyes, done a lot more harm to emerging gymnastics programs by no longer demanding strong, safe technique and clean execution. Produnova vaults chucked by non-entity countries like Cuba and India are the most egregious examples of this, and there exist others (PRK come to mind).

    1. As you stated is the restriction that gymnast has to be committed to a certain time frame and certain combinations that will reward them with points or connection values to raise their D score. that's why i said that to me is not the code that's the problem, but the composition rules and time requirements. I am one of those who see this as a sport and want to see gymnast pushing the limits. i love the the difficulty, i loved the 2005 to 2008 code in counting the 10 hardest skills. the diversity of the Americans, Chinese, Russians, Romanians, Italians and so on was amazing both in artistry and difficulty.
      the code should not have restrictions on the type of connections and tumbling passes that the gymnasts is able to do on beam, floor, and bars. and also the time restriction is the same for so many years stuck at 1:30 seconds, increase by 10 to 15 seconds and then the gymnast will include different mounts and dismounts. then again is back to the fair judging. reward those who have good execution and punish those who don't in the right manner. the e scores are too close at times when there should be a greater difference. this thing about cutting difficulty sounds political and bias and to me and i will say it is Anti American ( relating only to WAG). why did they decrease the vault values (Amanar or the rudi), is not because many gymnast where doing it. and why there is cap on transitions and pirouettes on bars. Is the restrictions in the composition of the exercises that is killing the creativity and uniqueness not the code. so i say increase the time on the beam and floor to 1:40 or 1:45, allow for more connecting and linking of skills on bars, flloor, and beam and you will see how creative and unique these gymnast will be, and add 5 tenths to the composition for artistry and creativity in movement so the judges can reward from 1 to 5 tenths. and to close take away the 3 up 3 count and make it 4 up 3 count so the gymnast can perform with less stress. go back to the top 3 gymnast per country qualifying and top 36 in all around, top 10 on finals so we can actually see the real contenders compete and not the great gymnast with a bunch of filling who happen to be just there to see fake diversity.

    2. Catherine, you've gotten quite a lot of interesting replies here with this post.

      I think you hit the nail on the head - difficulty has been the main driving force for winners and there is nothing new with the code as it is, and I agree with a lot of the comments here about cookie cutter gymnastics as a product of rewarding the optimal elements/connections (those that build the D score and have the least risk and time). A lot of interesting ideas as solutions too.

      I'm actually a fan of spreading out the E score deductions as Grandi suggested. I imagine 0.1 is probably taken for each skill competed for things like toes or the slightest form error all the way to a moderately noticeable error - while the more obvious landing faults separate the gymnasts. Increasing the scales 0.1, 0.2, 0.3 I think is good, so long as it is applied. Perhaps the E panel could be expanded to 6-8 judges per apparatus and 1/2 only deduct landing faults and the other 1/2 take form and artistry deductions.

      As far as seeing diversity on the code, I think if you give a bonus for non-glide kips, everyone would do a free jump over LB to swing on HB. Most of the C elements and greater are ultra risky (IMO) and should be worth Gs instead of Ds (jumping on spring board doing 1/1 pirouette stretch to land in handstand on LB? crazy that it's a D - and anything round off to flip and catch a bar is insane as well, but the highest is D or E).

      I think on BB and FX, the gymnasts could play to their strengths if they could build their own composition requirements. For example, you could get 2.5 points for a greater number of categories instead of the common 5. For example:
      Acro - front/side and backward saltos
      Acro - Acorobatic series
      Dance - two dance elements connected, one with 180 split in leap
      Dance - full turn
      Dismount - C should be worth 2.5 so we would see some lovely elements like the side aerial 3/2 and gainer back 3/2 dismounts
      Mixed - Acro element direct to leap with 180 split (could be fulfilled with BHS+sissone, but gymnasts could play to their strengths here)
      Holds/Scales - 2/3 of 5: press hand stand hold 2 sec, full pirouette on hands, flairs, element showing flexibility beyond 180

      The gymnasts would then compose their routine to get 2.5 pts using 5 of the 7 I listed, but I'm sure code writers could come up with more possibilities.

