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2017-2020 Code of Points: A Deep Dive

The 2016 Olympics are officially behind us. I know that because I’ve already reached the point where it took me a second to remember who won men’s floor. I want to say…Herb?

Rio is old news. Our shiny new toy is the next quadrennium in all its inevitably grotesque horrors (and also beauty?). The first step in preparing for a new quad is pretending like you’re actually going to remember what all the code changes are, even though you will absolutely think the Amanar is still a 6.3 for at least 3 more years. Like a loser.

Thankfully, the 2017-2020 code has already been bestowed upon us (a couple times). The latest version will be considered up to date until such time as Her Nellieship decides that it’s garbage again.

With our new holy book in hand, let’s review the major and minor changes worth caring about and decide exactly how probably terrible they’re all going to be.


Item #1: WE ARE THE FINAL FOUR (composition requirements)

As with the Olympic teams in the 2020 quadrennium, five becomes four in the realm of composition requirements as well. Our trusted 5 CRs have been reduced to four, lowering the total composition requirement from 2.50 to 2.00.

Obviously, you say, they finally got rid of that worthless, hideous, and frankly disturbing passage-of-dance-elements requirement on floor!

Ah ha ha. Heavens no. That would make too much sense. Rigor mortis running must be protected at all costs!

Instead, the requirement for a D-level dismount has been removed for bars, beam, and floor.

Verdict: Perfectly acceptable. Ideally, it will encourage greater dismount variety (particularly on bars, where it is much needed) as there will be no real punishment for competing a C dismount other than its being worth a tenth less than a D. No double-jeopardy CR punishment as well.

This change is mostly for the benefit of the lower-level elites (and Romanian bars), allowing them to remain slightly more competitive with simpler dismounts. It will have no immediate effect on the routines of the top gymnasts, other than forcing everyone to get accustomed to D scores that are 0.5 lower.

Next quad, a D score in the high 5s will be good again, and any D score in the 6s will be top-of-the-line.

The following language has also been removed from the code’s discussion of difficulty scores, likely because it’s just blabbering nonsense with no meaning or influence whatsoever (aka 92% of the code of points):

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That actually means less than nothing.

Item #2: So…a meter is a lot

I haven’t seen this part discussed as much, but the old “shoulder-width” deduction language for determining what constitutes a 0.3 step…

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…has been replaced by “1 meter.”

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That’s a big difference. Landing deductions will get much softer in the new quad, with many more landings qualifying for 0.1 and only the largest bounces receiving a 0.3 deduction.

I’m not happy about this. Landing deductions should be significant and their influence over the score should be heightened, not lessened.

The only positive here is the more exact specification that “1 meter” provides. It’s a finite distance, as opposed to “shoulder-width,” which is inexact and arbitrary.

Item #3: It’s pumpkin time, Spinderella

The women’s technical committee has noticed your spinning trend, and they have put a wall in your face.

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No quintuple spins for you, Lieke!

And for the rest of you, no quadruple wolf turns or 1.5 twisting Ferraris. Don’t even think about it. And I know you were, YOU MONSTERS.

I’m in favor this cap. Let’s stem the tide of overreliance on turns for massive difficulty and, especially, of split leaps where you just try to wrench around as many Raggedy-Ann twists as possible before hitting the ground.

Sure, this turn restriction may be a little Dutch-racist, but the WTC was cognizant of that and added this concession to make up for it:

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I could definitely see the Dutch/Mustafinistas taking advantage of this. Directly connecting the “same” D-level turn for double difficulty and connection value? SO ON IT.

With regard to evaluating turns on floor, note that this language has suddenly disappeared:

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Item #4: Vault

  • Vault values

In an effort to remain consistent with the 0.5 decrease in D scores on the other events, the D scores on vault have been lowered (almost, kind of) accordingly.

