The C Score (2.0)

Archive for the ‘Code of Points’ Category

The WTC has posted a new update to the 2009 Code of Points, which goes into effect officially in nine days, making this tremendous timing for people studying for brevet exams and gymnasts tweaking routines. Anyway.

Some of the changes are ones that were rumored a while ago (including reducing the dance passage on floor from three elements back down to two, sigh). Some others are pretty stunning though.

Potential game-changers:

  • The back double tuck has been upgraded to a D from a C. This is a big deal. The CoP specifies that the dismount is considered the last salto performed that is rated D or above. This means that gymnasts will likely now be performing double tucks as dismounts much more often. The double tuck (or pike, as it is now worth the same as a tuck) will probably be found more often inside routines, especially in combination.
  • The composition requirement for a turn on beam (worth .5) no longer requires the turn to be performed on one foot. This had been rumored. It also means that turns can be performed in handstand or on any other part of the body.

Reversions to previous CoP:

  • Root limitations on bars elements have been deleted. This new rule would have prohibited gymnasts from performing more than two elements from the same “root” skill (e.g. Stadler).
  • The requirement that dance passages on floor consist of three elements has been removed. We’re back down to two.

CV and deduction changes:

  • The formula for direct connection on bars that required that the D skill contain flight for the D+C connection has been changed. Now both the D skill and the C skill can contain flight or a minimum 1/2 turn, allowing for CV for turn combinations. (Note: some people have suggested that this means that suddenly a D+C CV requires flight or turn. In fact, it makes the original requirement easier. The previous edition required the D element to be flight, while the C element could be either. Now, both can be either.)

  • Many deductions added for pre-flight form problems on vault, including a maximum of .5 for bent knees or arms; and for second flight phase problems, including bent knees or arms (also maximum .5).
  • The maximum deduction for a deep squat or body-posture problem on vault has been reduced to .3 (from .5).

Skills removed:

  • Varga dismount on bars, though note that a double back with 1/1 twist (considerd the same skill by the FIG) remains. I think this has to do with the difficulty of performing this skill correctly.
  • Turns with leg at 45 degrees on beam (e.g. 3.203), meaning that if a turn is not performed at horizontal, it is devalued to a turn without leg up (at all)
  • 2/1 turn in scale on floor (leg behind). (My guess is that this is the same reason as for the Varga dismount.) Note, however, that the Ksenias’ 2/1 pirouette with back attitude has recently been added to the CoP.

Difficulty-value changes:

  • 4/1 turn on floor: D to E
  • 2/1 turn with leg in scale (Memmel) on floor: C to D
  • 2/1 turn with leg at horizontal on floor: C to D
  • 2/1 Wolf jump on floor: C to D

Those appear to be the big changes. I’ll update as I go through the document more. To be honest, I’m still trying to figure out the July CoP changes, and what they’ll really mean. It’ll be hard to know before they are used in competition.

As has been recently noted on a few message boards, the USAG Junior Olympic Committee recently revised the 2009-2013 Junior Olympic Code of Points (see preview of changes here) to reflect the fact that the FIG has recently changed the dance passage requirement on floor in the new CoP from 3 back to 2.

Which leads us to the obvious question: why is the FIG still making changes to the 2009 CoP when 2009 is exactly 22 days away?

Now, given the posting by USAG, it seems that the FIG has in fact made this change, although that is not reflected in the most recent edition of the 2009 CoP available for download from the FIG Web site. (That link may or may not work. It’s temperamental.)

But the real question floating around message boards is whether the FIG has decided to scrap the new eight-element requirement on bars, beam and floor to return to the 10-element requirement of the previous quad. A lot of gymnastics fans heralded this as an attempt by the FIG to reemphasize good choreography and dance. But rumor has it that because MAG didn’t want to change from 10 to 8, the FIG may have decided to keep WAG at 10 for consistency’s sake.

The first passage at hand concerns an A-panel (now D-panel) requirement on floor exercise. In the previous CoP, a dance passage was required that featured “at least two different elements one of them with 180° cross split position. The leaps or hops had to be connected directly or indirectly, without jumps or turns because these are considered stationary. The other requirement was that the first leap or hop had to land on one foot.

In the most recent CoP, the dance passage requirement is worded the same but requires “a dance passage of at least 3 different elements …” (emphasis mine). Now, both the first and second elements must land on one foot. The only other difference is that there is now .5 points specifically awarded for this element as part of the “Composition Requirements” (formerly “Element Group Requirements.”

