How does that work? Gymnastics scoring explained

Japan 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — If you’ve wondered where the perfect 10 has gone in gymnastics, you’re not alone.

In 2006, scoring completely changed going towards more of a figure-skating style with two separate scores added together for the final number. Now, you see things like 14.6 or 15.2 popping up after routines and it can be confusing. The thing is, the perfect 10 is still there, it’s just hidden.

Let’s break it down: the two scores that get added together are the difficulty score and the execution score.
The difficulty score covers requirements: skills or combinations a gymnast must have in their routine. If a gymnast hits meets all of those, their difficulty score starts at a 2.5. Then, through challenging skills or combinations, the gymnasts can get a bonus that is added to that 2.5 or base score.

The execution score is where the 10.0 is hidden. All execution scores start at that 10.0 and then the deductions begin for mistakes, such as form breaks, wobbles, or falling off an event.

And unlike before, a judge isn’t responsible for monitoring requirements, bonus tenths and deductions. There is one group of judges compiling the difficulty score and another doing the execution. Once each group has their score they are added together and that is what the gymnast receives for that routine.

This scoring system really helps someone like Simone Biles. Before, everyone had to build to their 10.0 start value, but that was as high as you could get, and basically, everyone started at the same number. There was no benefit to doing excessive combinations or difficult skills and risking more deductions or falling.

This newer system encourages difficulty because it has it’s own point system and it keeps going up and up as the gymnast piles on the skills.

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