Scoring NCAA routines with FIG Rules: UPDATE with Maile O'Keefe's stunning exercise

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I can’t see how FIG could justify taking this below 9.9. MAYBE the split leap would get an amplitude deduction. MAYBE.

I think it has a 3.9 D-score (assuming that the cat leap counts, though that might not be in the code), so that’s 13.8. She needs two more tenths only, which I have no doubt she could have done (another D with a tenth deduction) and that would have been an Olympic medal.
 
What?!?! This is absolutely crazy! Are we watching the same routine?

She doesn’t rush anything, but saying that there is a rhythm issue is nuts. And there sure as hell aren’t any “pauses”, which requires 2 seconds or more. The pacing is part of what makes this exercise have such beautiful presentation! Everything seems exactly as she intends it, and you feel so confident in her own confidence.

I feel like @Doug1233 and @irichluck21 have developed an extreme sense that balance beam exercises should be constant go-go-go and that it has to be aggressive whole time. That has never been the expectation. I am not sure why you think that. In fact, the rules call for “variation in rhythm and tempo” and this exercise demonstrates that in an exemplary way.
 
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with respect I don’t think it shows vairiation in rhythm and tempo. it is one tempo. slow. Each move is very beautiful. I don’t think beam needs to be aggressive the whole time but I think it needs a more confident pace than this. I would give artistry deductions on flow and pace for this. To me the extreme slowness of the routine doesn not look like she is confident at all.
 
There’s 20 seconds between the full turn and the cat leap, where she walks half the length of the beam, waves her arms and does a couple of poses. No elements. Not even a body roll. Doesn’t show any variation of high and low. All very pretty. But in those 20 seconds it’s just… a little bit empty for me. I wouldn’t call it a lack of confidence (I don’t think that’s even a deduction anymore anyway). It’s just empty. And the pace is slow. There is no variation of pace and rhythm. Where is the fast bit?

But Denn, don’t feel so personally offended when three posters in a row simply disagree with you! No need to call people blind or question their knowledge of the Code. And in any event, this whole discussion is moot anyway. Put this routine in front of an FIG panel and it would barely break a 9 anyway!
 
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@Doug1233 Please don’t put words in my mouth and argue with them. I didn’t say I was offended, nor did I say anyone was blind. I expressed surprise, made my case, and raised some relevant questions.

Moving on, and addressing your new claims:
A) There is no rule forbidding 20 continuous seconds of choreography nor a rule requiring an element every x seconds.
B) There is no rule requiring variation of high and low during all choreographic passages.
C) O’Keefe already fulfilled the low choreo expectation at the beginning — extensively, in a 10-second passage with a lovely variety of shapes and movement
D) I don’t see any reason to think she could “barely break a 9” in front of an FIG panel. This exercise is clearly superior than anything we saw last quad in terms of what the E-score measures. And where are the possible deductions that would take off almost a point?
E) The whole exercise shows variation in rhythm and tempo. She regularly mixes poses, slow movements, and short bursts of movement, and those speeds are also varied among footwork (multiple times in relevé!), movement of the torso, and movement of the arms.
 
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D) I don’t see any reason to think she could “barely break a 9” in front of an FIG panel. This exercise is clearly superior than anything we saw last quad in terms of what the E-score measures. And where are the possible deductions that would take off almost a point?
I’m not saying she shouldn’t. I’m saying she wouldn’t.
 
I’m with Denn on this one. Nowhere in that routine do I see anything that says “rhythm issues” to me, in any way. I even rewatched it to evaluate for rhythm and artistry alone. She actually expresses through her dance, and uses rhythm in her head, hand, and arm movements to accentuate it! You can see how intentional the tempo of the routine is. I will grant that she does not have much that would qualify as quick beyond a few hand movements, though her connections all flow nicely. It’s possible that “quick” would look out of place with her tempo to her dance. You could put this to music and it would likely work. At the most you might be able to take a tenth for a lack of variation in tempo (which I would argue against because of the implied musicality of her dance movements), but I think that would be draconian, and not in the spirit of the rule.
 
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I agree that there shouldn’t be an artistry deduction for this routine despite feeling like a change in tempo would elevate it for me.

However, I really wish she’d add another acro skill, a beautiful front aerial for example. She has no need to and it’s counterproductive to maximizing scoring potential. It just bothers me that the rules allow a gymnast to double dip using essentially the same combination for acro series & dismount, but then my beef w/this mostly stems from my desire to see it be a little more difficult to reach a 10 SV and require more diversity in skill selection to really separate the Eaker/Hu/O’Keefe’s from beam workers who are solid but not necessarily spectacular.
 
See this is why I feel like the Code of Points is basically gaslighting all of us: it’s become so opaque that it persuades us to project deductions even where there are none just so we can feel like we have some sense of concordance with the technical side of gymnastics, which makes us very good, very smart, very well-informed gym fans. 🫤 If a routine like this got sub-9 it would be an indictment against the proficiency of judges. (Which reminds me, I was kind of amused by what I believe was Tokyo’s highest E-score routine for women)

I agree with @Denn that this routine is basically textbook, including the artistry/choreo/pacing, however, projecting this into FIG judging is a moot point, in part because this routine is constructed for NCAA, and so arguing about “emptiness” points out the incompatibility of these rubrics, because an elite routine would be packed with more acro (and more deductions).

Side note: I would be curious to see more gymnasts take a sort of NCAA-informed approach (maybe NCAA gymnasts who can represent a foreign country?) and execute ~4.0 D-score routines with near-perfection and see how FIG responds. We sort of got a taste for that with Nina Derwael, but she still had a decently high D-scores from her complicated dance elements…
 
@navyblue You’ll find that this forum has lots of people who share your view.

The problem is that athletes don’t want to show up and do less. It’s partly misconception. It’s partly pride. It’s partly the idea that the D-score is additive and less subjective, so people are enticed to “control their score” with it. But it doesn’t work (again a misconception).

I had a colleague (whom I love to death, by the way — really great coach) say “Dennis, you keep taking skills out of the guys’ routines. I want our guys to show up with some real stuff in their routines.”

Unfortunately, the E-score is so punitive that it doesn’t promote gymnasts showing up with stuff.
 
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One more thing: what @navyblue said is why I DO want to see, say, an O’Keefe, compete at Worlds with a routine like this. I would ONLY want her to change her dismount to a round-off double tuck, which raises her D-score like 5 or 6 tenths (the roundoff is a B and the double back changes a B to a D and gets a few tenths of dismount bonus). I really think she would score a low 14. Even the FIG judges would be hardpressed to penalize this exercise.

no gymnasts has shown up to a competition since the open code began and done a routine like this. Derwael always multiple expected errors in every routine — things she knows will get deducted, but takes the hit. So even if she is otherwise perfect, she’s already getting low 9s at best. And she rarely is otherwise perfect.
 
I would be curious to see more gymnasts take a sort of NCAA-informed approach (maybe NCAA gymnasts who can represent a foreign country?) and execute ~4.0 D-score routines with near-perfection and see how FIG responds.
We all would!

That’s what Becky Downie seems to be doing on floor (although I would go even further and have her cut back the D even more on the turns that lose her more than they’re worth). And the British powers-that-be instantly impose this ridiculous D-Score minimum system, presumably in response.

But even though we haven’t seen NCAA style routines yet in elite, we have seen routines with high 8- low 9 worthy routines being caught at a mid 8 ceiling. So we know the FIG certainly has form.
 
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