However, if the J.O. CoP is to be trusted (note that the wording is very similar to the FIG wording), the FIG has reverted to “A dance passage of at least two (2) different leaps or hops.”

Both this and the 8 element requirement were theoretically attempts to incentivize an emphasis on good dance. Is the FIG reneging on its word?

The truth is, I care much less about that than I do about the fact that there is no official CoP despite the fact that January is just around the corner! I know running a World Cup Final is hard and all, or whatever, but come on. I assume coaches and federations have better updates than the rest of us, and it goes without saying that brevet judges definitely do, but still. But inquiring minds want to know!

MostepanovaFan on youtube has posted a great series of video guides to the 2009 Code of Points for beam and bars. A great visual tool for us all as we wind down our time with the 2005-2008 CoP and move on to the 2009 version. Speculation is that the Australian Youth Olympic Festival may be the first major competition to use the CoP in the new year ….

ETA: MostepanovaFan told me that there will be more videos to come — including some stuff on floor and vault! I’ll add them here when they’re up.

Uneven bars:




Acrobatic elements:


MostepanovaFan also has a series of montages of E+ difficulty skills, which you can find on her youtube page here.

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):

When I posted about the provisional new elements submissions I didn’t realize that in fact the final decisions had already been made!

Contrary to my expectations, Nastia Liukin did not get credit for that pike to scale, which I maintain was not a pike nor a scale anyway, kind of like Coffee Talk from Saturday Night Live. Un Jong Hong did not get her Yurchenko 3/1 because she didn’t compete it. That means no new vaults — what a shock, what with nearly everyone doing one of two vaults (vault has gotten so boring, thank god vault finals still exist to give us some variety).

And the winners are:

  • He Kexin/Yang Yilin for the 1 1/2 in reverse grip on UB
  • Beth Tweddle for the straddle Hecht with 1/2 turn to L-grip (she does definitely own that thing, even if it isn’t always beautiful)
  • Lauren Mitchell for this silly jump to chest stand to chest roll with a 1/2 turn, but good for her anyway (it’s an A skill)
  • Anna Pavlova/Ksenia Afanasyeva for a pirouette with back attitude (I’m a dancer, so I like what the Russians are doing here)
  • Ksenia Semenova/Ksenia Afanasyeva for double pirouette with back attitude!
  • Daiane dos Santos for that Arabian double layout (a G element!)

    I’m a little bummed for Alicia Sacramone, although her request was tenuous. I’m not sure what is going on with that aerial walkover to arabesque, which is everyone’s favorite new skill (10 people did it, 11 if you count Liukin). Despite assuming it would happen, I am relieved to find out that Liukin hasn’t been credited with her skill.

A whole slew of new elements in the Provisional WAG New Elements document.

I guess the most important thing, since we’ve been discussing it for a while, is that Nastia Liukin could get credit for the Liukin/Nistor front piked to arabesque (Nistor was doing it tucked anyway, and isn’t doing it anymore) … only … she gets credited with a front piked to scale, while the front aerial to arabesque (credited to 10 different gymnasts) is not ever listed as to scale. Does anyone think this thing is a scale? (See approximately 1:26. This one is also tucked, and Liukin herself said it wasn’t as piked as she wanted. On a side note, I think it looks like a cross between a tuck and an aerial, it’s not really salto-ish enough.)

Other provisional new skills of note include:

  • Un Jong Hong’s Yurchenko 3/1, with a difficulty value of 7.2.

  • He Kexin’s 1 1/2 turn before handstand in reverse grip on bars (also credited to Yang Yilin). What happens if He’s medals get taken away?
  • Alicia Sacramone’s split jump with a 2/1 turn on floor — good for her!
  • Daiane Dos Santos’ Arabian double layout
  • Oksana Chusovitina’s double back layout with legs separated in the second salto, although it has the same number as an existing skill. Is this some kind of record for the oldest person to which a skill has been attributed in the CoP? Maybe not, given the average age of gymnasts back in the day.

You can access the new elements document from this page at USA Gymnastics. The full Code is available from the FIG Web site.

Edit: See this post to read about the confirmed skills.