Here are the new values of the major vaults:
Handspring rudi – 5.8 (from 6.2)
Produnova – 6.4 (from 7.0)
Tsuk full – 4.8 (from 5.2)
Tsuk 1.5 – 5.2 (from 5.5)
Tsuk 2/1 – 5.6 (from 6.0)
Tsuk 2.5 – 6.0 (from 6.5)
Yurchenko full – 4.6 (from 5.0)
Yurchenko 1.5 – 5.0 (from 5.3)
Yurchenko 2/1 – 5.4 (from 5.8)
Yurchenko 2.5 – 5.8 (from 6.3)
Yurchenko 1/2 on, layout 1/2 – 5.2 (from 5.6)
Yurchenko 1/2 on, layout full – 5.6 (from 6.0)
Yurchenko 1/2 on, layout 1.5 – 6.0 (from 6.4)

These adjustments are the usual amount of wonky for the Women’s Technical Committee, with some vaults decreasing 0.3, others 0.4, others 0.5. Normally, I would be incensed by this inconsistency, but the decreases are uneven because the vault values were stupid and erratic to begin with and had to be fixed to make them uniform.

In the new code, the WTC has finally established regular 0.4 increments for adding half-twists to vaults across the various families. Phew. No one has to ask what a TTY will be valued (6.2), or what a 1/2 on, layout 2/1 would be worth (6.4). We know already because the difficulty increases are consistent, regimented, and predictable.

The largest decrease in value goes to the Produnova at 0.6, a blatant attempt to discourage people from performing it (or making finals after falling on it) that I think we can all get behind.

The only real problem here is that by decreasing vault D scores the same amount as the D scores on the other events (if even that in several cases) the WTC has done nothing to address vault scores being so much higher than scores on the other events. They’ll remain so—and vault will remain the most important event to be good at as a result—until something is done about execution scores, which consistently verge on being a point higher than those on beam and floor.

  • The Karmakar downgrade

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  • The Skinner deduction

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Such an honor for these two gymnasts to be subtweeted in the Code of Points. Few receive such recognition.

I will miss Butt-a-Prods exactly none.

Item #5: Uneven bars

  • The “don’t be a clear-hip whore” rule

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The 2020 code is cracking down on the overuse of a single family of bars elements. For those who don’t speak scribbly, example 1 describes a clear hip shoot to high bar, clear hip full, Hindorff, clear hip tuck full dismount. The fourth (not necessarily connected or consecutive) backward clear-hip skill would not receive credit. Same with stalder, toe-on, and piked stalder skills. Gymnasts must vary their non-giant entries.

I have no problem with this. It keeps routines from becoming intolerably repetitive. My original comment was that it wouldn’t affect too many gymnasts, but (and thanks to Michael in the comments for pointing this out) there are gymnasts like Hernandez who will have to change their compositions not to rely on stalder entries quite so much. They can’t count more than three backward stalder elements in the ENTIRE routine, not just in a row.

The weirdest thing about bars in the new code is that the CV permutations haven’t changed this time. IT’S A MIRACLE.

  • The “connect yo shaps” rule

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OUCH. The deduction for empty swing is 0.5. This is going to get fugly, isn’t it? OH GOODY.

  • Skill values

The most significant and applicable changes to our lives come to the values of jaegers and giengers.

The piked jaeger is now an E, while the straddled jaeger remains a D. Expect LOTS of piked jaegers next quad. LOTS. If you haven’t already learned one, you’re too late. Just quit. Accordingly, the layout jaeger is also up to F from E. This should encourage more variety in jaegers, which is a positive, though the idea that a mo salto is now worth only one tenth more than a layout jaeger…

The layout gienger is also now an E, differentiating it from the piked version, which is still a D. Showing a layout shape in a gienger is way harder and should be rewarded, but ugh, now we have to bother to try to tell the difference between layout and piked giengers. That’s a pain because all attempts at a layout gienger are at least somewhat piked, even Nastia’s…

Continuing the trend of things being too late for Nastia, the double front 1/2-out dismount is now an E. The piked version is up to an F. I always thought it strange that the 1/2-out had the same value as the double front.

In “like anyone would even do it” news, the round-off arabian over the low bar to catch the high bar mount (!!!!!) is now F instead of E, and the piked version is G instead of E. The number of people performing it remains constant at zero.

