Scoring and the Code of Points

Scoring at the international level is regulated by the Code of Points. This system was significantly overhauled for 2006. Under the new Code of Points there are two different panels judging each routine, evaluating different aspects of the performance. The A score covers Difficulty Value, Element Group Requirements and Connection Value; and the B score covers execution, composition and artistry. The most visible changes to the Code was the abandonment of the "Perfect 10" for an open-ended scoring system for difficulty (the A score). The B score is still limited to a maximum of 10. The sum of the two provides a gymnast's total score for the routine. Theoretically this means scores could be infinite, though average marks for routines in major competitions in 2006 generally stayed in the mid-teens. Many gymnasts, including Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, Josef Stalder, and Kurt Thomas, have contributed their original skills to the Table of Elements section of the Code that helps define a routine's difficulty. Before 2006, every routine was assigned a Start Value (SV). A routine with maximum SV performed perfectly was worth a 10.0. A routine with all required elements was automatically given a base SV (9.4 in 1996; 9.0 in 1997; 8.8 in 2001); it was up to the gymnast to increase the SV to 10.0 by performing difficult skills and combinations. Many gymnastics insiders, coaches, officials and gymnasts have protested the new Code, with Olympic gold medalists Lilia Podkopayeva, Svetlana Boguinskaya, Shannon Miller and Vitaly Scherbo and Romanian team coach Nicolae Forminte publicly voicing their opposition. In addition, the 2006 report from the FIG Athletes' Commission cited major concerns about scoring, judging and other points of the new Code. Aspects of the Code were revised in 2007, however, there are no plans to abandon the new scoring system and return to the 10.0 format. Vitaly Venediktovich Scherbo (or Shcherbo) (Russian: Виталий Венедиктович Щербо, Belarusian: Віталь Венядзіктавіч Шчэрба), born 13 January 1972 in Minsk, Byelorussian SSR, is a Belarusian and former Unified Team and Soviet artistic gymnast. One of the most successful gymnasts of all time, he is the only male gymnast ever to have won a world title in all 8 events (Individual All-Around in 1993, Team in 1991, Floor in 1994, 1995 and 1996, Horizontal Bar in 1994, Parallel Bars in 1993 and 1995, Pommel Horse in 1992, Rings in 1992, Vault in 1993 and 1994). He was the most successful athlete at the 1992 Summer Olympics, winning 6 of 8 events - team, all-around, and 4 of 6 event finals.