    3. Yes, there's lots to think about in the comments here! People have been calling for change for quite some time, it would be really great if there was a prospect of real change, debate and discussion over revolutionising the code.

      Oops, I wasn't fully serious with the 'non glide kip' bonus. Well I was, but moreso I suppose awarding it for mounts C or higher (and as you said, quite a few should be re-evaluated, but of course, we don't see them anyway..) would be the actual idea. Although, I wouldn't need an actual 'non glide kip bonus'!!

      Yes, and that could make more sense than trying to define ROV. Hmmm!

    4. As for the glide kip, it may seem extreme, but why not ban them. I would much rather see atraddle jumps over low bar like Beth Tweddle did than those boring glide kips.

    5. I don't think there should be a huge change in difficulty. Maybe a few things such as how a double layout and a three and a half are both an F which is rediculous to me because I think a 3 1/2 is much more difficult. I don't really want to see compulseries because of how boring it is to watch. But would give gymnasts huge advantages against countries like USA. The time limit I'm most definitely for and also .5 added to CR. I think that there should be no pirouette caps or things like a certain amount of back hand springs on beam( if that's still in code). I think gymnasts should do any amount of pirouette and backhand springs they want. But pirouette I'm glad went down because the Chinese can pirouette for days. I think the change of vault were no more vault specialist will be interesting. But as for the finals I think it should be top 24 into all-around and top 12 for Events and also any country no matter if there are 6 or 5 Americans are in Floor final which the way worlds went that is possible haha.

    6. A code that would ban a glide kip and keep the Produnova is one I would lose faith with entirely! :p I say...ban them both! Well, certainly disincentivise both.

      Yes, and what on earth is a Dos Santos 2 doing as G when there are H and I brackets? The Silivas is clearly overvalued, there's too many capable, and the DLO is too high as you said and the 3.5 too low.

      I really, really want more bonuses opened up on beam to jazz it up a bit.

      I'd like top 36 AA back again, and top 3 per country. 6 Americans in a final would bore me to tears ha.

    7. I'd say: DLO - F
      Silivas - F
      3 and 1/2 - G
      Dos Santos 2 - H or I, not sure on this one
      Double layout 1/1 - H

    8. As for beam, it would be awesome to have some sort of bonus for great low to bem work. Another thing I'd do is have a compositinal requirement requiring gymnasts to do a B or C non-flight skill on the beam, I miss the valdez, the korbut, shoulder rolls, front handsprings and I'm crazy for the valdez 1/1.

    9. Yeah that ratings sounds much better.

      I'm wary of having too many bonuses and elements in making up a score, and would like as much as possible incorporated into ROV or e score. Ah, the Valdez 1/1. Not quite as cool as the Teza, but so awesome.