Also, in the realm of transition shoots, counter-movement from low bar to high bar is being differentiated from hecht flight now with different values.

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Did you know that a Church and a toe-on shap 1/2 used to be the same number in the code? I didn’t. And also…why? Anyway, that has been fixed.

Item #6: Balance beam

  • The “you can’t just do a whole routine of turns, Sanne” rule

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Departing from the “maximum 5 acro, minimum 3 dance” vocabulary of the past, the WTC has introduced a minimum acro-skill requirement on both beam and floor in an effort to protect against routines becoming constructed entirely of dance elements.

Correct. There must be a balance, and a truly impressive routine displays skill in both categories. In particular, floor routines without sufficient tumbling are anemic and uninteresting, regardless of how delightful the performance quality may be.

  • The “connecting into a Patterson seems hard” rule

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Connection bonus for two-element dismount combinations (e.g., round off + Patterson) has returned, provided the dismount is an F.

This essentially means that an F dismount is worth three tenths more than an E dismount now, one tenth for the skill value and two tenths for the connection. Anyone even remotely capable of upgrading from a double pike will be doing so immediately.

I don’t really have an opinion on this one either way.

The exception allowing for 0.1 CV for non-rebounding forward C+D connections is also gone. Down with non-rebounding forever!

  • The “everyone please do a switch 1/2 + back pike” rule

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The 0.1 series bonus introduced last quad has now been expanded to include dance elements as well.

In theory, this is a good idea. Why should connection be limited to skills of the same style? Connecting dance to acro allows for all the skill types to be integrated together in less-repetitive combinations of skills.

In practice, however, it will be a catastrophe. We all know what’s coming. It has already started. We’ll be completely overrun by even more wild and horrendous attempts at three-skill acro+dance combinations that gymnasts will try to pass off as series. The pausing. OH DEAR GOD THE PAUSING. Walkover+switch+back pike. Onodi+switch 1/2+sheep. Side aerial+life support+switch 1/2.

  • The “goodbye punch front + wolf jump” rule

To make sure combinations like switch+back tuck aren’t over-rewarded, however, the individual CV for C+C(mixed) combinations is gone. Now, either both skills must be dance or one skill must be a D.

The D salto + A dance experiment has also been abandoned.

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I’m more than OK with that. All those A dance elements weren’t adding anything to the routines.

  • The “would you be interested in some more vague and nonspecific artistry requirements that are impossible to apply?” rule

Great! You’re in luck!

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  • Skill values

The split leap 1/1 is now an E instead of a D. Hooray for more people trying to wrench those around and landing 1/4 turn short! The switch side 1/2 is also up to an E.

Meanwhile, the sheep jump is decreasing from D to C. That’s a weird one. It didn’t get any easier in the last year, so presumably this is an attempt to encourage more variety because the WTC feels it’s performed too often. Eh. Sure, I hate sheep jumps, but it wouldn’t have been high on my list of changes.

To pair with the downgrade, the guidelines for evaluating sheep jumps have been softened, with more errors being classified as 0.1 deductions rather than automatic no-credit.

The WTC is DONE with your gainer layouts. The regular gainer layout dismount is down to a C and the full twist is down to a D. The double twist from Jurkowska-Kowalska had a prospective G, so presumably that would be down to an F as well.

In “something is better than nothing” news, the 2.5 wolf turn is now a D, along with the double. The turn must be a triple to receive E value. I’m all for downgrading wolf turns, but won’t this just encourage more people to attempt the triple?

Many, many twisting jump variations have also increased a tenth, with split, straddle, straight, tuck, cat, and pike jumps all trying to rise above their station. Did we really need more of this? Does a tuck jump full really need to be a C?

The Worley (falling on a jump mount to high bar Onodi to two feet) is now an E, up from D. I’ve always wondered why we don’t see that skill more. Maybe this will encourage it.

As for other changes, the half twist to back tuck has been raised to F, the true ballet-y tour jete—as differentiated from the split 1/2—is now a D (the split 1/2 remains a C), and a number of rolls have been upgraded from B to C.

