Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Terrible Tuesdays - Things I Hate About the Code

I don't miss the 10.0 scoring system... Okay, maybe I miss it a little bit, but for the most part, I like the D + E way to judge. However, there's no doubt that there are parts of the code that are causing the quality of gymnastics to decline.

Here are 3 things that I hate about the current code:

1. Vault scores are entirely too high. 

The highest score at the World Championships on Vault was a 16.033 (Maroney) while the highest floor score was only 15.133 (Afan). Thats a .9 difference! With vault and bars consistently scoring higher than beam and floor, the system really isn't fair to people like Aly Raisman whose strengths are on the lower scoring events. (Someone on the International Gymnast Forum pointed out Raisman in particular, but I can't remember who.)

 If I were rewriting the code, I might add an extra composition requirement on floor and maybe beam (adding .5 to most SVs) or I would devalue all of the Vault start values by .5.

2. A Hop up onto the beam is considered a "mount". 

There are forty five unique beam mounts in the current Code of Points. According to this report by FIG, 68% of gymnasts at 2010 Worlds used an A Mount. Yet, A skills only account for 17% of the mounts in the code. I'm not even against A Mounts, as long as they display something worthwhile. I personally think that a simple leap onto the beam is such a cop out. You're setting the stage for your whole routine! You think you'd want to do something that would impress people, rather than bore them to death.

Ideally, I wouldn't get rid of "A" Mounts, but I would eliminate mounts that don't require much skill, like the leap and hop.

3. People can cheat the Frontwards/Sidewards Requirement on floor. 

Come on, you're an Elite Athlete. You do FOUR tumbling passes and for some reason, you can fit a front layout into one of them? I HATE when gymnasts add an aerial or a side somi to fulfill the composition requirement on floor that says that each gymnast needs a backwards and a frontwards/sidewards element.

I would require that the backwards and frontwards/sidewards element be part of a tumbling pass and connected to other elements.

Those are my 3 biggest pet peeves with the code... for today. What do you dislike about the code?


  1. I know vault scores are high, but it's like the men-- once all teams get a chance to vault, everyone is "even" and has had a chance to bring in a very big score. I think this is more of an annoyance for the audience rather than anything wrong with the actual code.

    It is a problem, however, if the SEPARATION of scores for a great routine and an okay routine on floor is very different than the separation of scores on vault. An Amanar may score a high 15 while a decent DTY maybe score a mid 14, and a great floor routine may break 15 while a decent floor routine may still get mid 14s. It seems it that's quite a bit harder to get a huge floor score and really separate yourself from the other girls. Then again, maybe not. Wieber's Amanar was only 0.5 higher than Raisman's DTY in the AA FInals at Worlds, so she really didn't even get THAT huge of an advantage there.

  2. I agree about #3. But I think the fear is that girls who just flat out stink at front tumbling would be forced to replace a good back pass with something lame like a front handspring front full to fulfill the requirement. I really think that's the main reason that they let the gymnasts fulfill the requirement with just a front aerial-- they would rather see the girls throw a pass they are good at rather than a stupid one.

  3. It probably would have made sense to decrease the value of all of the vaults (not just the 1.5s) after 2008 when all of the other events lost two counting skills.

    Lauren Mitchell is the top all arounder that I think of when it comes to the vault/bars advantage. She is the only one who is clearly a beam/floor specialist (more than Raisman IMO). It is so hard to stand out on those two events- everybody receives similar scores.

  4. I dislike that gymnasts (and their coaches) know they can get away with poor execution because they know their difficulty score is high. Huge skills are exciting, but not if they're executed with messy form. I'd much rather see a simpler skill executed perfectly than see a hard skill executed horribly. But, according to the Code, if you want to win you better do the hard stuff and not worry about form or perfection.

    I also dislike that there is little difference between gymnasts with obvious gorgeous execution and gymnasts with obvious messy execution. It's like the judges aren't even judging, just tallying up D scores and tossing in nearly the same execution score for everyone. It's getting ridiculous.

    1. EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED TO SAY!! xD mind-reading skills involved?
      However I disagree a bit on the second one. Most gymnasts do the same skills in their routine, like the triple twist and double pikes, and if they makes mistakes on it obviously it will result on a "similar" E score. Also, note that Afanasyeva's routine in 2011 was gorgeously executed and she won the floor gold.

