Road To Rio – Understanding Elite Scoring




As we approach P&G National Championships, Olympic Trials, and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro a crash course on how Women’s Gymnastics routines are evaluated at the Elite level could be beneficial.

We are all aware that in 2006 Women’s Gymnastics stopped using the 10.0 scoring system at the Elite level in National and International competition.

Now gymnasts are evaluated using a 2 part system which adds together an athlete’s Difficulty “D” Score and their Execution “E” Score for a final event/routine score.

The Difficulty “D” Score, which is calculated by a 2 judge panel, includes (for Bars, Beam, and Floor):

  • Required Skills –
    • 8 Skills (including the dismount)
      • Skills may only be counted once
      • Must perform a minimum of 3 dance elements (Beam and Floor)
      • Must perform a maximum of 5 acro elements (Beam and Floor)
  • Connection Value
  • Element Group/Composition Requirements


Skills are valued from “A” to “G”, with “A” skills being the easiest to perform successfully and “G” skills being the most difficult to perform successfully.  These skills are assigned a numerical value starting at 0.10 for “A” skills through 0.70 for “G” skills.  The eight required skills, including the dismount, are added together to get a numerical value total.

For example: Front Salto (D = 0.40) + Sheep Jump (D = 0.40) would give the athlete 0.80 in Difficulty Value.

Sheep Jump on Beam. Photo:
Sheep Jump on Beam.

Points can be earned toward the “D” score for the successful completion of combining skills of different value.  Women may earn 0.10 or 0.20 in connection value for each successfully connected and completed skill series.

Using the example from above, Front Salto (D) + Sheep Jump (D), would give the athlete 0.10 in Connection Value.

Element Group/Compositional Requirements include elements that must be included in a routine, similar to Special Requirements at the JO Optional levels.  If all five requirements (0.50 each) are included in a routine, the athlete would earn 2.5 points.

Both “D” panel judges will then compare and discuss their independently calculated scores and come up with a final “D” score.

The Execution “E” Score is calculated by a panel of 6 judges.

Kyla Ross Photo:
Kyla Ross

These judges take deductions for errors and faults in technique, execution, and artistry.  Small errors can earn a 0.10 in deductions to large errors, like a fall, can earn up to 1.0 point in deductions.  These deductions are subtracted from a 10.0 Start Value.

Each judge calculates their own score independently.  Once all scores are calculated, the highest and lowest scores are dropped and the remaining 4 scores are averaged.

The athlete’s Final Score is the total of the “D” Score and “E” Score added together.

For example, if an athlete has a “D” score of 6.5 and an “E” score of 8.6, then her final score would be 15.1.

In addition, neutral deductions can be deducted from the athlete’s final score.  Examples of neutral deductions include going out of bounds on floor or going overtime in a beam or floor routine.

For Vault, each vault is assigned a Start Value.  If a vault is successfully completed, an athlete will receive full credit for the vault performed.

The vault performed by Simone Biles, 2.5 twisting Yurchenko, has a start value of 6.5 (“D” Score).

When Simone successfully performs this vault, she receives a “D” Score of 6.5.  The judges will then calculate her “E” Score for the vault performed.  They will then add the “D” Score to the “E” Score to come up with her final event score.

It was easy to tell if a score was good when we used the 10.0 scoring system.  Now it tends to be a little difficult since each gymnast has a different “D” Score.

NBC has created a graphic that has been handy for viewers when trying to figure out if a final event/routine score is good or not.  See below…

Photo: NBC
Photo: NBC

The graphic illustrates for the gymnastics viewing audience how routines compare to each other based on the deductions taken by the “E” panel judges.

Routines that receive 1.3 points or less in deductions are stronger routines with routines with the fewest total deductions being the strongest.  Those routines that receive deductions between 1.4 and 1.9 points are average routines that could affect an athlete’s standings in the All-Around or Event Finals.  Finally, if routines receive 2.0 or more points in deductions, they are not strong enough to compete with the top athletes and need some work.

Hopefully this crash course in Elite scoring will better assist you in understanding how judges evaluate routines and how the scoring ranks athlete’s in the standings.

The next article in this serious will discuss how athlete’s qualify to the U.S. Olympic Trials and qualify and/or are selected to the U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team.

Source:, NBC

Similar articles of interest:

Road To Rio – Round 1

How Did They Come Up With That Score?

Road To Olympic Gold Revealed

What’s Your Bar Angle?

Judges Shorthand

Becoming A Gymnastics Judge – Part 2

Becoming A Gymnastics Judge – Part 1

Scoring A Front Handspring Vault


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