Deconstructing the New Code of Points

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Happy New Year, readers! We’re officially in a new quad, and as always, that means forgetting everything you thought you knew about the code of points and spending the next four years trying to remember everything new, only to have to start all over again in 2021.

We’ve had a lot of questions about the changes, so we’ve been prepping an event-by-event breakdown for you, as well as a general look at the biggest changes facing the code this quad.

The biggest change will decrease all-around scores by about two points for the women thanks to the D dismount credit requirement (CR) getting tossed. Last quad, if gymnasts hit all five credit requirements, they got an automatic 2.5 points in their D scores, and one of those requirements was a dismount rated D or higher on bars, beam, and floor. If a gymnast did a C dismount, she lost tenths from her 2.5 CR, putting her at a big disadvantage.

This quad, however, has no dismount requirement, and the CR has been reduced from five to four, meaning if a gymnast hits every requirement, her D score starts at a 2.0. Gymnasts who want to go for an easier C dismount will come in at a tenth lower in skill value than those with D dismounts, but there won’t be any CR penalty because of it.

Don’t think gymnasts can simply hop off the bars or beam when done, though. Routines count eight elements, and the dismount must be included in those eight elements. If a gymnast has a crazy busy routine with tons of E+ skills and then does an A dismount, she’s forced to count that A skill into her total over a higher-valued skill within the routine. We’ll definitely see plenty of C dismounts this quad from those who don’t want to risk something more difficult, but there’s still a big incentive for those who can go bigger. The strongest gymnasts want to aim for routines that count all D+ skills, so no one who puts in that much effort in the bulk of her routine will end with an A or B skill.

I love that this change allows gymnasts from smaller programs with already low-difficulty routines to not get further penalized for not being able to do a difficult dismount. On bars, for example, there were a bunch of elites who did double pike dismounts this quad and were forced to count the C skill while also taking that 0.5 hit in their CR. They still won’t be super competitive on the event, but they at least won’t be penalized for not being as advanced as girls in top programs.

Another rule that will affect all four events is related to landing deductions. The FIG changed some of the language in the code, going from the ambiguous ‘shoulder width’ to the more concrete ‘one meter’ in relation to the 0.3 deduction for large steps. For those in the U.S. with zero comprehension of the metric system, that’s about three feet, which is kind of a lot. What is shoulder-width? Like, a little over a foot on average? So now you can take a step twice that amount and still only get a tenth off for the landing.

I don’t like this, at all, and think it will encourage gymnasts to chuck skills they don’t generally land well because they can get away with lower deductions. I just got out of bed and measured a three-foot step forward and I’m practically halfway into a split. Near-falls getting only a tenth is super blah especially after the discourse over the past decade has been about difficulty being valued more highly than execution.

From here, let’s take a little stroll through each of the four events to get a picture of how everything will change on each one.

VAULT

So, because the rest of the events get 0.5 off in CR, most vaults have been devalued at about the same rate so things are even again and we don’t see a 15 here and 13.5s everywhere else (though as always, vault will continue to score at a higher level compared to the other events because the problem isn’t with the D values, it’s with how execution is deducted).

Some vaults got devalued a little more than others, with the Produnova losing six tenths and the tsuk 1½ losing only three, though most of the more difficult vaults ended up losing somewhere in the neighborhood of four or five tenths. You will absolutely forget the new values for at least the next year or two, and get ready for me to get them wrong at least a hundred times before things settle in my brain, but to help you through this trying time, here’s a handy little chart.

The Vault The Old Code The New Code
FTY 5.0 4.6
Y 1½ 5.3 5.0
DTY 5.8 5.4
Amanar 6.3 5.8
Lopez 5.6 5.2
‘Mustafina’ 6.0 5.6
Cheng 6.4 6.0
Handspring full 5.8 5.4
Handspring Rudi 6.2 5.8
Produnova 7.0 6.4
Tsuk full 5.2 4.8
Tsuk 1½ 5.5 5.2
Tsuk double 6.0 5.6
Tsuk 2½ 6.5 6.0

On vault, we also see the reintroduction of the two point penalty for pushing off the table with only one hand, a not-so-subtle shoutout to MyKayla Skinner, who consistently missed one hand on her Cheng. Finally, the D panel can now downgrade the Produnova to a basic handspring front tuck if the gymnast doesn’t fully rotate the second flip, e.g. if she butt grazes the way every single Produnova vaulter landed it this quad. This is a huge downgrade and will absolutely limit those who dangerously chuck a vault with little skill just to get by on the D value.

