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Olympic Gymnastics: Rhythmic Gymnastics Rules & Judging


Olympic Gymnastics: Rhythmic Gymnastics Rules & Judging

Heather Mann (Great Britain)

© Mike Hewitt / Getty Images

The Code of Points is quite complicated -- but luckily, you can enjoy being a spectator without knowing every single rule. Here are the basics.


Rhythmic gymnastics has a top score of 20.0 for each apparatus:
  • The Execution Score (E): Starts at a 10.0 and deductions are taken for technical faults (such as catching the apparatus incorrectly or losing the apparatus)

  • The Final Composition Score (A+D divided by 2): The Artistic Score (A) has a maximum of 10.0 and is based on the music and choreography. The Difficulty Score (D) starts at 0 and builds to a maximum of 10.0 depending on the skills performed.

Judge for Yourself

It’s easy to identify great routines without knowing every nuance of the Code. When watching a routine, be sure to look for:
  • Good Form and Execution: In elements such as leaps and jumps, a gymnast's toes should be pointed, her legs should be straight and she should maintain a tightness in her body. Each skill should look planned.

  • Control of the Apparatus: The gymnast should keep her equipment moving, and should look as if she has complete control of it. Dropping the apparatus is a deduction. If the equipment rolls away or off the floor, more penalties are incurred.

  • Flexibility: Rhythmic gymnasts should achieve a minimum of a 180-degree split on split leaps and jumps, and oftentimes they go much further. A great rhythmic gymnast will exhibit flexibility in her back, legs and shoulders.

  • Choreography: The intricacies of movement are very important in rhythmic gymnastics. Each routine should be a performance -- and the gymnast’s music should be an important part of the routine, not simply used as background music.

  • Uniqueness of the Routine: A great gymnast will perform a routine that looks different from the rest. It will have something special about it -- risky throws and catches, complicated choreography, extreme flexibility or skills that are simply unique from others performed in the competition.

FInd out more about Olympic rhythmic gymnastics

Go to the Olympic gymnastics main page
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