I’ve done a preliminary run through the new Code of Points, which will be in effect from 2009 to 2012 (all of the next quadrennium). It’s difficult to predict the ultimate effect of a new Code, but here are some of my first thoughts:

Change That Most Inspired This Blog
A- and B-panel get their names changed to D- and E-panel. Could also have won the Most Seemingly Pointless Change superlative.

Change Most Favoring Difficulty Over Stamina
This has been discussed by others already: instead of counting the 9 highest elements plus the dismount on UB and FX, and the 8 highest elements plus turn and dismount on BB, all three events will now be scored using only the 8 highest elements including dismount. If the FIG itself is predicting accurately, this will affect scores by an average of .7 points. (In their sample final score calculation, the score is now 15.20 vs. 15.90.) Did we see the highest scores we will ever see in 2006-2008? Depends on how far gymnasts can push difficulty up. Given the 17.7 SVs in Beijing I obviously still expect to see some 17’s, and gymnasts keep upping the ante on difficulty. So the real difference is that you have fewer elements to pack in more points. Makes those looooong UB routines of this quad less likely in the future.

Change Most Likely to Decrease Risk-Taking
In less than 10 years, we have had a 100% increase in the deduction for falls. It’s up to a full point now, which is obviously an attempt to appease those who have been infuriated by Vanessa Ferrari’s win in Aarhus or Cheng Fei’s vault bronze in Beijing. The spotting assistance penalty has also increased to 1.

Changes That Will Hopefully Be Met With Corresponding Moderation from NBC Commentators
In 1996, all John Tesh, Elfi Schlegel and Tim Daggett could talk about was sticking the landing. For the last four years, Schlegel and Daggett, and their new sidekick Al Trautwig, sounds like broken records on uneven-bar routines. They are obsessed with handstand position. The new Code expands the types of deductions available to judges on handstands but should decrease the amount of deductions incurred by any specific exercise. In the old Code, a missed handstand by 10-30 degrees was worth a penalty of .1 from the B-panel (in addition to no DV credit from the A-panel — that won’t change). Now there is no E-panel (equivalent of B-panel) deduction. Similarly, the B-panel deduction for a missed handstand by greater than 30 degrees was .3, while it is now only .3 if the handstand is missed by 45 degrees (.1 for 30-45 degrees). On the other hand, on swings with turns, the deduction is now a whopping .5 for turns completed past 45 degrees from handstand position.

Changes That Most Obviously Cater to Elfie Schlegel
Anything having to do with efforts to shore up artistry, including but not limited to:

  • Article 6: Deductions for body posture in dance elements have changed from .1 for any problems in “Body posture in dance” to .1 for pointed or turned in feet and up to .3 for any body alignment issues.
  • Article 7: A number of jumps can be officially deducted to no DV instead of .1/.3 deductions. This is true for the sheep, tuck, wolf and straddle pike jumps and the cat leap.
  • 10.5: Artistry deductions on beam can now be up to .3 on “sureness of performance” and creativity/style.
  • 11.3: Dance pass on floor must now contain 3 (as opposed to 2) elements.
  • 11.5: Up to .5 deduction for “background music.”
  • 11.6: Deduction for missing a turn on one foot: .3 (from .1)

Change Most Likely to Affect Nastia Liukin
The Yurchenko 1.5 has been downgraded to a 5.3 start value (from 5.5). No way she can upgrade to a DTY.

Change Most Likely to Upset Vanessa Ferrari
It was a toss-up with the increase to 1 point for falls, but the biggest change for her will be the requirement that beam routines contain a maximum of 5 acrobatic elements and a minimum of 3 dance elements. Fewer opportunities to fall (and still become World Champion).

Change Most Likely to Affect Treasure Maps
Absolutely no markings are permitted on the FX mat in 2009. This contrasts with the old Code, in which it was still permitted to make small chalk marks of “X’s” on the floor.

Change Most Likely to Affect Spain
In the section where attire is described, leotards now “must be of elegant design” (vs “may be of elegant design” from the previous Code). I predict this will have a particular effect on the Iberian team, which has an inexplicable fondness for fluorescence.

Lenika de Simone of Spain at Aarhus

Lenika de Simone of Spain at Aarhus

Change Most Obviously Written for the Commercial Public
In the Table of deductions, the description for “Insufficient dynamics” now includes “Energy maintained through the exercise creating an impression of ease of execution” and “To make the “very difficult” look effortless.”