One-tenth increases in mount values are all the rage. The triple flare is now D (though the WTC still hasn’t learned that spelling it “flair” makes exactly zero sense for people who know what words mean). Many difficult acro mounts are being better rewarded for their difficulty, and several of the easier mounts have also increased by a letter in a desperate attempt to try to encourage more variety and less terribleness. In response, everyone went, “That’s nice, dear. [Squat sit].”

Item #7: Floor exercise

  • The “we’re still making you use a CD?” rule

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Hand your LP to Nellie Kim…

I also really enjoy the instructions on how to best communicate with the technical committee.

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Electronic mail. Facsimile.

What year is it?

  • The “no more orphan aerials for you” rule

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Yeah. Get your random trash aerial off my lawn!

The CR for the forward salto now requires it to occur in an actual acro line and not be an aerial. A+.

  • That’s not a leap

Thankfully, this language—added in the 2014 code update—has been removed:

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That was BS to begin with, so I’m glad it’s gone.

  • But we also feel bad for China

Even though it’s the exact same idea, just with acro instead of dance, this stipulation for under-rotated saltos remains in the code:

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China is like, “PHEW! More 2.75+front tucks for EVERYONE!”

  • The “OK, fine, the stork stands weren’t awesome” rule

Praise be! The language about not standing on two feet more than once in preparation for a tumbling pass is gone:

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It has been softened to this:

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That’s very nonspecific, which is a pet peeve of mine, but I’ll definitely take it in this case if it means we’re not being quite as strict about how people stand before their tumbling passes because WHO CARES?

  • Skill values

Fewer changes were made to the values on floor, though one thing that did stand out is switch leaps and switch sides being the same number in the code now, meaning you can’t do a switch 1/2 and a switch side 1/2 in the same routine and get credit for both. Why? Not really seeing that one. It’s the same for splits and straddles. Can’t do a split 1/2 and a straddle 1/2 in the same routine.

Also, nothing was done about the floor wolf turns. Just…

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In tumbling, the layout double arabian is now a H, up from a G. Just in case anyone was thinking about doing it. Which they weren’t.

Item #8: Element names

OMG Nellie Kim hasn’t retroactively named any new elements after herself! WHAT IS THIS LIFE?

But still, no one has ever fixed the spelling of “Chelsia Memmel.” Aww, that’s our WTC.

Item #9: Various random nonsense

  • This extremely helpful glossary

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“Expressiveness: Serving to express. Boom. Nailed it. Next.”

  • Grip-break do-over

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This isn’t a change; I just adore COP nonsense like this.

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Also, they can’t even bother to spell Chellsie Memmel correctly, but they sure have a lot of very specific guidelines about how your butt should look. You know, the important stuff.

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Imagine a judge out there with a ruler measuring distance below the base of the buttocks.

  • The “Take Your Time, You Massive Disappointment” Rule

Previously, if a bars routine didn’t resume 30 seconds after a fall, the routine was considered finished. The same with beam, but after 10 seconds. Now, not resuming in time is a 0.3 deduction instead of DISQUALIFIED. So charitable.

The routine is considered terminated only if it does not resume 60 seconds after a fall.

  • And…my favorite part of the COP

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59 thoughts on “2017-2020 Code of Points: A Deep Dive”

  1. Can you blame Karmakar for doing the Prod? She doesn’t have the same resources as everyone else, that was the only way she could keep up


    1. Inequity is a serious issue in gymnastics (as in sport in general). But it can *never* justify doing ugly – and, more importantly, dangerous – maneuvers. In fact, nothing can justify that, because, at the end of the day, it is still just a sport, not (theoretically) life or death. Though she was obviously fully within her rights to try the move, she should not have been rewarded for doing it the way she was doing it.

      And I would have hoped that she realized that, in fact, the risk of harm was probably not worth the reward – no matter how much acclaim or even money she gets from trying it. At the end of the day, she is lucky she has not been hurt (although she is doing it better a lot better in competition now than she used to).


