Why I am frustrated by gymnastics' rules

Every four years, I get frustrated with changes to the Code of points because they often feel like a combination of lots of bad things and only a few good things. This is what I see in this code update, and many are things we usually see. I am curious if people see it the way I do or differently.

  1. Steps forward: lowering vault D-scores so that AA competitions are easier to follow, deductions for simple steps on beam, wolf spin limits
  2. Steps backward: bars bonuses, removal of some artistry deductions
  3. Perpetuation of gymnastics as obscure Our rules are really complicated. Every 10 year old soccer or softball/baseball player knows 90% of the rules of her sport, as do the fans of those sports… not the case with gymnastics
  4. Awkward Numbers that look more complicated than they need to: Why are we still dividing by 3 instead of 5, leading to unnecessary decimal places, truncation, and wins based on bad math rather than gymnastics? Why aren’t D-scores translated to a 10.0 scale that everyone can easily follow by adding some kind of base amount to each apparatus score (say, 2.5) so that top D-scores are in the 9s and a very rare gymnast can accomplish 10.0?
  5. Driving the identity of sport rather than reflecting its evolution Our rules constantly change, and it’s not because the gymnasts are doing various things that the rules need to accommodate. The committee sets the look and feel of exercises through what it decides to such an extent that every 4 years we get “solutions” that the athletes have figured out.
  6. Stubborn resistance to fixing broken structures: letter-based combination bonuses have never really worked and have constantly required change, whereas simple biomechanical rules can be listed in a few lines and used by even small children. Using .1 deductions for aspects of artistry vs. a simple additive scorecard is both unintuitive and psychologically negative. Penalizing microscopic errors 0.1 when 0.1 is also the value added to the exercise for a substantial upgrade in difficulty is just stupid.



I don’t know how to fix the complexity of gymnastics. But really, if they were to make it completely clear cut, we wouldn’t have these lengthy conversations carrying over decades, so what would we do. Praise leotards? I like things to be complex and difficult to grasp as that is what has drawn me into the ongoing discussions we have. Most of the time we can’t even agree on what is acceptable in the artistry department! The system may be broken, but that is part of what makes the sport alluring. In my opinion, gymnastics is perfectly imperfect and I am totally okay with it that way.

We have been talking about additive artistry for donkeys years.

It is literally a face palm that they’ve moved the R Panel into the E Panel and yet now they’re throwing out 4 Brevet judges scores instead of two.

It boggles the brain. The R Panel should have simply been turned into the A Panel. With an artistry score on a 0.0 to 1.0 “bonus” scale. It would alleviate some pressure on the E Jury and would incentivise the gymnasts and coaches to focus more on artistry.

Then just add one more E judge (use the supervisors score if needed) and have middle 4 count out of 6.