The Code of Points (referred to from here as "The Code") is the rule book that governs the routine construction and judging of gymnastics. Every quadrennium (4 years) the Code gets updated to keep the sport fresh. The current version is a 6.6 MB PDF file comprised of 160 pages of text - this series of wikis is intended to make it digestible to more casual gymnastics fans in a matter of 10 minutes. Keep in mind there are literally HUNDREDS of rules in the code that will not be outlined, but after reading, you should be able to enjoy the upcoming Olympics so much more.
The first question most people have is, "now that there isn't a 'perfect 10' what's a good score?" Some very loose guidance is below, then after finishing the introduction on this page, you can click on any of the events to get a bit more detail (though still fan friendly):
- Floor Exercise >15.3 is good
- Pommel Horse >15.5 is good
- Rings >15.9 is good
- Vault >15.9 is good
- Parallel Bars >15.5 is good
- High Bar >15.5 is good
For all events there is an "A Panel" and a "B Panel" of judges. The A Panel is responsible for assessing the maximum possible score for the routine based on fulfilling of requirements for each event and the difficulty of the skills in the routine. This is called the START VALUE (you'll hear this a lot.) The B Panel evaluates the execution of the skills in the routine making deductions for falls, bad body position, improper performance of skills and many other things. They start from a 10.0 score, subtract their deductions and add their total to the A Panel's difficulty score to get the final score for the routine.
A Panel - Start Value Calculation
The Start Value is calculated by adding the following:
1) The 10 highest value skills in the routine: Skills can be repeated, though they will only count once. Also, gymnasts may complete more than 10 skills, but only the 10 most difficult contribute to the routine's Start Value. Skills are rated A through F (easiest to hardest):
- A - 0.1
- B - 0.2
- C - 0.3
- D - 0.4
- E - 0.5
- F - 0.6
2) .5 for the successful completion of each of 5 "Element Groups": a brief description of these groups will be provided for each event (click the links above.)
3) Combination Bonuses: Difficult skills completed in combination can also garner connection points that get added to the start value.
B Panel - Execution Deductions
There are pages and pages of different types of deductions for different reasons, but what's important to understand is that there are just different grades of deductions that cost the gymnast more precious tenths than others:
- Small Error: 0.1 deduction (any minor deviation from perfection in terms of body position or landing)
- Medium Error: 0.3 deduction (any distinct deviation from perfection in terms of body position or landing)
- Large Error: 0.5 deduction (any major or severe deviation from perfection in terms of body position or landing)
- Fall: 0.8 deduction (when the gymnast comes off the equipment in the middle of a routine or falls on the dismount)
What does the Code look like?
The Code itself is actually comprised of hand-drawn images of EVERY skill on every event. A sample page is below and can be clicked to view a larger version: