Introduction to Xcel Gold Gymnastics

The third level, or division, as it’s called in Xcel gymnastics, is Xcel Gold. The requirements in Xcel Gold are a progression from the Silver division, as the gymnasts continue to learn more difficult skills.

Each division has its own set of skill and difficulty requirements. There are 4 Special Requirements on each event, except for vault. The requirements must be fulfilled by skills from the Xcel Code of Points, or from the division’s corresponding skills chart.

Let’s take a look at these requirements in the Gold division.

Xcel Gold Vault

xcel gold vault

At Xcel Gold, this is the first division which the gymnast can choose her vault from a vault chart. Gymnasts in this division must perform vaults from the Xcel Gold chart, or the vault is void. All of these vaults are from the handspring family or twisting vaults without saltos. There is no more than 1 ½ total twist in any of the vaults, and no more than a 1/1 twist in any phase.

Some examples of vaults on the Gold chart include:

  • Handspring
  • Handspring ½ twist
  • ½ on
  • ½ on, ½ off
  • ½ on, full off
  • Yamashita

If a vault is performed that is not allowable for the division, it will receive a 0 (void vault).

Vault Clarifications

All vaults on the Gold vault chart start at 10.0. The alternative springboard is allowed, but if it is used, the Start Value lowers to 9.5.

At the Gold division, height and distance deductions are applied (they do not apply in Silver). Deductions can also be taken for angle of repulsion (up to 0.50) and too long in support (up to 0.50).

The vault is expected to be quick and dynamic, and to show a hip rise. The deductions listed above are there to separate vaults with good repulsion from vaults that do not have good repulsion. Focusing on these areas will help the gymnast to improve not only their Gold vault, but their ability to progress to more difficult vaults in the higher levels.

Xcel Gold Bars

kip on xcel gold bars

Special Requirements

An Xcel Gold bar routine has 4 Special Requirements. The requirements must be fulfilled by A or B skills from the Xcel Code of Points, or by skills from the Xcel Gold chart.

The Special Requirements for Xcel Gold are:

  1. Minimum of 6 A skills
  2. A skill finishing in clear support at horizontal
  3. 360 circling skill (not mount or dismount)
  4. Dismount from high bar

Difficulty Restrictions

Each division has difficulty restrictions specific to that division. This helps to level the playing field among gymnasts in that division.

Here are the difficulty restrictions for Xcel Gold bars:

  • No C or higher skills
  • No release skills with bar change
  • No giants (LB or HB)

Xcel Gold gymnasts are allowed to perform any A or B skills, with a couple of exceptions. They may NOT perform:

  • Giants
  • Release skills with bar change

Clarifications

Each Xcel division has certain rules that differentiate it from the USAG Development Program. Here are the clarifications for Xcel Gold bars.

No cast angle deductions

No deductions will be taken for the angle, or amplitude, of any cast in any Xcel bar routine. Execution deductions apply, of course, but angle deductions do not.

The angle of the cast is still important in order to determine whether the cast receives Special Requirement and Value Part credit. The judges will evaluate casts and circling skills based on the angle from the shoulders to the lowest body part. For example, if the gymnast is arched, her cast is evaluated based on the angle from the shoulders to the belly.

No extra swing deductions

There will be no deductions taken for extra swings in Xcel Gold. This applies to extra casts or extra tap swings. An Xcel Silver gymnast can “pump” her legs, or perform small casts between skills, as much as she likes without getting a 0.30 extra swing deduction. These extra casts can still receive rhythm and execution deductions, but they won’t get an extra swing deduction. She can also perform unlimited tap swings on the high bar, but only two will get A Value Part credit.

Horizontal Requirement

At Xcel Gold, unlike Bronze and Silver, there is no specific casting requirement. The gymnast does not need to perform a cast to a certain degree. She does need to perform one SKILL, though, which reaches at least horizontal. That skill could be a cast, or it could be a circling skill that finishes in clear support. Examples of clear circling skills are clear hip circles and stalders. Be sure that the clear hip or stalder does not reach within 20° of handstand, because then it becomes a C, which is restricted at Gold.

If you choose to use a cast to meet the horizontal requirement, be advised that if the gymnast falls short of horizontal, she will need 6 other skills in her routine. Special Requirement #1 requires 6 A skills, and a cast below horizontal has no value. It is very common to see a gymnast perform a routine with 6 skills, one of which is a cast below horizontal. In that case, she loses TWO Special Requirements: the cast requirement and the 6 skill requirement. To be safe, put in an extra tap swing or glide if the cast is questionable.

Side Note: Gold gymnasts need to dismount from the high bar. Some gyms like for gymnasts to wear grips once they start swinging on the high bar. If you’re looking for a pair of grips, here is a guide to choosing grips for your gymnast.

Xcel Gold Beam

xcel gold beam leap uneven

Special Requirements

Just like bars, an Xcel Gold beam routine has 4 Special Requirements. The requirements must be fulfilled by skills from the Xcel Code of Points, or by skills from the Xcel Gold chart. The gymnast may perform any A or B skills from the Xcel Code or the Gold chart.

The Special Requirements for Xcel Gold are:

  1. Minimum 1/1 turn on 1 foot
  2. Two different Group 2 skills, or leaps/jumps from Gold chart: 1 with min. 120° split (isolated or in series)
  3. Two acro elements, with or without flight (isolated or in series): 1 must achieve or pass through vertical
  4. Dismount

Difficulty Restrictions

Here are the difficulty restrictions for an Xcel Gold beam routine:

  • No C or higher skills

Clarifications

Here are a few clarifications for Xcel Gold beam.

First, all handstands are considered the same skill, regardless of the angle achieved. No hold is required to get credit for the handstand. The handstand must reach vertical from the shoulders to the hips to get credit for a vertical skill.

Next, all acro skills must start and finish on the beam to receive credit.

There is no minimum time for a Gold beam routine. There is no undertime deduction.

The split leap/jump angle requirement is 120° for Xcel Gold beam routines. Credit is given for leaps/jumps that are within 20° of the division’s required split angle. This means that for Gold leaps/jumps, they will receive credit if the split angle is 100° or higher.  

All mounts are considered A’s unless they have a higher value in the Xcel Code of Points.

Xcel Gold Floor

xcel gold gymnast doing back walkover on level 2 floor

Special Requirements

An Xcel Gold floor routine also has 4 Special Requirements. The requirements must be fulfilled by A or B skills from the Xcel Code of Points, or by skills from the Xcel Gold chart.

Here are the Special Requirements for Xcel Gold Floor:

  1. 1st acro pass: 2 directly connected acro flight skills
  2. 2nd acro pass: Either
    (a) 2nd pass with 2 directly connected acro flight skills OR
    (b) One aerial or salto
  3. Dance passage: 2 Group 1 elements, directly or indirectly connected, one of which is a leap with minimum 120° split
  4. Minimum 1/1 turn on 1 foot

Difficulty Restrictions

  • No B saltos
  • No C or higher VP

Clarifications

All acro flight elements will receive credit, no matter how many times that element is performed, as long as the series is different. This is consistent through all of the Xcel divisions.

RO, BHS and RO, BHS, BHS are considered two different series and will count for Special Requirement credit.

A dive roll is not considered a flight element.

The split leap/jump angle requirement is 120° for Xcel Gold floor routines. Credit is given for leaps/jumps that are within 20° of the division’s required split angle. This means that for Gold leaps/jumps, they will receive credit if the split angle is 100° or higher. 

There is no minimum time for Xcel floor routines. There is no undertime deduction.

Final Thoughts

This is a general overview of the requirements for the Xcel Gold division. For more detailed information on each event, check out the articles below:

Xcel Vault: What You Need to Know

Xcel Bars: Bronze, Silver and Gold

Xcel Bars: Platinum and Diamond

Xcel Beam: How to Score Big

Xcel Floor: How to Score Big

Xcel Bronze Gymnastics Requirements

Xcel Silver Gymnastics Requirements

References

USA Gymnastics Xcel Code of Points, 2018-2022.