      1. True. She did bring a ton of attention to gymnastics in India (including money) so hopefully she doesn’t have to use such dangerous moves moving forward


  2. So you can still kip out of a shap half? That rule claims only to apply to shaps and shap fulls. Which, why does the WTC hate Seitz so much?? First they only value her skill an E and then they make it even more utterly pointless to try it by not letting you kip out of it? What did she ever do to them?


    1. I HATE that transitions are capped at E! Haaaaaate. And yeah I didn’t realise about the Shap halves – seems a little less impossible now!


    2. I’m irritated about this rule because it’s only going to encourage more three-transitions-in-a-row combinations, which is something we need LESS of, and sloppy shap halves to get around the rule. Ebee Price and Becky Downie need to give a masterclass in how to do an uprise out of a shap to connect it to a skill on the high bar.


    1. Oh yes.
      Her most recent updates in the 2013-2016 code were to go back and name the handspring on, 1.5 off vault and the stretched-piked double back (which isn’t even in the code anymore) after herself. They were not previously named in the code.


      1. “Next item on the agenda, the following 18 un-named skills were all performed by me first. I don’t have any video but here are affidavits from 30 former FIG/Politburo members confirming my claims to be true.”

        “Mrs. Kim, all these people are long since dead…”

        “Yes, yes they are…(stares around room)…any objections?”


    1. I’m gonna guess this is your typical extremely-poorly-translated FIG way of saying that the CD should not skip and the music should not have missing spots or rough transitions or any other errors in its production that create a disruption to the performance. They really should have a native speaker review the Code and clarify these really abstruse instructions before it goes to print. (eg. what the heck constitutes “elegant design” in a leotard?)


      1. I completely agree with this. The British women have plenty of difficulty. It’s their execution that needs work–a lot of work.


  3. >>In “like anyone would even do it” news, the round-off arabian over the low bar to catch the high bar mount (!!!!!) is now F instead of E, and the piked version is G instead of E. The number of people performing it remains constant at zero.

    Well, not since Oleysia Dudnik.


  4. Vault: I don’t agree with having consistent 0.4 increases for adding another half-turn, because it’s not truly reflective of the difficulty of upgrading. Going from an FTY to 1.5TY should be significantly easier than DTY to Amanar, and theoretical Amanar to TTY is even more difficult than that. This quad had way fewer new Amanars than last quad (3 USA, 1 Russia, 1 Brazil). Two of those were short-lived and completely gone after injury, 1 was only introduced this year and did not compete at the Olympics, and the last one was regained near the very end of the quad and rarely competed because of injury. They should not keep deducting D-value as it’s already had quite an impact on the number of gymnasts willing to compete the vault.

    UB: They seem to target families with significant variety of elements (Shap and Tkachev). Why? Also, what are the options that are allowed out of a Sharp transition that won’t get deducted. I expect bars composition to get slightly more homogenized.

    BB: These rules don’t seem to address the problems from this quad in any significant way. Why is the Sheep devalued? Don’t agree with the 2.5 Wolf devaluation either, and for all intents and purposes it’s dead now (and they weren’t even responsible for the really bad ones). I get the disregard for dance (spin) elements on floor because they don’t look as difficult, but why on beam? Obviously targeting Sanne with maximum number of spins, but is the variety Sanne brings to EG really a problem for beam in general? It is nowhere near the numerous things that went wrong on beam this quad. The problem with more restrictive composition rules is that more routines are going to look the same, and is that something we need?

    Floor: See above. Targeting Lieke and Eythora, why? Lieke didn’t bring the most difficulty to the EF, had absolutely no chance of medalling, but at least she gave the audience a memorable performance. When the worst routine in a final comes from a good routine by Wevers, that is a clear indication dance elements are not causing “more deserving” tumble-centric routines to lose out on medals. Dance-centric routines already have to deal with the maximum difficulty cap, this rule is completely unnecessary. FIG, for the love of all that is good, get rid of the dance passage requirement. It’s just a 5th tumbling pass in disguise, kills the momentum of a routine, inhibits longer choreography sessions, most look the same with only variations in leaps, and they take the same amount of time or more than a regular tumbling pass. I wonder how Simone handles the no aerials rule, would she take the Chusovitina, Biles, or Silivas out of her routine. She’s already kind of tired by the end, so the full-in is not really an option unless she replaces it with her ancient 2.5twist+layout front pass.


