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When you watch gymnastics this August you might notice that something is a little off about the scores. They'll be higher than you remember.

The perfect 10.0? No longer exists. In fact, if a gymnast scores a 10 in a major international meet nowadays, he or she did very poorly. There is no "perfect" score any longer. A very good score, one that could earn a medal, is in the high 15 or low 16 range (depending on the apparatus). For now anyway.

There are now 2 judging panels for each event.

Panel A will give a score that reflects the difficulty of the routine. On bars, beam and floor, that means that they will add the difficulty ratings of the different elements in the routine. Since vault is, basically, just one element, each vault is assigned its own difficulty value.

Panel B judges start each gymnast with a 10.0 but then subtract for errors in execution and artistry. These judges are very picky. Judges in general have always been picky, but this system is even more so. Falls are now a 0.8 deduction (instead of the familiar 0.5). Many moves on bars must be completed in a handstand otherwise there are deductions based on how far away from vertical the gymnast is.

The B-panel judges' scores are averaged (after dropping the highest and lowest) and the average is then added to the A-panel score to get the final score. After that there are, on occasion, neutral deductions, which are subtracted from the final score, resulting in what the code of points calls the flashed final score. An example of a neutral deduction would be if the gymnast steps out of bounds on the floor exercise.

I'll go into more detail on the scoring for each apparatus in the coming days.
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