Category Archives: Journey to the center of the code

Olympic Trials Routine Guides

I’ve put together routine guides with intended D-scores for each of the competitors at Olympic Trials, for whatever use you might see fit.

Simone BilesEmily Lee
Skye BlakelySunisa Lee
Jade CareyEmma Malabuyo
Jordan ChilesGrace McCallum
Kayla DiCelloRiley McCusker
Amari DraytonZoe Miller
Kara EakerAva Siegfeldt
Addison FattaMyKayla Skinner
Shilese JonesLeanne Wong

Why Does the Code Hate Nastia So Much?

Interested in a pointless exercise? SAMESIES! Hey, what else are we going to do?

I decided to take the US 2008 Olympic team and calculate their D-scores as if they were competing now—under the 2020 code—to see how things might change.

And they sort of do!

(Save all comments about comparing a 10-skill code to an 8-skill code and composition choices and all that. No one is pretending this is real or means anything.)

Here’s what the D-Score hierarchy would be for that team under the 2020 code.

Shawn Johnson5.
Nastia Liukin5.
Chellsie Memmel5.
Sam Peszek5.
Bridget Sloan5.
Alicia Sacramone5.85.75.416.9
Routines from 2008 Olympic Trials

Compared to the actual actual D-Scores (A-Scores) awarded at the time.

Shawn Johnson6.
Nastia Liukin5.
Chellsie Memmel5.
Sam Peszek
Bridget Sloan5.
Alicia Sacramone6.
D-Scores from 2008 Olympic Trials, best of 2 days
Continue reading Why Does the Code Hate Nastia So Much?

I Don’t Like Sheep – The Downgraded Elements

Taking a break from the fraught system of naming elements (for a second…), today let’s dive into elements that have been downgraded in value over the last couple quads. Was there a reason? Or did they just not come to Nellie’s birthday party?

(I’m not including vaults here because they’ve all been downgraded in value.)

Sheep jump

Value change: D to C
Date: 2017

The recent downgrade of the sheep jump on beam seems to be an instance of the Women’s Technical Committee exercising the “it v ugly” clause. Because it’s v ugly, and there doesn’t really seem to be any other justification (like a difficulty-based justification) for this downgrade.

Doing a proper sheep jump on beam, one that doesn’t incur loads of deductions for lack of closure and lack of head release and presence of a hip angle (it already had some of the most persnickety execution standards) is quite difficult and worthy of D value. But at the same time…blech. Unless you’re among a select few perfect Chinese beamers or Viktoria Komovas, the thing is probably awful looking.

It’s an obvious “I just don’t like this skill, and that’s all there is to it” scenario, emphasized by the downgrade not being backed up with much consistency across the rest of the code. The sheep jump on floor wasn’t bumped down accordingly. Other head-release, ring-shape elements on beam weren’t bumped down either. Just this one. So it doesn’t make that much sense logistically, but no one’s that outraged about it because…ugh sheep jumps.

So if you’ve noticed a dearth of sheep jumps this quadrennium, this is why. The sheep jump still can have some value as part of a dance combination or a mixed series, but it’s no more valuable than a switch leap as one of your counting dance elements or a back tuck as part of a mixed series,so…why ever?


Value change: G to E
Date: 2013

The downgrade of the Shushunova caused a bit of a stir because it’s quite rare to see a skill downgraded multiple tenths. This is also unusual for the WTC because it’s a case where the change was actually based on reality and not on some nonsensical whim of aesthetics. Like, this one…makes sense…? I barely know what to do with that information. Continue reading I Don’t Like Sheep – The Downgraded Elements

No Skill For You

Today’s journey addresses skills that were officially named for specific athletes in the code of points at some time in the past, and then the code was like “BYE CINDY” either to just the name, just the skill, or even both. Fun for the whole family!

Note: There are many instances of this phenomenon (like many), and this should not be considered an exhaustive account by any means.

The Khorkina(s)

As part of the vast international conspiracy against Svetlana Khorkina because so very many people are jealous of her beauty and greatness, multiple skills once named after her are no longer attributed to Her Regal Khorkness in the code of points.

The Markelov—as it is named in the men’s code—was once named for Khorkina, who had been performing it since her early days when she had a ponytail (laser beam sound effect) and ponytailed her way onto the international stage at 1994 worlds.

But nearly immediately following Khorkina’s retirement, the skill was snatched away from her for undisclosed reasons, so while it still appears as an element in the code of points, it is no longer attributed to anyone by name.

The Markelov is not the only skill that was viciously stolen from Khorkina. She also once had the hop 1.5 to front support named after herself, and her name no longer appears associated with that skill either.

It is not, however, all about Khorkina [crack of thunder, he’s struck down dead], as we’ve also seen the elimination of the named element The Ziganshina, which used to be the tuck 2/1 to front support. Like Khorkina’s elements, that skill still exists (and was in fact upgraded from B to C in 2013, so the code is into it), yet it is mysteriously no longer named after Natalia Ziganshina.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s horrible looking, but when has that ever been a consideration before?

The Chow(s) Continue reading No Skill For You