Uneven bars gymnastic event at Olympics packs a lot of skill into a short time

Japan 2020

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The uneven bars is an event that packs so much into 30 to 40 seconds, so it can be hard to spot the flaws in a routine when you’re just in awe of what all is happening in a short amount of time. How do the judges do it?

Well, there are specific things they are looking for in every routine, no matter the specific skills. Most notably, every single handstand must be completely straight and vertical. Yes, every single one. It doesn’t matter if it is a simple cast-handstand or a toe-on circle to a handstand or even a pirouette into a handstand. The gymnast’s body position cannot finish short of vertical, nor can it be arched past vertical. 

It is at least a tenth of a point for every missed handstand. Now think of how many handstands there are in one routine. Yes, it’s a lot. 

Now, what sets one bar routine apart from another is rhythm. Two gymnasts may have the same skills, but what impresses the judges even more is the flow of the routine. It used to be gymnasts would jump from one bar to the next. That is now a deduction. So basically, once the gymnast jumps on the bar, they cannot stand on their feet until the landing, promoting a routine that really focuses on flow. 

That becomes even trickier when you add in releases: skills where the gymnasts let go of one bar and catch the other. The judges want to see the gymnasts keep the rhythm and flow of the routine as they combine releases together. Also, putting together those skills adds big time to the difficulty skill. 

And like every other event, while doing all these releases, turns, and flips, the toes have to stay pointed, the knees must be locked straight – unless it is a skill in a tucked position – and the legs must stay glued together. 

Lastly, it helps to stick the dismount. 

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