  10. I think the biggest problem is the formulaic structure of the E score. It's nigh impossible to score above a 9 (unless we're talking about vault of course) and all the scores are too close together. Simone needs to be able to score a 9.2 E score for a routine of the Classics quality internationally- heck, it should have scored more than that. Which would, unfortunately, lead to even more screwy judging. That definitely needs to be more strongly punished.
    I'm definitely not in favor of bringing back the 10. It was quickly becoming a broken system and needed a huge change. I just think the change came maybe too quickly and needed to be addressed in more incremental ways. Of course there would be problems with this big a change.
    I think bonus marks should be up for grabs, similar to the ROV system. You have outstanding oversplit on a switch leap? Bonus. You have flight on a Tkatchev that needs an FAA clearance? Bonus. You have outstanding carriage and line? Bonus. You make audiences cry with the emotion and beauty of your routine? Big bonus. You show a ton of charisma? Bonus. You throw some spice in your routine with something new or rarely seen? Bonus. I think this would be one of the best methods possible to prevent skill-chuckers prevailing and to encourage the "total package". I also think this could help balance the scores across the events- you really couldn't give bonus marks for anything other than amplitude on vault, but you have a whole host of opportunities to augment your score on floor. This wouldn't be like the US stick-bonus, it would only be there only for when gymnasts go above and beyond.
    On the note of the stick bonus though, I think it might not be a bad idea for floor. A stuck landing is nicer than a lunge, but a lunge is nicer than the fudged landings we've seen since the stick rule was implemented. I'd love to a way for a stick to be rewarded while still encouraging a lunge over a messy step.
    Also on the note of originality, I love beam unique mounts more than just about anything, but I find pretty much all unique bars mounts plain ugly!
    Capping dance skills and transitions at an E difficulty is something I go back and forth on. Difficult dance skills should be rewarded, but we have enough atrocious dance skills as it is. No need to encourage it. Perhaps lowering the number of dance skills required to count toward the D score is a good idea- I even wonder if maybe that requirement should be stricken from the code, but with all the same CR and limits on tumbling passes, and maybe even an added limit on total number of skills in a routine. I'm definitely in favor of getting rid of it with bars transitions. Also on the topic of dance skills, there needs to be more variety encouraged there. Split leaps and jumps are given an unbalanced difficulty advantage which needs to be corrected.
    I think your idea of slashing the number of skills counting toward the D score has merits. Ten skills was too much for some of the girls, but with eight skills it might be too much with the new need of having to include only high difficulty elements. On the other hand, I would hate to see what I think it might do to bars!!
    I also definitely am in favor of bringing back compulsories. You have to prove you have the basics down and good basic execution in order to make (at least an event) final. While gymnasts with sloppy execution were definitely present in the compulsory era, it was much less virulent. I also never found compulsories boring- I find them fascinating! I think it would go a long way toward improving gymnastic.

    1. Bonuses like that could be a little fiddly. But they would form part of the V score in ROV, I would think. Or just plain bump up e score.

      Yes I see that argument with dance skills but they are already penalised quite a bit when they are chucked I feel. The argument in favour of rewarding those who excel at non-acro skills (and diversifying things like transitions) is too tempting.

    2. Yes, I do suppose they could be a bit fiddly, but I'd also think they would be a bit more defined and, well, codified if they were to make their way into the code. And if they really are only applied for gymnasts who go above and beyond, I don't think they should be TOO overly subjective.

      I think I'm in favor of removing the value cap (or at least make it an F) and reducing the number of dance skills that have to count to the D score, or getting rid of it. That the Yang Bo is only a D is just criminal. A (somewhat) similar rule I think should be changed/gotten rid of is how the D score for a side-stand element is determined. As is, it is given one rating higher than the cross-stand counterpart. I think it should be two tenths or two tenths for a D or higher difficulty cross-stand element.

  11. So basically the main points in this conversation that may prove to be helpful for the code of points: adding an ROV bonus of 0.5, reducing the number of skills down to 5/6, increasing the time on beam and floor, revamping the vault scoring (provisional code in 2013), more creative mounts on beam and floor and increasing the value of certain skills to bring more variety.

    This is really nice and I just love seeing all the different opinions and ideas on how the code can be changed. May I add in my 2 cents and also say that the corner rule should go. It's annoying to see almost every gymnast doing the flamingo stance before a tumble and it seems like a dangerous rule; gymnast need that time to concentrate on the tumble. This is also contradicting the "stick rule" since they won't have time to focus on the tumble and try to stick it. I would say remove both the standing rule and the stick rule. I like seeing gymnasts lunge when it is done so beautifully and intentionally.

    1. I think the corner rule should stay but with revisions. The whole one-foot thing is really stupid and the only really bad thing about it. It should be the two-second limit and require clear choreography into the corner, and that's it. It's definitely nice having a break from the ten-second huff fests we were used to.

    2. Yes, basically! Yes it's great to see opinions here. I think bringing in more types of connection bonuses would help too, in making beam less boring.

  12. Well I am wondering if you will do world team/predictions soon then compare them to the ones in august