UNEVEN BARS

Let’s start off again with the skill value changes, for which I’ve made yet another chart. I love charts.

The Skill The Old Code The New Code
Roundoff tuck over low bar to catch on high bar E F
Roundoff arabian over low bar to catch on high bar E G
Clear hip counter shoot C B
Stalder counter shoot C B
Piked Jaeger D E
Layout Gienger D E
Layout Jaeger E F
Comaneci dismount B C
Double front half-out D E
Double pike half-out E F

Really, the only thing that matters here is the piked Jaeger. In Russia, where they teach piked Jaegers in utero, they’ll be especially pleased. In the previous codes both the straddled and piked versions were worth the same, so now everyone with a piked Jaeger gets bumped up a tenth and everyone without one will go for the upgrade. Not many bother going for the layout Gienger and Jaeger, so really only Viktoria Komova and maybe two other people will care that both of these skills got bumped up a tenth as well.

The rest of these mainly don’t matter (now that Houry Gebeshian has retired, as if we’ll ever see anyone try to do something not boring as a mount ever again), though the exception is the double front half-out dismount. We saw a good amount of double fronts this quad, but no one went for the half because it was worth the same. Now a tenth higher, this could be an incentive to encourage a little double front diversity.

The judges loved the innovative nonstop connection routines this quad so much, they were like “let’s never go back,” so now anyone who does any kind of shaposh variation will get a 0.5 deduction for an empty swing if the shaposh is not directly connected to another element. This only applies to the shaposh skills caught facing the low bar, so gymnasts can kip cast handstand out of a van Leeuwen or any other shaposh half, but skills with no twist or full twists like the Maloney and Seitz can’t just stop there. Mostly this will lead to shaposh + pak or shaposh + bail connections, but get ready for lots of shaposh + between-bar Giengers or butt-grazer Tkachevs as well, because those also come with a two-tenth CV.

Finally, as much as I loved Laurie Hernandez doing literally every skill out of a stalder this year, the new code doesn’t like it one bit and now limits routines to no more than three elements coming out of the same root skill. Laurie’s routine had like six stalder skills, so she’d have to completely redo everything this quad, maybe changing the Chow to a Maloney and the stalder full to an inbar full or something because otherwise, she wouldn’t get value for any stalder skills beyond the first three.

BALANCE BEAM

Another list of updated skill values, another table to go along with it. Note that almost every single mount in the history of mounts, including the 100 mounts that no one ever competes, got upgraded by a tenth, so I won’t bore you to tears.

Actually, a million skills no one ever does got one-tenth increases, so I included only those that are most common. You can take a look at the code of points to see every skill value under the sun, but just know that if someone is doing a mount or a leap or a jump or a back walkover, it’s probably a tenth higher than it was last year.

The Skill The Old Code The New Code
Switch leap mount C D
Triple flares mount C D
Roundoff to back tuck/pike mount D E
Front tuck half mount E F
Split leap A B
Split leap full D E
Split jump A B
Split jump half B C
Straddle jump A B
Tour jeté C D
Switch side half D E
Sheep jump D C
Cat leap n/a A
Tuck jump full B C
Wolf jump full C D
Wolf turn 2½ E D
Onodi to two feet (Worley) D E
Front half to back tuck or pike E F
Gainer pike C B
Gainer layout D C
Gainer layout full E D

So, the big ones. Apparently everyone is disgusted by sheep jumps and wants to phase them out, which is fine with me. A C value plus the litany of inherent deductions most gymnasts get will pretty much erase this skill from our memories. The FIG also kind of hates wolf turns, but not enough to rid our lives of them completely, so we’ll likely see only doubles and triples coming up rather than the two-and-a-half (U.S. new senior Riley McCusker is training both, one after another, and they look beautiful but…yeah, it’s just about the worst routine construction imaginable).

The gainer layout was this quad’s ‘suck it’ to the D dismount requirement, so the FIG devalued it, not that it matters with that requirement now gone. So everyone will continue to do it anyway and just make up for that missing tenth elsewhere. No biggie.

Lots of rules and new CVs and bonuses coming up here. My favorite is the 0.1 series bonus for a dance/mixed series. In the past, the B + B + C in any order series has allowed for acro only, which meant a million bhs + bhs + loso or bhs + bhs + layout combos. Now a gymnast can do something like an Onodi to Y turn to back walkover stoop through (ahem, Vendula Merkova!) and not only get the CV, but the series bonus tenth as well.

The acro vs dance language has changed to require at least three acro elements and at least three dance elements, with the remaining two counting elements ‘optional’ (though one will have to be the dismount). This is kind of the same as the past, but last quad, while there was a five acro skill maximum, the language didn’t give acro a minimum. Now both acro and dance have minimums, and balance is key.

Other little rules…there’s a 0.1 connection bonus for B + F dismount combinations, the D salto + A dance combo is gone, gymnasts now need a minimum B + D for a mixed 0.1 CV (in the past, mixed allowed for a minimum C + C), and there were some wording changes about allowing for slight hesitations in direct connections, which I guess could apply for all events, but beam is where we typically see gymnasts lose the most CV when they take a second to pause between skills they’re hoping to connect (the WTC also emphasized that connections won’t count if there is “obvious leg/hip extension on the first element before takeoff for the second”).

FLOOR EXERCISE

The final table of the day, again with just the most common skills listed and the biggest changes in bold.

The Skill The Old Code The New Code
Whip full B C
Dos Santos II G H

So yeah, not much has changed here, aside from a bunch of easy jumps and hops going from A to B. But the arabian double layout bumping up a notch is interesting because really, aside from Kennedy Baker’s “I swear this is piked but really it’s not!” arabian, has anyone done the layout since Daiane Dos Santos herself? I don’t know if we’ll see an increase, but arabians are considered front tumbling for women (and backwards tumbling for men! #GYMNASTICS) so let’s move on to the biggest floor change to talk about this a bit more.

The CR on floor now requires both back and front tumbling as part of the acro line, no longer allowing gymnasts to compete all backwards tumbling passes while throwing a random aerial into the choreo to satisfy the front/side tumbling requirement (this was the other big ‘suck it’ alongside the gainer layout last quad). Because not everyone is Brenna Dowell, it means we’re going to get a lot of 2½ + punch fronts or other basic front skills in combination with heavy backwards passes.I think we’ll also see more gymnasts attempting front layouts with twists, like the Rudi in combo, or a front double full…and I’ve seen gymnasts like Jordan Chiles training the front 2½ and even a front triple, so I’m excited to see these skills grow in popularity. But listen, required front tumbling and an increase in the Dos Santos II?! Your move, Simone Biles.

In a bizarre move, the D panel can’t downgrade twisting passes that directly connect to another salto. If a gymnast does a triple full and lands a few degrees short, it could get credited as a 2½, but if a gymnast does a triple full that lands fully sideways and punches out of it, it’s totally okay.

Now let’s look at turns. The ‘new’ turn rule involves a maximum number of turns for each style. For turns in passé, the maximum is a quad, and for all other pirouettes with different leg positions (e.g. attitude, L turn, Y turn, etc.), the maximum is a triple. If a gymnast goes for a quintuple pirouette in passé, it would be considered a quad. Because there’s already an E cap on turns, this kind of just emphasizes that? Because a quad turn in passé is an E already, it doesn’t really matter if your quintuple pirouette is considered a quintuple or a quad because you’re getting an E anyway.

This rule also applies to leaps and jumps, with a maximum of 1½ turns for split/straddle leaps and jumps and a maximum of a full turn for a more complex leap.

Did I miss anything? Are you looking for a more comprehensive explanation? Are you like “what do all of these words mean help me”? Just want to share your feelings? Comment below and let us know what’s up.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

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32 thoughts on “Deconstructing the New Code of Points

    • Well, a good sheep jump is fabulous. But they’re supposed to be done with knees together and toes touching the top of the head…and like 95% don’t look like that lol. It’s a sucky downgrade for those who do them well (Komova in her prime!) but so many end up with knees spread far apart and toes nowhere near the back of the head…and they still get credit for some reason but no, they should never. I think making the D value lower will make it not really worth doing one unless it’s perfect, because you’ll only get 0.3 for it and you’ll probably get just as much in deductions.

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  1. The connection bonus for F+ dismounts on beam is just kooky. It’s not like anyone was gonna chuck a standing full twisting double tuck, so, free bonus!

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  2. I’m a six foot, 165 lbs dude. I just measured my width and I’m only a foot and a half across. That three meter rule is CRAZY.

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    • Yeah, I actually googled like “what is average shoulder width?!” because it seemed insane to me. One tenth for literally stepping forward practically into a split is nonsense.