    1. VT: I agree with you. No idea why the FIG seems to have a hateboner for the Amanar specifically, but all the higher value vaults (2.5+TY and 2+Teverything else) probably deserve a .5 differentiation from the next highest vault in the progression, not .4. Also, I don’t know why they added the crumpled landing deduction for the Prod AND (relative to the other high value vaults) devalued it again. The first one should have sufficed on its own. They had an opportunity to actually fix vault EF scoring last time around with the additive rather than average deductions, but they chickened out and will probably never revisit the issue.

      UB: You can now
      – do a shap/full and swing forward into a downward transition such as pak or bail (already common in Russian style routines, my least favorite bars trend of the past quad or so, THIS should be the one getting the empty swing deduction)
      – do a shap/full and then swing forward into a giant (really hard to do without driving the shap/backswing so hard you risk peeling on the catch, but some gymnasts do pull it off)
      – do a shap/full and perform an uprise on the backswing into some kind of clear hip skill (this is what Ebee and Becky Downie do, but I imagine it remains fairly rare and most gymnasts take route #1 or #4)
      – do a shap half, kip, proceed.

      Beam and floor: The new 3 acro rule won’t really affect things as much as it seems like it would. Wevers already had 3 counting acro in her routine, and the two-pass floors can remain provided one of the runs is a combination pass. The second pass doesn’t even have to be D level now! Speaking of which, a big thing Spencer didn’t really call attention to is that the dismount is now automatically one of your 8 counting elements no matter how low the value. So that should keep the pressure on for any competitive gymnasts to keep doing D+. I’m not opposed to this in principle, but I do wish they had found some other CR to add in its place so the best AA scores stayed at a nice round 60 and 90 instead of… 58 and 87 lol what is this. I do think it’s a nasty move by the FIG to, instead of lifting the E cap and letting the best dancers keep innovating, declare anything harder than the current E dance is just off limits. I may be alone in this view, but for me that ranks right up there with valuing a one arm giant as a B on the scale of FIG Dick Moves. (Which they still haven’t fixed. Even though it’s been 20 years and the stuff women now do on bars is way more dangerous. Ugh.)


      1. Yeah, the D-drop in the Produnova + downgrading the skill to a single front was way overdone, the second one was sufficient on its own as long as it’s enforced. Thank you for your helpful guide on the ways to get out of the Shap without an empty swing; Pak Santos for everyone (insert Oprah gif here). The two tumbling passes routines will still be affected by the no aerial tumbling, and will probably have to rely on at least a punch front in one of the two passes. And personally, I think the 0.5 removal from the dismount CR is completely pointless since you have to count the dismount anyway, hence it’s a composition requirement in all but name (just lower the requirement to a C, boom, done). Conspiracy theory, I think it’s a ruse to cram in more requirements after Tokyo while only having “5” official CR. Before fixing the Liu Xuan giant (still debating pros and cons), I would prefer they fix the Mo first. Yao had to remove the element because even when she did it just as well as Mo herself, she accrued an empty swing deduction at the end, making it less useful than your normal garden-variety Tkachev. It’s little wonder her scores rebounded and she became a World Champion on bars the next year after tossing the skill aside. I agree with lifting the E-level cap on spins/leaps because it’s not like you can build a routine full of F/G level dance skills while ditching the hard tumbling and still be a medal contender; nowadays you need both anyways (see Miyakawa for a more tumble-centric example).


  5. What influence do successful teams and gymnasts from the past quad have on the next quad’s CoP? For example: what role does the Americans’ success on vault influence the reduction in vault start values? Similarly – was the committee unhappy that 1) Lieke won beam and 2) she won it with a nontraditional routine, so they imposed changes to make sure that won’t happen again? I’m sure you can make any argument in favor of making things better for the sport, but I wonder how many rules are secretly attached to one gymnast or one country to even things out.


