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Explaining the Scoring System for the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championship

Gymnastics is a captivating sport in which athletes gracefully and precisely accomplish feats that defy gravity. Yet beneath these dazzling routines are intricate scoring systems that determine the success of these poised athletes in the gymnastics world. These scoring systems have evolved from junior gymnastics to collegiate athletics to the top of elite competitions and the biggest stage of them all, the Olympics.

As a result, the sport has gained attention and recognition, showcasing the impressive abilities of athletes such as Simone Biles. Understanding the scoring system of gymnastics adds to the thrill of the sport, as we marvel at the incredible difficulty scores achieved by these athletes.

The method of evaluation used for gymnastics competitions at lower levels.

Many young gymnasts begin their journey towards success in Collegiate and Elite Gymnastics by participating in the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic (J.O.) program. This program has levels 4 through 10 that correspond to different skill levels, with level 10 being the most advanced.

The J.O. Code of Points is a comprehensive system that is updated every four years to support the development and progress of gymnastics. It is utilized to assess the scoring system for these levels.

One fundamental distinction between each level lies in the difficulty of elements and their connections performed. Meeting the requirements to advance to each level depends on the complexity of the skills and execution of them performed. The Code of Points outlines the difficulty requirements for each level, making sure the integrity of the sport is maintained and that there is a smooth transition between them.

On August 27, 2023, Suni Lee participated in the balance beam event at the 2023 U.S. Gymnastics Championships held at SAP Center in San Jose, California. The event was captured by photographer Ezra Shaw.

For example, reaching level 10 requires executing more difficult skills than level 9. Introducing complex skills and performing them successfully earns “bonus points,” with the goal of starting with a score of 10.0. This starting score allows for a buffer against deductions, which is a desirable achievement for gymnasts. In gymnastics, deductions are a normal part of every routine. While there are many deductions, some are more prevalent than others and can greatly affect a gymnast’s final score. Some common deductions include:

Each time the feet are flexed, 0.05 points will be deducted.

Bent legs: A deduction of up to 0.3 points may be applied for bent legs while performing skills.

Penalty of 0.10 points for twisting with crossed legs.

Deduction of up to 0.3 points for wobbling on beam.

Penalty for Falling: 0.5 points will be deducted if a fall occurs during a routine.

Small Hop on Landing: A deduction of no more than 0.10 points will be applied for a minor hop upon landing.

Instructions for Landing: A deduction of 0.10 points will be applied for every step taken during landing.

Penalty for Tumbling Out of Bounds: A deduction of 0.1 points will be applied if the performer steps out of bounds during tumbling.

In addition to these factual conclusions, there are also personal consequences, such as a potential 0.2 point deduction for lack of confidence during the balance beam routine and a potential 0.3 point deduction for not showcasing individual flair during the floor routine. These subjective factors introduce an element of uncertainty to scoring in J.O. competitions, even for experienced fans of gymnastics.

In regular season competitions, two judges separately grade each performance. The gymnast’s overall score is calculated by taking the average of the two judges’ scores. If the initial scores differ by more than 0.3 points, the judges must discuss and agree on a score within that range. In Junior Olympic Level scoring, only two judges assess each routine. They evaluate the difficulty of the routine individually, deducting any mistakes. The gymnast’s final score is the average of these two judges’ scores, with a maximum possible score of 10.

The scoring system used in NCAA divisions.

In the realm of collegiate gymnastics, there are three separate categories: Division I, Division II, and Division III. These divisions provide different levels of scholarships for their gymnasts. Generally, Division I (DI) programs offer the most financial support, but there are exceptions for Ivy League schools and service academies with specific scholarship regulations.

DII programs offer approximately half the number of scholarships compared to DI teams, and DIII programs do not offer any athletic scholarships. All gymnasts, regardless of division, follow J.O. level 10 rules with modifications from the NCAA. These simplified rules exclude certain intricacies, such as strict beam balance criteria. This simplification, combined with the superior form displayed by top DI teams, results in significantly higher scores than in J.O. gymnastics, including occasional perfect 10s.

On October 29th, 2022 in Liverpool, England, Jordan Chiles from the United States competed in the Women’s qualifications at the World Gymnastics Championships. She performed her floor routine at the M&S Bank Arena. The event was captured in a photograph by Tim Clayton.

Gymnasts in college competitions are still allowed to make mistakes, which may lead to point deductions. These errors often occur during floor landings, beam routines, vault jumps, bar landings, handstands, vault height, beam splits, floor splits, beam wobbles, and floor rotation and height.

Initial scores are essential in collegiate gymnastics, beginning at 9.500 and necessitating gymnasts to accumulate extra points for better performances. They hold even greater importance as scores become closer in NCAA gymnastics. A minor variation in start value can greatly affect championship events.

NCAA gymnastics, in contrast to J.O. gymnastics, is a sport that involves teams. Each team has six gymnasts participating in each event, and the top five scores are taken into consideration. The lowest score for each event is not counted, and the overall scores from each event determine the team’s final score.

The maximum score a team can achieve is 200, but the best Division I teams usually score between 197 and 198. Scores differ between divisions, with Division I attracting the most skilled athletes due to greater athletic aid opportunities. Controversies also arise, especially in Divisions II and III, about how scores are calculated compared to J.O. level 10 routines, without any changes made for NCAA competition.

