Gymnastics Scoring Rules
Athletes either compete as individuals or as teams. Scoring for individual events means one athlete receives one score for that event. In the all-around, athletes compete on all of the events and their scores are totaled. In a team competition, five athletes compete on each apparatus, and the highest four scores for each event are added together.
For each event in gymnastics, there is a panel of judges who are in charge of scoring the athletes. Within this, there are two separate panels titled A Panel and B Panel.
The A Panel is in charge of determining the difficulty score of an athlete's routine. This panel consists of two judges, both of which are required to be high-level, professional judges. These judges determine the start value of an athlete's routine, which depends on connection values, element difficulty, and element requirements. Each judge will create their own difficulty score, and then compare with the other, coming to an agreement.
The B Panel is in charge of determining an athlete's execution score. This panel is made up of six different judges. They look at execution, technique, composition, and artistry. Judges start with a 10.0 value and make deductions as the athlete competes. Each judge gives an individual score, then the highest and lowest are dropped, and the middle four are average to get the athlete's final execution score.
An athlete's difficulty score consists of the difficulty of their skills and the presence of connections between those skills. It also considers the requirements for a specific event which consists of several skills that must be performed by the athlete. The ten most difficult skills, including the dismount, that the gymnast performs are totaled to create this score. If the athlete fails to complete the skill, it will not count toward their difficulty score, and the next highest skill will be included. Each unique skill will have its own point value, as is determined by a Code of Points. In this, skills are divided into different levels. There are seven levels for the women, and six for the men.
Women's skills are divided into levels A-G, and men's skills are divided into A-F. Skills acquire more difficulty as they move on the scale from A to F or G. For example, a full turn is only an A level skill, while an Arabian salto (a type of backflip with a twist) is at F level. The higher the level, the higher the athlete's difficulty score will be.
Connections are when athletes link two skills together, such as a leap series on the beam. Female gymnasts are able to acquire these connections on beam, floor, and uneven bars. Men are able to acquire them on the floor, still rings, and high bar. A connection value usually ranges from 0.1 to 0.2 points.
Element Group Requirements
On each apparatus, there are a few skills that must be completed. If athletes complete these skills, their difficulty score begins at a 2.5 and grows from there based on other performed skills.
Execution scores are dependent on the execution, artistry, composition, and technique of the skills that the athletes perform. The score begins at a 10 and is deducted from as athletes compete. Deductions are made for mistakes and faults in the athlete's skills or form. Any other penalties are deducted from the total score of the execution and difficult score added together. Deductions can range from 0.1 points for small errors to 0.8 points for a fall from an apparatus.
These deductions are taken from the execution score and include faults such as stepping out of bounds, passing a time requirement, or inappropriate attire or actions.
On the floor, athletes are scored based on the height of their jumps and leaps, along with their tumbling passes. The judges look for body position both at the start of the pass, in the air, and on the landing. Athletes are given deductions if they step out of bounds of the floor, 0.1 points for one foot and 0.3 points for two feet.
On beam, athletes are scored on both their balance and their skills. If they wobble or lose their balance, they can be deducted up to 0.5 points. Judges also score athletes on their leaps and jumps, and how high off the beam they are when they perform these skills. They are also scored on the angle of their leaps. Athletes can lose up to 0.8 points for falling off the beam or grabbing it to catch their balance.
On uneven bars, athletes are scored on the angles they create with their bodies as they move around and between the bars. When performing giants (rotations around the bar), they are expected to reach a full, straight, handstand above the bar. Not reaching this angle will cause a deduction. Rhythm is also key to bar routines. If there are any movements outside of a smooth rhythm, such as an extra cast, swing, or stop, athletes can be deducted up to 0.3 points.
Vault scores depend on three aspects of the event. First, they are scored on their movement from the springboard to the vaulting table, the flight. Then they are scored on their form as they reach and push off of the table, and finally, they are scored on their form in the air and on their landing. Judges look for height above the table, distance from the table, and form in their air and on the landing.
High bar scores are similar to uneven bar scores. Athletes are expected to reach handstands above the bar, keep a consistent rhythm, and to hold proper form as they move around the bar. A fall from the bars or an added movement will lead to deductions.
On the pommel horse, athletes are scored on their ability to maintain a consistent rhythm and height above the table. The judges will also be looking for good form in movements, and deductions will be made if athletes hit their legs on the table or fall off the apparatus.
On the parallel bars, athletes are scored based on their ability to hold positions such as handstands above the bars, their swing between and over the bars, and their ability to keep good form. If they hit their legs on the bars or lose the hold on their positions, points will be deducted.
On the rings, one of the main skills judges look for is the athlete's ability to hold a position for at least two seconds. If they cannot hold their position, points will be deducted. Judges also look for a consistent rhythm, good form, and proper landings.