If you’re watching Olympic gymnastics, you may be wondering how, exactly, the judges come up with the scores. What’s a 14.333? Is that good or bad? Read on, and you’ll learn how Olympic gymnastics scoring works.
In Olympic competitions, FIG (International Gymnastics Federation) rules are in effect.
FIG rules call for the combination of two scores to determine the final score: the D-score and the E-score. This open-ended scoring system allows gymnasts to score higher than a 10.0, depending on the difficulty of the routine.
The D-score stands for the Difficulty Score. In this open-ended scoring system, a gymnast earns more points if her routine and skills are more difficult.
A two-judge panel determines the D-score. These two judges evaluate the skills performed in the routine, and confer to determine the appropriate D-score.
First, the judges add together the Difficulty Values of the 8 most difficult skills in the routine. Skills are valued from A (easiest) to I (most difficult). An A skill is worth 0.10. A J skill is worth 1.00.
Next, the judges determine if the Compositional Requirements have been met. A gymnast can earn a maximum of 2.00 if she fulfills all of the Compositional Requirements. These requirements vary by level, and will be described below in each level’s section.
Finally, the judges award Connection Value to unique combinations of elements on bars, beam, and floor. A gymnast can earn +0.10 or +0.20 depending on the difficulty of the combination.
The total of the Difficulty Value, Compositional Requirements, and Connection Value comprises the D-score.
The E-score stands for the Execution Score. The E-score starts from 10.0, and the gymnast loses points based on what errors she makes.
A five-judge panel determines the E-score. The high and low scores are dropped, and the middle three scores are averaged for a final E-score.
Common deductions that can lower the E-score are as follows:
- Bent arms or knees – Up to 0.50
- Leg separations – Up to 0.30
- Insufficient height of elements – Up to 0.30
- Failure to maintain body position – Up to 0.30
- Insufficient split – Up to 0.30
- Step on landing – 0.10 each
- Large step on landing – 0.30 each
- Deep squat on landing – 0.50
- Fall – 1.00
Here are some of the more common vaults you’ll see in Olympic gymnastics, along with a video link and their Start Values.
Double twisting Yurchenko – SV 15.40
Amanar (2 1/2 twisting Yurchenko) – SV 15.80 (video shows McKayla Maroney’s AMAZING near-perfect Amanar from the 2012 Olympics)
Cheng – SV 16.00
Rudi – SV 15.80
Composition Requirements for Bars
There are four Composition Requirements for Bars, each worth 0.50:
- Flight element from HB to LB
- Flight element on the same bar
- Different grips (no cast, mount, or dismount)
- Non flight element with min. 360° turn (no mount)
Connective Value for Bars
D+D = +0.10
D flight (LB to HB or HB) + C or better skill on HB = +0.20
E+E (ONE must be a flight element) = +0.20
F+D (BOTH must be flight elements) = +0.20
Note: C/D element must have flight or minimum 1/2 turn.
Within the 8 counting elements for beam, there must be at least 3 dance and 3 acro elements. The remaining two elements are optional.
Composition Requirements for Beam
- One connection of two different dance elements, one a leap, jump, or hop with a 180° split
- Turn OR Roll/Flairs
- Acro series with min. 2 flight elements including 1 salto
- Acro elements in different directions (fwd/side and backward)
Connective Value for Beam
On beam, there are multiple ways to earn Connective Value with acro, dance, or acro/dance combinations. All Connective Value combinations earn either +0.10 or +0.20.
Artistry Requirements for Beam
If you listen to the commentary during a competition, you’ll likely hear about the new artistry deductions. There are 6 possible 0.10 deductions for artistry (which also includes posture and footwork), along with two possible 0.10 deductions for rhythm and tempo.
Composition Requirements for Floor
- Dance passage with two different leaps or hops, one with 180° split
- Salto with LA turn (min. 360°)
- Salto with double BA
- Salto backward and salto forward (no aerials) in the same or different acro line
Connective Value for Floor
Just like beam, there are multiple ways to earn Connective Value with acro, dance, or acro/dance combinations on floor. All Connective Value combinations earn either +0.10 or +0.20.
Artistry Requirements for Floor
Just like on beam, there are new and increased artistry deductions on floor.
There are 6 possible 0.10 deductions for artistry, and a possible 0.30 deduction for poor expressive engagement. In addition, there are three possible 0.10 deductions for choreography, three possible 0.10 deductions for rhythm and tempo, and a possible 0.30 deduction if the judges consider the music “background music”; i.e. the gymnast does not perform the routine connected to the music, or only performs with the music at the beginning and end of the routine.
For More Information
Want to learn more about the Olympics? Check out the Olympic gymnastics homepage!
FIG Code of Points, 2022-2024.