Gymnastics at 2016 Rio Olympics: How the Judging and Scoring Works

judging scoring gymnastics olympics, Scoring Gymnastics, How are gymnastics olympics scored,

The gymnastics stadium for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. (Getty)

The first round of gymnastics at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio begins Saturday morning, and it’s no surprise that scoring for the sport is rather confusing. While we were once used to seeing athletes scored out of a ‘Perfect 10’, we now see scores in the teens, and the whole ordeal doesn’t make much sense. Want to find out how fan-favorites like Simone Biles and Aly Raisman will be scored at the Olympics this summer? Interested in learning some history about the points system? Read on.

How It Works

– One panel of judges starts scoring at a 0. Points are added for requirements, difficulty-level, and connections
– A second panel of judges starts scoring at a 10.0, and deducts based on execution and artistry
– Final score: adds up the scores from both panels of judges
– A typical score is in the range of 13-16


– 9 judges sit on the panel for each event. These judges are grouped into three groups.
– D Panel: 2 judges who calculate the DIFFICULTY SCORE
– E Panel: 5 judges who calculate the EXECUTION SCORE
– Reference Panel: 2 judges who CORRECT the Execution Scores (if there are any problems)

More Details on Scoring for Each Panel
– Previously known as the start value. It gives credit for connections (transition between two skills) and group requirements (categories of skills that must be included in a routine)
– If all of the element group requirements are included in a routine, the gymnast is awarded a maximum of 2.5 points
– Each connection value (which is given on every event but vault) is worth .1 or .2 points
– The final difficulty score is determined by adding values for the 10 most difficult skills for men, and 8 most difficult skills for women. Each skill has a different value, which is written up in the Code of Points.
– Vault– there is a predetermined Difficulty Score. The gymnast or coach enters this score on a scoreboard at the beginning of the runway (where the gymnasts are seen starting their vault run). The number is then flashed to the judges.

– The Execution Score begins at 10.0
– Judges deduct points based on errors in categories of technique/execution/artistry
– .1 is deducted for smaller errors
– Large errors (i.e. a fall) are a 1.0 deduction

– Each D panel judge determines the score independently. The 2 judges them compare, and come to an agreement on the final Difficulty Score.
– Each E panel judge determines the score independently. The highest and lowest scores are dropped; they then average out the remaining three scores to get the final Execution Score



After the 2004 Games in Athens, a new Code of Points system was introduced to replace the old scoring system. Why? The old scoring system caused some issues. Paul Hamm, for example, waited two months to find out if he actually won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics Games, all due to the old scoring system. Back then, gymnasts were awarded a maximum of a 10.0 for their performances. Now, an open-ended system is used, which, according to the NBC Olympics site, “… is designed to allow greater separation of gymnasts’ scores.” The biggest change for this Olympic Games is that the judges deduct heavily for execution errors. A fall, for example, costs 1 point, instead of .8.

Other FAQ

What is a neutral deduction? Neutral deductions include stepping out of bounds, going over time, or wearing incorrect attire.

Can coaches inquire about scores? Yes. After the score is shown, coaches can inquire about the Difficulty Score. Inquiries are resolved using a video review. The initial inquiry must be submitted before the gymnast moves to her next event, and the written inquiry has to be submitted before the end of the next rotation.

What’s considered a good score?
Typically, if a score is in the 15-16 range, that is considered “good”. Anything over a 16 is considered exceptional.

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