If you have not already read Fans Guide to the Code of Points - please do so as it will make this all much clearer.
Hanging 260 cm (8.5 feet) from the top of the mat, the Still Rings - typically just called Rings - are the ulimate show of strength in the sport of gymnastics, as well as the primary source of income for orthopedic surgeons around the world. Great ring routines typically combine nearly superhuman combinations of 2-3 second long strength holds, beautiful swinging/flipping elements, and a high flying dismount.
The 5 Element Groups that must be completed are:
- Kip and swing elements
- Swings to handstand (must be held 2 sec. in handstand)
- Swing to strength hold elements (must be held 2 sec.)
- Strength elements and hold elements (no swing)
- A dismount
- You'll hear people say, "oooh, he was a bit high on that cross (or maltese or invert, etc. - all various strength positions)." The iron cross is an iconic move in gymnastics shown in this picture. Many athletes will have their shoulders above the rings rather than creating a straight line between their hands. This is a deduction.
- Creating swing in the rings. They're called "Still Rings" for a reason. Once an athlete starts those rings swinging forward and backward, they're hard to stop and the deductions add up fast.
- Steps on the dismount - many World and Olympic Championships have been decided by gymnasts taking too many steps on their landings
Here is a sample routine from 2007 World Ring Champion Chen Yibing (incredible):
Notable skills or sequences of skills performed under the 2004-2008 Code of Points:
- Cross pull Maltese. Often athletes will perform a strength move that ends in a cross (like the first move done by Chen Yibing) because that raised the value of the cross from a C to a D, increasing the bonus from .3 to .4. Also, a maltese, while normally a D value skill, is upgraded to an E skill when an athlete presses into it from a lower position. Thus this combination is worth D + E. Strength on rings only connects (gets bonus in addition to the value of the skill), if the athlete raises their body to get to the next element. This combination was seen in the first two skills in Chen's routine and there was another example of the "raising" to a strenth move in Chen's third skill by pressing from the maltese to the inverted cross.
- Yamawaki/ Johansson. This is the double front flip done in either the tuck or piked position without letting go of the rings. It fulfills element group three and the value of the skill depends on whether it is done in the tuck of the pike. The tuck (Yamawaki) is a C value skill and the pike (Johansson) is a D value skill. Chen did a Johansson as his fourth skill.
- Double Layout Full-Out Dismount. This is a common dismount because it is a D value skill and the athlete can "watch" the floor, which makes it easier to stick. Notice that Chen sees the floor as he dismounts and is able to stick it. Athletes are now required to compete a D valued dismount, otherwise they will be deducted .2 from their start value.