Olympic and Elite level scoring system

After reaching level 10, skilled gymnasts have the opportunity to join the U.S. Elite program, where they train for international competitions and may have to sacrifice traditional education for full-time training. However, achieving perfection in elite gymnastics has become more challenging since the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) changed their scoring system in 2006.

Top-level gymnastics has abandoned the concept of a flawless 10 score. Instead, scores are now split into two components: the Difficulty Score, which takes into account the level of skill and connections between moves, and the Execution Score, which begins at 10 and decreases for mistakes in form. The guidelines set by the FIG Code are stricter than those of the J.O. Code, with a fall resulting in a full point deduction rather than just half a point. Elite gymnasts are expected to successfully execute every tumbling pass and utilize leaps or jumps to maintain balance and control.

Shilese Jones
Gymnastics – Artistic Gymnastics World Championships – Women s Individual All-Around Final Shilese Jones USA beam during Artistic Gymnastics World Championships – Women s Individual All-Around Final, Gymnastics in Liverpool, England, November 03 2022 Liverpool M&S Bank Arena England Copyright: xFilippoxTomasix/xLiveMediax

Unlike J.O., elite gymnastics has no upper limit for the D Score. More difficulty means a higher D Score. Elite gymnasts string skills together for more difficulty, but wobbles break connections and cost difficulty points.

During a floor routine, gymnasts execute four tumbling passes to increase the level of difficulty. Elite gymnasts usually receive a score of 15.000 or above, while those in lower podium positions aim for the mid-14.0 range. At top international competitions, gymnasts strive for scores in the high 14s to 15s, with some achieving 16s for their world-class routines. Despite their lower scores, elite gymnasts still draw the attention of elite NCAA programs due to their exceptional abilities and technique.

The scoring system for Olympic gymnastics consists of three panels: the D Panel for assessing Difficulty Score, the E Panel for evaluating Execution Score, and the Reference Panel for addressing any issues with Execution Score.

How Scoring Works

The initial Difficulty Score of 0 is determined by the individual’s abilities and network within a given routine. The Execution Score begins at 10.0 and is reduced for any mistakes. As per the current Code of Points, the overall score can range from 13 to 16 points.

Difficulty Score

The difficulty of a routine is determined by the Two D Panel judges through evaluation. The scores that are too high or too low are not taken into consideration, and a Difficulty Score is agreed upon. All elements must comply with the Code of Points, and their values are specified.

Execution Score

A panel of five judges evaluates the performance. The top and bottom scores are disregarded, and the remaining three are averaged to calculate the final score. This score measures both execution and artistry, with deductions for falls, technique errors, and execution ranging from 0.1 to 1.0.

Neutral Deductions

These penalize mistakes such as exceeding time limits, crossing boundaries, displaying inappropriate behavior, or falling. Falling results in a deduction of 1.0 points.


Gymnasts have the opportunity to dispute their scores by submitting an inquiry, which includes both spoken and written elements. This process usually occurs after their score has been announced, but before the following gymnast performs. If the inquiry is successful, it may result in a revised score.

International Gymnastics Scoring

At international events, top gymnasts consistently earn scores in the high 14s to 15s, with exceptional routines occasionally receiving a 16.

in a competition is 10.

The maximum score a gymnast can receive in a competition is 10.

In the realm of high-level gymnastics, the idea of achieving a “perfect 10” has become more complex. In modern gymnastics scoring, a gymnast’s routine is evaluated based on a variety of factors, including the level of difficulty and the precision of their execution.

The focus is often on the challenge rating, particularly in the time of Simone Biles, whose performances are filled with complex elements, leading to incredibly high difficulty scores that appear nearly impossible to surpass. How high can these difficulty scores reach? USA Gymnastics provides information on how the difficulty score is determined.

Simone Biles

On October 13, 2019 in Stuttgart, Germany, Simone Biles of the United States was photographed with her numerous gold medals during the 49th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships at Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle.

The difficulty score for each routine is calculated by adding together the point value of the 10 most difficult skills performed in the routine. Each skill is only counted once. Additionally, athletes can earn a Connection value by successfully linking multiple skills in a row. Composition requirements also allow for a maximum of 2.0 points to be earned by completing a set of required elements specific to the apparatus.

The sport of women’s gymnastics uses a system of 10 categories to determine the difficulty level of each skill. The categories are labeled Group A through J and have increasing point values, with Group A skills being worth 0.1 points and Group J skills being worth 1.0 points. Vault skills have different values, ranging from 2.0 to 6.4 points.

To underscore Simone Biles’s exceptional performance, consider her triple-double on-the-floor exercise, currently the sole J-level element. Moreover, her latest vault, the Yurchenko double pike, has been provisionally valued at a remarkable 6.6 points at the GK US Classic. In practical terms, there is no upper limit for the difficulty score, though in elite gymnastics, difficulty scores, often referred to as “D-scores,” typically fall between 5 and 6 points.

Explanation of the Controversy Surrounding Simone Biles’ Yurchenko Double Pike Vault

Although it may be challenging for viewers at times, this scoring system has allowed athletes to constantly push the limits of the sport, resulting in incredible performances that captivate global audiences.

View this video: Getting Closer to Simone Biles and Shilese Jones, the Up-and-Coming Star of Gymnastics Reveals Her Future Plans.


The article “Scoring System Explained Ahead of 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championship” was published on EssentiallySports.