How do gymnastics judges score the floor exercise during the Olympics?

Japan 2020

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Out of all the sports in women’s gymnastics, floor exercise probably makes the most sense: a combination of tumbling, dancing, and, let’s face it, showmanship. With all that, there is a lot going on and it can be hard to see where the deductions come from.  

The most glaring or easiest deductions to spot come on the tumbling pass landings, and there are a lot of things to look for there.  

First, competitors have to stick the landing. It used to be in women’s gymnastics a step-out finish was acceptable. It looked pretty and was part of the floor exercise artistry. Well, not anymore. When the feet hit, the gymnast cannot move. A step or hop starts at a tenth of a deduction, and the bigger the movement, or the more steps or hops, the more tenths off.  

There is a way gymnasts make sticking those landings easier: in some cases, they add a leap or jump onto the end of a tumbling pass. Simone Biles does this after her Biles skill (a double layout with a half twist on the second flip). When she lands the Biles, she then does a jump at the end allowing her to stick the landing easier. The jump helps slow things down and is especially helpful on a forward landing where you don’t see the ground as your feet hit.  

Second, a gymnast’s chest must be up vertically, not hunched down over their thighs and knees.  

Lastly, the gymnast has to stay in bounds. One foot out of bounds is a tenth off the compiled score and two feet out of bounds is three tenths.  

Those are many of the deductions that come from just how a gymnast lands a skill. Now, let’s go to the air. During flips and twists, the gymnasts’ legs must stay together. A slight flicker of separation, even just the feet apart, is a deduction. If the skill is supposed to be in a layout position, knees must be locked straight, and the gymnast’s hips have to stay open the entire time – no pike position.  

Then there are some potential deductions completely unique to women’s floor exercise: artistry. The gymnast’s routine must be synchronized to the music and it must connect with the music. Plus, the gymnast must be expressive and connect with the crowd. A gymnast can receive up to three-tenths of a deduction for lack of artistry.

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