Understanding what goes into men’s gymnastics scoring can be complicated at first if you don’t have an in-depth knowledge of the sport. Scoring in gymnastics is determined by a panel of judges much like other Olympic sports like Figure skating or Ski jumping. Points are awarded by these judges are based on a series of factors that vary from event to event.
- Men’s gymnasts compete in six events. These events are the floor exercise, vault, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar. Each men’s gymnastics event requires different skills from a gymnast. For that reason, different factors influence how points are awarded in each event.
- Tumbling skills are tested in the floor exercise. A gymnast is judged on their ability to incorporate multiple twists and jumps, both going forward and backward, while making tumbling passes. Scoring in this men’s gymnastics event is based on controlled movement and execution of the routine.
- Scoring is straightforward with the vault. Judges measure height, distance, acceleration and landing to determine points. Gymnasts can earn a good score in their vault routine if they “stick the landing,” which involves landing on the mat with no step in either direction.
- Parallel bars in men’s gymnastics mirror uneven bars in women’s gymnastics. Scoring is determined by how well a gymnast can swing from one bar to another while releasing and grasping the bars again at different intervals. Extra points can be gained on the parallel bars by performing handstands or other difficult feats on one bar.
- Nonstop swinging is a feature of the horizontal bar. A gymnast must execute execute giant swings without stopping while simultaneously changing direction, position and grip on the bar. The bulk of scoring comes during dismount. A high-flying release executed with multiple twists, flips and no extra steps on the landing will earn higher points when judges are scoring the event.
- Strength dictates scoring on the still rings. One reason is that strength is required more for the rings than any other men’s gymnastics event because of the unstable nature. It is usually difficult to earn high points in the rings. A gymnast must keep the rings from moving even while they execute swinging movements and position their bodies into holds designed to test their strength.
- Scoring on the pommel horse is as complex as the event itself. Points are determined by how precisely a gymnast executes a series of intricate hand movements as they swing about the pommel horse in a continuous circular fashion. The entire exercise is judged by the gymnast’s ability to show controlled rhythm. Precise timing and excellent balance are valued by the judges above all else for this particular men’s gymnastics event.
- Men’s gymnastics scoring is traditionally based on the 10 point scale. A 10.0, or “perfect ten” is the highest possible score on this scale. Starting with 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, a 10.0 is no longer the threshold for a perfect score in men’s gymnastics. Gymnasts are now scored separately on execution and degree of difficulty for each event and the two scores are combined to get the overall score. Scoring under this new system can range from 14 to 17 for the best gymnasts.