The C Score (2.0)

Why Nastia Liukin will not get credit for the “Liukin”

Posted on: September 24, 2008

With thanks to TheWho of the WWGym message board.

People have been wondering why exactly Nastia Liukin didn’t get the pike to scale that she does on beam credited to her. The answer is in the 2009 Code of Points, effective January 1, 2009.

First, my brief history of this skill, to recap: in 2007, Steliana Nistor of Romania began doing a tucked front to an arabesque (sometimes credited as a scale, although a scale should be with the legs at 180 degrees, that is, with one pointed straight up). This skill was added to the CoP after the 2007 Worlds with a skill value of C. (Yulia Lozhechko did this at 2007 Worlds too, but Nistor had debuted it at a different competition earlier that year.) It was not named because the FIG was not naming skills valued at C or under. In 2008, Liukin began doing the same skill, but more or less piked. Around the same time, a whole number of gymnasts began doing an aerial to an arabesque, which is the skill we saw ten different gymnasts do in the 2008 Olympics. (I actually like this version the best; it’s the most elegant.) By then Nistor had gotten rid of her skill, and Liukin was the only one doing the pike to scale.


Liukin's scale

There are two parts of the new CoP that are relevant here.

1. In the old CoP, the elements like Liukin’s or Nistor’s were credited as one skill – that is, they were not a tuck/pike connected to a scale, but a tuck/pike to scale, if you will. In the new CoP, any skills with this type of logic have been removed. That is, even elements that were previously credited as one skill that technically involved two things that are distinct skills (in this case, the acrobatic element, and then the hold), are no longer in the CoP.

So not only were Liukin/Nistor-type skills not added to the new CoP, previously credited skills were removed. This includes a skill by Shayla Worley that appeared in the 2007 version of the code. It is an Onodi to scale and was named after her after she competed it at the 2007 Worlds. It was a D-level skill. It has now been removed from the code of points because although it is a D+A, an Onodi is not a salto and so is not eligible.

2. This does not mean that athletes can no longer get credit for an acrobatic element followed by some kind of hold like an arabesque or a scale — but the acrobatic element must be a salto. With any level of skill, you can get credit, separately, for each skill. On the other hand, there is little logical reason to do this at the elite level because those holds are both A skills (worth the least amount of difficulty value), while most gymnasts want to count elements with higher point values.

The question is, when would you want to do this type of skill?

The new CoP has given gymnasts an incentive to do some variations of this skill. There is now a new category of connection value for balance beam under which gymnasts can get .1 connection value for a D salto skill connected to a scale, an A skill (it’s mixed because it’s an acrobatic element combined with a dance element).

But this does not mean we will be seeing many “Liukins” or “Nistors.” A tuck or pike front on beam is a C-value skill and therefore not eligible for this connection value. This would be .3+.1=.4, so logically only .3 because the A skill would not be counted, which means you might as well just do the tuck.

The aerial to a scale/arabesque will perhaps still see some play, because you can take the D and the .1 CV and get .5 doing one D-level skill (you don’t have to count all the skills in a series to get CV in the new CoP, although that was originally a proposed change, which actually may not have been a bad idea).

By the way, not even Liukin, who is known for her flexibility, was nevertheless cheating her scale (IMO), which should look like this:

This is a scale, as performed by Chellsie Memmel at the 2003 Worlds.  180 degree leg separation.  You obviously don't have to hold your foot, that is just a signature move for Memmel.

This is a scale, as performed by Chellsie Memmel at the 2003 Worlds. 180 degree leg separation. You obviously don't have to hold your foot, that is just a signature move for Memmel.

I tried to find a picture of Hollie Vise, who did a great scale, but couldn’t find one. But I did stumble across this:

(Grainy) picture of Dominique Moceanu scale

(Grainy) picture of Dominique Moceanu scale

This is the best I have ever seen Liukin do this skill (2008 Pacific Rim, around 1:25):

21 Responses to "Why Nastia Liukin will not get credit for the “Liukin”"

reading through your blog your constant nitpicking on nastia and constant praising of shawn johnson is little hard to take.

you make it seem that she the worst gymnast out there and i am not an expert but i think to win at the olympics you have to be alright.

you have stated that you think shawn is more marketable etc, i am assuming that your american as internationally she is well liked, not every1 falls in the love with the “american sweet heart”

thankyou i feel the same way about everything you have said. Finally someone has a brain! LOL

Hmm, I don’t think I’m really nitpicking on Liukin. I think I spend maybe more time on it because I don’t really understand why people constantly talk about her grace. She *is* graceful, beyond graceful, as a dancer. As a former dancer, I appreciate it. But her tumbling is anything but graceful, and to me that is what gymnastics is really about. Naturally, that is a personal opinion.

I don’t think Liukin is a bad gymnast. How could you? She is a good gymnast, especially on bars. I think Johnson has a lot of problems, particularly with flexibility (I actually like her floor though, and the choreography, so I don’t really agree with those criticisms). The flexibility is a real issue. Then again, I don’t think liking Johnson implies that I don’t like Liukin, or vice versa.

Finally, I don’t think the question of whether Johnson is marketable is related. In the United States, which was the point of that post, she simply *is* more marketable. Americans like all-American girls. It’s not a value judgment on my part, it was an analysis. I don’t like Johnson because she’s an all-American girl, I like her because I think she is a good gymnast. The marketing aspect is clearly unrelated to gymnastics, since Liukin won the AA.

Anyway, thanks for your comment. I don’t think I’m being biased in an unfair way, although I do have my opinions. I’ll try to keep it in mind though!

