Each year, USA Gymnastics makes updates and clarifications to the rules for competitive gymnastics. These updates typically take place in May during the annual meetings. Here is an overview of the USA Gymnastics updates from May 2021.

This post was written July 13, 2021 and updated to reflect July 9 changes on July 20, 2021.

Unless otherwise specified, the following updates and changes will take place as of August 1, 2021.

General Updates


Shorts are now considered allowable attire in DP and Xcel competition. The shorts must be solid black Lycra, shorter than knee length, and worn over the leotard.

Jewelry: gymnasts are still only allowed to wear stud earrings, but they are no longer limited to one pair of studs. All DP and Xcel gymnasts can wear as many stud earrings as they like.

The backless leotard regulations go into effect August 1, 2021.

R&P Changes

Any gymnast who has previously competed in gymnastics in any capacity, and is a minimum of 12 years old, can petition to enter into Level 7 or below.

Use of the random draw at State and Regional meets is no longer required. Its use is decided by the State or Regional Administrative Committees. This is in effect for DP and Xcel meets.

An inflatable rebounding device may not be used for mounting.

Bars and beam fall time now does not start until the athlete is standing on her feet (Optional, Compulsory, and Xcel).

It is recommended that a visual display of fall time remaining should be shown on all events at L9 Easterns/Westerns and L10 WDP Nationals.

Changes for qualifications to WDP Nationals (formerly JO Nationals)

Amendments were made to the qualification of gymnasts, if a region does not have seven gymnasts that qualify. In this case, the region with the largest number of gymnasts in the age division will get the first open slot, then the region with the 2nd most, 3rd most, and back to the region with the most (if there are that many open slots).

Brett Wargo’s proposal for Event Specialist qualification to WDP Nationals (formerly JO Nationals) was accepted. Details can be found in the 2021-2022 R&P.

Meet Directors at Level 8-10 and Xcel Regionals must provide 7.5 foot wide sting mats for vault and floor.

Meet Directors at WDP Nationals must provide a 7.5’x8’ mat for vault, bars, and beam.

Xcel Potential Changes

There was discussion about adding a Division above Diamond, or a separate Division within Diamond, to accommodate gymnasts who want to transfer from DP Level 9/10 to Xcel. Regions 3, 6, 7, and 8 volunteered to pilot the new Division this year, and a decision will be made for the 2022-23 season.

The committee also discussed ways to reach more Xcel coaches who cannot attend National or Regional Congresses.

Vault Updates

For all levels: Fall Time for vault is 45 seconds. This means that after the gymnast gets back to a standing position on her feet, after a fall on the 1st vault, she has 45 seconds before the judge will salute her for the 2nd vault.

Level 6/7 Vault

Failure to use a mat stack will result in a Void vault.

The 2nd flight phase deduction “Failure to maintain prescribed body position” is now up to 0.50 (previously up to 0.30). The wording has been updated to add “Excessive arch/excessive pike”.

Deduction change: Failure to land on the bottom of the feet first is NO deduction for Tsuk and Yurchenko vaults. It is VOID for front handspring vaults.

Vault numbers are allowed to be displayed in a variety of ways. Examples are score flashers, white board, and chalk board.

Xcel Vault

The number of vaults listed as the guaranteed number of vaults for a Division is the minimum number of vaults each gymnast should get in timed warmups. If the warmup time ends and some gymnasts have not gotten their guaranteed vaults, they are allowed to finish them even if time is expired.

Bronze Vault

There will be NO run/board contact deductions for Xcel Bronze vault.

There is NO deduction for hands landing past the line during a Bronze vault. Bronze vault mats do not need to have a line.

Silver Vault

Deductions from Level 3 vault that DO apply to Silver vault:

  • Pike (each phase) – up to 0.50
  • Arch (each phase) – up to 0.30
  • Landing in a sitting, lying, or standing position on the mat stack (fall on the apparatus) – 2.00 +0.50 = 2.50
  • Failure to land on the bottom of the feet first – 2.00 (includes the fall)

Deductions from Level 3 vault that DO NOT apply to Silver vault:

  • Too long in support: Level 3 deduction is up to 0.50; Xcel deduction will remain up to 0.30

Gold/Platinum/Diamond Vault

Add a deduction of up to 0.30 for legs bent in support or early tuck on salto vaults.

Platinum Vault

In 2022, two new vaults will be added to the Platinum chart: a Yurchenko timer and a Yurchenko timer with a ½ twist off the table. These vaults will be allowed for the 2022-23 season.

Bars Updates

New Elements

Celestine (Amari Celestine): Dismount 8.301

From HB, back stalder to immediate front tuck with ½ turn (C)

Here’s a video of Amari Celestine’s bar routine, including the Celestine dismount.

Xcel Bars

It has been clarified that one element may fulfill more than one Special Requirement unless it is stated otherwise in the Xcel Code of Points.

The wording for the clarifications has been changed to: “When a skill is preceded by a cast, both the cast and the skill MAY receive separate VP credit if the cast achieves the Division angle requirement.” All of the exceptions remain the same.