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      • I wonder whether someone of the smaller female gymnasts are even capable of taking a 100cm step without falling over.

        For someone like Shang Chunsong, this probably means that they can take steps as big as they like but only ever get the minimum deduction. A ridiculous rule.

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        • Right?! There’s no way girls like Songsong or Ragan or Flavia can step out a full meter without like, completely falling down, so it’s either a tenth or a point for a fall for them, no in between. Insane.

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  3. I’m sorry to say this but it’s been bothering for a while that everyone just assumed the D+ dismount requirement is an “all or nothing” thing. It’s not. You could get 0.5 for a D+ dismount, a 0.3 for a C dismount and nothing for an A or B dismount. In Juniors, you could actually get a 0.5 for C+ dismount and 0.3 for a B dismount. Now all that is gone but gymnasts doing double pikes of bars weren’t exactly losing as much as those doing a flyaway.

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    • Yeah, I should have emphasized that and always forget to make that clear…it still sucks to get a penalty for not being as strong as programs that can teach higher-valued dismounts, though.

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    • Series bonuses are only 0.1, but you can also get additional CV in a series like this…for this, you’d get an additional 0.2 on top of the 0.1 series bonus for the BHS + F dismount, so it ends up being 0.3 but the series bonus itself is 0.1.

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  4. Isn’t that one meter rule unfair against taller gymnasts with longer legs? For example, I can not imagine Flavia Saraiva ever doing a step that is more than one Meter out of a tumbling – She’s just 1m 33cm tall!! That would be 2 thirds of her total heigh. So she’s practically safe from getting deducted more than 0.1 for a tumbling landing no matter what she does?

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    • Yeah, there’s no way she’ll step out one meter whereas taller gymnasts definitely could (I’m five feet tall and a meter step for me is huge). I guess it makes sense to have a concrete rule but it’s definitely going to benefit the tiny ones who definitely won’t step that far.

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  5. Hey lauren! thanks so much for doing this- I’m grateful you highlighted only the code’s major changes so I don’t have to dissect that dense thing myself! 🙂

    I have a question about turn combos on floor in the 2017-2020 code. I heard they were going to take away the D+B combo CV for 2 turns performed on different legs (ex. Ksenia Afan’s Double L + Y turn combo or her Semenova + Double spin combo). Did that happen? If so, is there any way to get CV for turn combos on floor now? Thanks!!

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    • Thanks! There were a few other little things here and there but the bulk of the things that matter are all here, so hopefully that helps people! I just looked into the turns D+B is still in there as is B+B (no step). Could’ve been a proposal that got voted down!

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  6. Dear Lauren, big thanks for your article, it’s great.

    I just want to know if you will also re-write article such as what you wrote in “The Four-Year Fan Guide” for 4 apparatus (vault, bars, beam and floor) in CoP 2017-2020? It would be so great and help many people, including me, to understand the changes in this new quad. I do hope you will do that. Many thanks, Lauren.

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    • Yes! I was thinking, oh, I’ll just link to those when people need it but then was like DUH there are changes, I’ll have to revamp. I’ll get to it eventually!

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  7. One other rule on floor is that you can’t count switch split and straddle switches with the same number of turns. Ex) a Johnson 1/2 and a switch half can’t be counted for DV in the same routine. The same applies to Straddle jumps and split jumps with the same number of turns.

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  8. Hi there,

    Just wondering, was there any female gymnast doing Tsuk 2 1/2, ‘cos its D-score is quite high and similar with Cheng? I thought they just stuck in doing Tsuk double.

    Thanks

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    • Some tried it this quad…I know Chuso was really hoping to get it! There were quite a few upgrade-able tsuk doubles so maybe we’ll see them go up to the 2.5 this quad?

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  9. Is there a rationale for making the deduction for only vaulting with one hand double the deduction for a fall? I can see why they want to make it a deduction, but more than a fall seems harsh.

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  10. Pingback: Deconstructing the New Code of Points – Natasha Konwitschny

  11. Hi, I’m a bit confused on floor start values. I’m using a very easy example. If a gymnast does
    Arab-Flic-bwd 1/2 twist
    Front somi- Arab – Flic – tuck back
    And then a
    Front layout

    How many of those acros does she HAVE to count? 3 or 4? Does the front layout count as the dismount and as one of the three acros or only as the dismount?

    Would it make a difference if you changed the order of the tumbles around?

    Your answer would be highly appreciated.

    Annelise

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