Audiences watching women’s gymnastics in the Olympics may be captivated by the competitors’ athleticism and creativity, but they may have a hard time determining who the best gymnasts are. When it comes to choosing which gymnasts make it to the podium, though, the judges at the Olympics use a rigorously standardised scoring system.
The Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG), which administers both the World Championships and the Olympic Games, developed this system, which is known as the FIG Code of Points.
What Is the Gymnastics Points System?
The Code of Points is a rule book that judges use to assign values to gymnasts’ performances.
The final result is based on the gymnast’s start value, which is the maximum attainable score minus any deductions made for missing or incorrect aspects of the routine. These reductions are decided by a judicial panel of technical experts.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “a perfect 10” in reference to FIG scores, which had a maximum value of 10. However, in 2006, FIG made changes to its system to incorporate the difficulty of abilities and routines into final results.
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Exactly What is the Minimum Required Grade?
All gymnasts competing at the amateur level are required to memorise the same routine in order to be scored consistently. A gymnast’s required routines will change based on the level of competition she is attempting to achieve. There are five progressively more demanding levels here, starting with Level 1 (the easiest) (the most challenging).
- The Score Is Optional, What Is It? The obligatory score can include routines like these, depending on the gymnast’s skill level:
- Contraction and extension of the legs on the floor
- Weighing in on the beam (including cartwheel, handstand, split leaps, and a dismount)
- The jumping mat or trampoline (including salto and other flips)
- Disparate bars (including acrobatic feats and a dismount)
Gymnasts in competition can get bonus points by performing routines created specifically to highlight their individual strengths. The music and choreography performed by gymnasts during their optional floor exercise routines are a great way for them to express themselves during competition.
How Does the U.S. Choose Its Gymnasts?
From Mary Lou Retton and Keri Strug and Dominique Dawes to more contemporary champions like Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman, USA Gymnastics has produced an impressive string of winners. Simone Biles, however, is the most decorated American female gymnast of all time, having earned four gold medals and one bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games.
So how does one go about trying out for the US national team? You can do this in a variety of ways. For instance:
The 2020 U.S. Women’s Gymnastics National Championships, scheduled for June of that year, will be the most important tryout event. The 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials will be held later that month in St. Louis.
However, gymnasts can also qualify by achieving exceptionally high scores at the NCAA Championships, the country’s premier collegiate athletic competition.
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Just Four Gymnasts have Ever Scored a Perfect 10 in Competition.
For a long time, a perfect score of 10 was considered the maximum possible in artistic gymnastics. This is due to the fact that before 2006, competitive gymnasts had their routines scored from a starting value of 10, with points subtracted as the performance progressed.
There have been rare instances in gymnastics history where both male and female competitors scored a perfect 10 from the technical committee. To name a few of these gymnasts:
- Nadia Comăneci, who competed in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and earned seven perfect 10s.
- Secondly, Nadia Comăneci, who won gold in two events at the 1980 Moscow Olympics with scores of 10 and 10.
- Third, Li Ning, who in 1984 at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, scored a perfect five-hundred on all of his attempts.
- Fourth, Julianne McNamara, who in 1984 in Los Angeles received five perfect 10s.
The FIG revised its scoring system in 2006, and the highest possible score now changes depending on the competition. For example, Simone Biles’s winning totals at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro included 16.050 on the vault, 15.733 on the floor exercise, and 15.633 on the balance beam.