Beam Updates

New Elements

Elements Named After Gymnasts

Blum (Ashley Blum): 2.505

Switch leap ½ turn, landing with free leg in a backward scale (E)

Dean (Claire Dean):

Switch leap ½ turn, land and swing free leg backward to finish in a scale (E)

Other Elements Added to the Code of Points

Dismount #9.202

Swing through aerial walkover forward with 1/1 twist off end of beam (B)

Dismount #9.302

Swing through aerial walkover forward with 1/1 twist off side of beam (C)

The regular front aerial 1/1 twist off the side of the beam was added to the 9.302 box (C value).

Beam Clarification

Beam elements may receive VP credit two times, as long as the element is performed in a different connection. A different connection is now defined as being preceded or followed by an element that is found in the Code of Points (regardless of whether it received Value Part credit).

Beam mount #1.208 (2nd skill) has increased in value from B to C, and has a new number (#1.308). Its description has been updated to read “From a rear stand (back towards beam), jump with 1/2 turn to chest stand (candle position), ending in front support with or without back hip circle or other optional exit.

Xcel Beam

Acro elements are considered DIFFERENT if the takeoff or landing is different (one leg vs two legs).


  • Cross handstand step down to lunge and side handstand straddle down are two DIFFERENT elements.
  • Cross handstand step down to lunge and cross handstand pike down to two feet are two DIFFERENT elements.
  • Cross handstand step down to lunge and side handstand step down are the SAME element.

Floor Updates

This is not new, but it has been amended to also state that playing music via Bluetooth is not allowed. Floor music must be downloaded onto a digital device. Meet Directors are not required to provide CD players.

An Acro Pass for optionals and Xcel is now officially defined as, “An approach (usually initiated by a hurdle or run) resulting in the performance of one or more acro elements (with or without hand support). An acro pass with two or more non-salto elements must be directly connected. An acro pass with two or more saltos may be directly or indirectly connected with flight elements (with or without hand support). The wording for the Level 6-10 and Xcel Special Requirements has been updated to reflect this definition, but nothing has changed about the Special Requirements. The wording has changed to read “Acro Pass” instead of “Acro Series”.

Regarding Value Part credit and same/different connections

Clarification: Floor elements may receive VP credit two times, as long as the element is performed in a different connection. A different connection is now defined as being preceded or followed by an element that is found in the Code of Points (regardless of whether it received Value Part credit).

Addition or deletion of a dance value part element directly connected to the last element in an acro pass will make the acro pass different. (Applies to DP and Xcel)

Clarification: If an acro pass already contains a front or back handspring, the addition of one or more front or back handsprings before a salto will not make the acro pass different, regardless of the order that the acro passes are performed within the routine. HOWEVER, if one acro pass contains a salto with NO front or back handsprings, and another pass contains the same salto with a front or back handspring, the two passes are considered different.


  • 1st pass: RO, FF, 1/1 twist
    2nd pass: RO, FF, FF, 1/1 twist
  • 1st pass: FHS, Front pike
    2nd pass: Punch front pike
  • 1st pass: RO, FF, Double back tucked
    2nd pass: RO, Double back tucked
  • 1st pass: RO, FF, 1/1 twist
    2nd pass: RO, FF, 1/1 twist, FF
    DIFFERENT PASSES since the additional FF follows the salto

It is not recommended to perform an actual element upon entering the floor area, before the beginning pose, and before the music starts. There is no deduction at this time, but the committee does not recommend it.

Judging Updates

USA Gymnastics updates judging notebook

Judges are no longer required to submit Mapquest documentation for their mileage to a meet.

Meet Referee/Chief Judge fees are not paid at State meets with two judge panels. These fees are also not paid at any SANCTIONED local or sectional meets, meets with one-judge panels, or meets with less than four events running at the same time.

Following a break, judges should return to the competition floor at march-in time, unless arrangements have been made between the Meet Referee and the Meet Director for the judges to continue their break time during the first timed warm-up. In this case, judges should report to the competition floor at least 5 minutes before the competition start time.

The wording in the DP Code of Points has been amended in regards to Meet Referee duties. The Meet Referee is no longer considered to be the final authority in regards to equipment. They should advise the Meet Director of any equipment issues, and check that all necessary materials are available. This includes light or time signals, and stopwatches.

Judges uniforms: Add the NAWGJ navy dress and navy sweater to the official uniform. Suit jackets are required for State and above level of competition. Leggings are not acceptable judges attire.

The minimum age to test Level 10 has been changed from 21 to 18.

Judge who are eligible for the Brevet or National course will be notified in Summer 2021, and information will be given regarding testing requirements.

The Level 4/5 exam will be offered online beginning August 1, 2021.

There is a Special Circumstances form which is being finalized. This form can be used in instances such as a physical disability which could result in a deduction, to inform the judges that a deduction should not be applied.


USA Gymnastics May 2021 Committee Minutes.

Further Reading

2021-2029 Compulsory Skills

Compulsory Home Page