    1. This draft of the COP (and all the proposed changes it contains) is from before the Olympics. So the 3 acro wasn’t a shot at SANNE’S Rio gold in particular, but at the composition trend the Dutch team has led in general. And yes, if the FIG sees a large number of gymnasts exploiting a feature of the Code to their advantage, they will often put ridiculous restrictions on it or devalue it in the next cycle to make sure everyone does gymnastics The Way They Think Is Right. Some skills and combos that have previously fallen victim to this include connected tumbling passes like in the 92 and 96 quads, Yurchenko loops on beam, Shushunova jumps and 1 1/4 saltos, pirouette connections on bars, and the direction-changing acro connections so ubiquitous on beam last quad.


  6. The biggest issue I have with this code is the forced connection bonuses for bars and beam.

    On bars, the Shap skills that end facing the low bar are now forced to immediately do something out of them. With the exception of a pirouette without minimum half turn, or a very rare C-difficulty transition to the low bar, gymnasts are pretty much forced to get a bonus or get deducted.

    On beam, any backward tumbling dismount of F or higher automatically gets bonus. Besides the double front (which should be a G), it’s impossible not to get a bonus. You’d have to walk to the end of the beam, turn around, and throw a standing triple twist, double Arabian, or full twisting double to miss out on the bonus… insanity. That’s effectively the same as making a triple twist dismount an H and the double Arabian and full twisting double an I which is so far out of line it’s crazy.

    In my opinion, there needs to be risk and extra difficulty involved to get a bonus. Gymnasts shouldn’t automatically get bonuses or be punished for NOT getting bonuses.

    On a separate note, I do wish the Code would factor in the relative rarity of the skill when determining its difficulty value. There are countless skills that won’t ever be done because they’re not worth enough in the code. I am holding out hope that we will see some more C-difficulty dismounts on bars and beam. Who wouldn’t love to see some toe-on and twisting dismounts from bars and some beautifully landed double twist and front 1.5 dismounts from beam?


    1. “You’d have to walk to the end of the beam, turn around, and throw a standing triple twist, double Arabian, or full twisting double to miss out on the bonus… insanity.”

      Simone could do it. Lol.


    2. I advocate the “rarity bonus”, adding 0.1 to the overall D-score for performing a rare skill (so connection values don’t get screwed up by changing skill values). The “rarity bonus” should apply to all skills D+ that were not performed at the last Worlds (or like 1%, some low threshold). This would add diversity to routines since the skills earning this bonus have to be constantly changing. I would limit it to 2 skills max per routine to avoid exploiting it and to make sure there’s enough new skills to try next year (not likely). Also, FIG is probably too lazy to come up with a list of compatible skills every year.


  7. Bookmarking this post since it’s very helpful!

    I predict we will see a lot more people chucking triple twists or tucked full-ins off beam, whether they can do the skill passably well or not. That level of bonus is insane. Also not sure how I feel about most of the difficulty changes for dance skills on beam (besides the 2.5 downgrade). I think we might see more difficult mounts, but not from the top rung of programs.

    For bars I continue to be confused why transitions are still capped at an E. That rule is one of the stupidest things in the code. I do think the jaegar upgrades and Nastia-friendly upgrades make sense.

    I’m happy with most of the changes on floor, especially that they’re getting rid of the incomplete leap and aerial loopholes. Although I’d downgrade the double double to a G. If Rio floor finals were any indication top floor routines are getting a bit same-y, and it would be nice if gymnasts had more freedom to build difficulty through stuff like combo passes rather than just throw 4 double back variations. But getting rid of the aerials is a start.

    On vault I like that the rudi and the amanar are now finally worth the same. I don’t really mind that they’re making vault specialists think twice about doing the prod, that’s been needed for years.