  5. Ditto to poster Laura. My biggest issue is that execution is county for nothing. Meets really are won based on D-score.

  6. #1. I think the FIG are trying to work on it, remember how high the BB and especially UB scores were in the 05-08 quad? They brought that down a little. They are just not quite getting it right yet... the one thing good about the 10.0 system was that it really assigned equal importance to all the apparatus. And the thing with vault is that there, an additional half twist gets you from 5.8 to 6.5, +0.7, while if you do an additional half twist on floor, from triple to 3.5, you get an additional 0.1

    #2 I hope they make the mount on beam a must-count element next quad, that should encourage more difficult, and hopefully innovative ones.

    #3 The front layout thing is damn annoying, but what is more annoying... the "leap series" requirement that turned all leaps into high splits, but with very unsightly runs to set them up. And all the more interesting leaps are gone now, the cat leap, the different variations of stags... all you get these days are switch, switch 1/1.

  7. Beam routines are so crunched for time, I understand why they just pop up rather than an intricate mount. Yes, it is different than back in the day, but unless they increase alloted beam time or take out a requirement, the mount is the part I chose to have my athletes skimp on.

  8. I miss everyone having to do 2 vaults!!!

  9. agree with most, but the 16.033 you're referring to from maroney, that was an absolutely faboulous, fantastic vault, if it's the one i'm thinking of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWgBniK_Luk i think it was worth it

  10. I agree that beam and especially floor scores are too low and it doesn't feel fair in AA and TF because there are gymnasts like Raisman and Mitchell and teams like Romania who are weak at bars but great at every other event. They could increase the connection bonus or create an artistry bonus system to make up for that difference. And I agree about the beam mounts, they're boring, a mount doesn't have to be difficult to be beautiful, look at Polina Shchennikova's simple but gorgeous mount. And a front aerial as forward tumbling does seem like cheating but I believe it's better than having scaring fall, I hate that Wieber now does a front aerial but it is so much better than seeing her terrifiying fall at Jesolo

  11. beam mounts are boring but at least we get to have some great mounts here and there (Sacramone's, Haidu's, Peng Peng Lee's, Millousi's). What frustrates me is that we have actually forgot that there's a thing such an uneven bars mount. I mean, I started following gymnastics at 2007 - 2008. When I saw a video of Dudnik's round off to arabian over the low bar mount I was like "So there are difficult mounts for bars? WOW"

  12. I pretty much agree on what everyone else has said--vault scoring, difficulty over execution, etc. However one more I want to add here is the ambiguous artistry rules.

    For example, from the new code, "to express themselves; uniquely". I mean, HOW do you express yourself exactly in gymnastics? And what exactly is unique? Would you say Mustafina's routine unique? Sure, she has a beautiful form. But beauty and uniqueness is different. What about Raisman's routine? It's unique for sure, no other gymnasts have ever used a Jewish song for her routines, and her postures are those from the traditional Jew dance. To not say it's unique would be, well, racist-sounding. Komova's 2011 routine? She has beautiful lines, beautiful music, but really, if it wasn't for the different camera angles playing alongside, the routine would be boring as hell.

    Which brings us to another topic. Russians are always "worshipped" as the queen of gymnastics because of their beautiful forms, and Americans are always "downgraded" because of their hideous ones. I'm not gonna say that Americans don't have bad forms (because they do) but beautiful bodies don't equal beautiful routines. I admit, Komova has the most GORGEOUS legs I have ever seen, and I can't stand looking at Jordyn's legs for more than five seconds. But if you look at the 2011 worlds (AGAIN, sorry but a lot of the examples were present in this competition), and ask me which one I prefer I would say Wieber. Why? Because her routine was composed of such a dynamic, energetic choreography! Sure, she's too muscular for most people's taste, but I was enthralled in the exciting way she interprets her music.
    Now look at Komova's routine. Beautiful legs, pretty face, RUSSIAN. However, it always feels like something was missing. She has minimum connection to her music. And I think that's what ARTISTRY is really about, to interpret one's music in one's routine.
    I don't like Gabby Douglas. She has stiff and uses random hand gestures in her routine. I like Aliya Mustafina. She has that melancholy feeling that always seems to flow with her dance and music. I LOVE Komova's new 2012 routine. She interprets it by both her tumbling and dance.