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If you still care - I put a preliminary post here - I followed that with something about vault and meant to do the other women's events, but never got around to it.

As to why they changed things? Well. I'm slightly opinionated here --

New International Scoring System for Gymnastics, part 1 (personal editorializing and ranting)

After the 2004 Olympics, there was a hue and cry saying that we needed a new way to score gymnastics. Said hue and cry was raised based on a couple of occurrences, neither of which are addressed by the new code of points that was put into place in 2006.

The controversy that got the most attention was notable not because of the actual events but because of the way certain of the people involved handled the events. The central fact is that a South Korean gymnast was not given enough points for the difficulty of his parallel bars routine. Incorrectly credited difficulty ratings are a common problem in gymnastics competition. In fact, it is so common that there is a long established method of dealing with such situations. The coach who wants to challenge his or her gymnast's score submits a verbal and written inquiry immediately. That is it. Simple and straightforward. You see a discrepancy, you submit an inquiry. The judges review things and, very often, a new score is awarded. Gymnasts move fast and judges have to blink, or look down at what they are writing. A judge mis-counts the number of elements that were performed at each level of difficulty. Or a judge simply adds incorrectly. There can be human error which is why there are checks and balances built into the system.

What happened in this case is that the coach failed to submit in inquiry right away. In fact, it was the next day before anyone complained. Then they pushed the case in front of any sporting authority and media outlet that would listen. This "controversy" was entirely caused by coaches not doing their job correctly. Period. At the time I read comments by South Korean officials saying that it wasn't necessarily so much about this particular incident, but that they wanted to make a point because they felt their athletes had historically been given short shrift in judged athletic endeavors. One article I read mentioned an incident that they feel was unfair that took place in a different competition AND in an entirely different sport!

Controversy #2 was the score given to Alexei Nemov on his high bar routine. The first score awarded was a 9.725. Afterwards the crowds booed long and loudly enough that 2 judges (from Malaysia and Canada) raised the scores they had given resulting in the final score being raised to 9.762. What this says to me is that the judges are wusses. The crowds should not have any influence over the scores and changing the score after prolonged booing simply makes it seem like the judging is random. It isn't. Nemov's routine was great. It *looked* great to the crowd. But some of his skills, while flashy, were not actually judged to be as difficult as those that other gymnasts performed. It was not a surprise to anyone in the sport because the difficulty levels of all the moves are published well in advance.

Actually, there was a third controversy. Or at least a third irregularity in the men's gymnastics competition. The day before the competition started, International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) officials informed Blaine Wilson, Brett McClure and Jason Gatson (all from USA) that the start values on their high bar routines, which they'd been using for two years in international competition, were being lowered from 10.0 to 9.9. One of the skills that each included in his routine was suddenly not going to be given the same difficulty value as it had been given for the 2 preceding years. While the FIG *does* set the difficulty level of all moves, changes to the values do not normally occur right before major competitions. In fact, that type of determination generally happens once every 4 years right after the Olympics with, perhaps, smaller yearly touch-ups that are published, in writing, during the non-competition season.

No major changes really needed to be made to the judging system at all as the controversies were caused by the incorrect application of perfectly good rules and the complete inability of a coaching staff to follow well established methods of dealing with such errors.

One of the results of the new system is that many gymnasts are trying so hard to get a high difficulty score that things like form suffer. Also the "artistic" part of artistic gymnastics is, IMO, also suffering. Very few gymnasts have managed to keep that part up in their quest for ever-harder skills. Another result - mass confusion on the part of the fans. And, apparently, the judges if some of what happened these past weeks is any indication. I'm not a fan, but it is what it is.
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