  8. Not that this will be relevant, but the whip-full on floor is now a C so It’d be awesome to see somethings like Whip-full through toE/D acros for connection bonus. A la Bontas


  9. Sanne gets a lot of flack, so I’d like to point out that Sanne counts 5 acro skills, including an E mount. I think her routine, while highlighting spins, is certainly balanced enough.


  10. I believe If you do a simple 1/2 turn while hanging after your D level Shap, you can then kip out of it without the empty swing deduction. It could look quite nice if you did a reverse grip, straddled kip, press to hs. I’m not using the right terminology, but hopefully you get the picture. Tatiana Lysenko did a full turn from a hang after her Shap, so it’s not unprecedented. This new requirement is still going to give the US girls fits, imo. We’ll see Shap – Pak, some kind of close bar skill with 1/2 turn or kch-1/2, then a Ray or hecht to high bar, or Shap-Bail1/2 – hecht to high. Boring!

    And yes, Sanne used a lot of her turns for CV not difficulty value, which is an incredibly risky way to get a high SV.


      1. Didn’t Nellie used to compete something similar on the low bar herself back in the day? I might be wrong on that one though. Not sure what the move is called, some gymnasts would do a single or double twist on the low bar (similar to Lysenko on the high bar above). Szabo, Omelianchik a couple of examples off the top of my head who had competed a move like that one.
        I’d love to see something like that return. What a neat element! And changes it up from stalder/inbars to shaposh combinations.


    1. I think every American gymnast will try to learn the Van Leuwen for next quad to get around the kipping deduction. We might even see multiple Pak Saltos to the low bar for connection value and to escape the deduction after a Shap.


  11. Love your work. Absolutely hilarious writing.

    Just a quick technical comment: the fact that vault is higher-scored than other apparatus doesn’t mean it’s more important apparatus to be good at it, because everyone is equally overscored. So if a good vault is approaching 16, which doesn’t happen that often in other apparatus, an easy vault like a yurchenko full can get in the 14.2/14.3 region. Easy routines on other apparatus will reach that kind of score as often.

    The only negative effect of overscoring vault is making the audience confused about what a good score is.


  12. I’m curious about the new UB rule. Specifically the “don’t be a clear-hip whore” rule (love that title, btw!). It seems like many top bar workers will have to reconstruct their routines. Laurie used 5 straddle stalder skills at trials and Scheder used 5 inbar skills at Rio test event, to name two. I feel like I remember a couple Russian women using at least 4 inbar skills in one routine as well. I’m all for this, but I think more people will have to alter their routine construction than you alluded to.

    Also, thank you so much for your writing. You’re truly gifted and make me laugh with every post!


      1. Agreed. I believe it is a change that will actually increase diversity in skills while not asking people to do skills that just aren’t safe for them. Rare to say so… but the code got this one right.

        Now, about the bonus for F beam dismounts…

        ::flips hair::


  13. Can a punch-front out of a backwards skill be counted as front tumbling? If so, will the punch-front out of a double pike/tuck be the new stag leap in 2017-2020 code?


    1. Yes and yes. If you look at the Chinese floor routines, they don’t really do Arabian skills or front twisting. They take care of their forward tumbling requirement through a front somersault (tuck/pike/layout) at the end of backwards tumbling pass (3-3.5 twist). I think not only will the new code encourage the Chinese to continue that trend, but other gymnasts are probably going to start adding punch fronts even if they don’t count for connection value. The double tuck is probably the safest skill to add it.


      1. Very Milosovici ’92 fx, first tumbling run where she did a full in tucked punch out. Or Atler around ’98(?) layout punch double stag leap, it was superb.

        Really enjoyed this article, thank you. And all the comments!


      2. After reliving the trauma of Spencer’s 2000 Olympic Trials recap, I also noticed that Kristen Maloney did a running front tuck into roundoff back handspring and triple twist. Presumably the front tuck can also be incorporated in this fashion with relative ease and avoid problems with rebounding after a major tumbling pass.


  14. my biggest question is how simone is going to fulfill that front tumbling requirement. maybe she’ll change her last pass to a double arabian?


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