There has been no nit picking on Nastia. The score Nastia’s fans are fanatical lunatics. Don’t even bother talking to them. Your blog has been fair from what I have read. Nastia fans just can’t handle the facts that her gymnastics has flaws.

Keep up the great work.

Shawn is the more likable Olympian. There was an article published (I can’t find it right now) and Shawn was listed 6th. Nastia was listed 15th of Olympians most marketable.

Excuse me, GymFan, I’m a hardcore Nastia fan (not a lunatic), and I’m COMPLETELY aware that she has flaws.

I haven’t read The C Score’s blog, so I don’t know what’s been said, but what I DO hate is when people claim she wasn’t properly deducted for them, as if they know exactly what the judges deducted. For example, she gets a 9.3 B Score then people say “they didn’t deduct her cowboyed double front” as if it’s a .8 deduction or something.

I actually don’t mind crossed legs if the legs are stretched, like in her 2-1/2 and rudi, and I don’t mind them in the front 2/1 after the front full because that’s an interesting combination. At least she’s not crossing her legs AND bending them on a double twist like Ponor did, that was just unacceptable. I’ll be the first to admit that Nastia’s dismount looks terrible, but that’s only because of endurance. During the Olympic podium training, she did her dismount separate and it was near perfect. I have a gif somewhere showing it.

A scale and an arabesque are 2 different things, by the way. A scale just has your leg going to horizontal, an arabesque is all the way up.

And Shayla Worley’s skill in the COP is a 2 footed Onodi, not an Onodi to scale.

Hi Marcus,

Thanks for your comments.

Actually, a scale ideally has your leg going to 180, as shown in the photo of Moceanu. An arabesque is essentially a scale that is not penché, or leaned forward.

Yes, sorry about that, the Onodi to two feet was named after her, but she also did an Onodi to scale (see e.g. American Cup 2008).

On the question of Nastia Liukin: GymFan is referring to a different post in which I suggested that Liukin might prove to be less marketable than Johnson, which is not a comment on their gymnastics. As for the skills, I personally don’t like twisted feet on a twist, and I do think that Liukin always cowboyed the double front. But I certainly don’t know if she was deducted for those things routinely. On the other hand, those are — to my mind — major form errors that belie the suggestion that Liukin is always elegant: I think she is very elegant on dance, and not elegant at all in tumbling.

Obviously some of these things are no longer just differences of opinion if you are judging, but from our subjective perspective I don’t see the harm in friendly disagreement!

Thanks for stopping by!

Oh, she was always deducted for her form errors, at least in international competition, everyone knows not to trust domestic scoring.

Her highest B Score in Beijing was a 9.325, and she didn’t go higher than a 9 in Stuttgart, which means they obviously deducted for something if they’re taking off .675 and over 1.0, respectively.

I wasn’t clear, sorry. I meant that you’re right that we have no way of knowing what she was deducted for. I assume she *was* deducted for those things. Which is good. I’m certainly not contesting any scores she’s received. Just aesthetically, I prefer other gymnasts.

P.S. Are you NastiaFan101/NewNastiaFan101/NewNewNastiaFan101? You’re the best! 🙂

haha, yes, but my account was deleted AGAIN!

Now I’m “ItsNastiaFan101” (3 new’s wouldn’t fit on youtube, boooo)

Glad you’re not one of those NASTIASUCKS IHATENASTIA people!

Sorry but……
I didn’t understand ….. The Liukin will be or not in the new code?

Will not.

Ok Thank you!

I thought she does get credit for it.

She talks about it in this video:

As far as I can tell, she is getting credit until the end of the quad. It is in the new additions to the CoP from the 2008 OG, but it disappears once you go to the 2009 CoP … weird, right?

Oh, I see. Yeah, that is weird.

In MAG, a “scale” at least colloquially is a one leg balance. Not needed to be 180 from leg to leg. Perhaps this is the cause of confusion?

I don’t really get the justification for thinking that the somi to arabesque is special. Especially when it’s not even really landed in arabesque but the motion continues to put it there.

Nastia is going to end up being more marketable, given that she brought home the AA and is staying in the sport and has a better agent and has really worked on her “brand”. Shawn will pick up some HyVee.

Shawn is a preferable gymnast. People end up liking Nastia for a very styalized look of hers, rather than real performance. Not only does she lack big tricks, but she has all kinds of flaws on tricked landings, crossed legs, cowboy, etc. Arching her back and being tall and thin and having an oversplit does not trump lack of real gym.

Personally if you want look, Sacramone is the sexiest.

They are rapidly stripping every notion of artistry from gymnastics in favor of this hard-lined, technical red tape. Before long, there will be NO room for dance or elegance and gymnasts will literally just hammer out skill after skill, annihilating any sort of connectivity or flow just so they have a shot at a medal.

I know the old scoring system was flawed. But so is this one, and at least the old system left room for beauty and artistry. Gymnastics is losing everything that made it special. It’s been sad for me to watch over the past 20 years.

I’ve just checked the most recent CoP, on the FIG website, and they have credited Liukin for the “Liukin,”

if nastia liukin is not so great then why did she win the all around at the olympics?

They have credited it, at least for now. It’s on page 180 of the current COP.

“Liukin Nastya (USA) Front salto piked with take off from one foot to scale (2 sec.)”

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About The C Score

First there was A score and B score, now D score and E score. Where is the C score? Right here. In the form of my random thoughts about women's artistic gymnastics.


September 2008
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