Judge’s Inquiry: Breaking Down a Week 3 Routine on Each Event

With over 30 competitions packed full of flips, twists, leaps, and stuck landings, it was difficult to pick just one routine from Week 3. So this week, by request, I’m going to break down one on each event.

Vault: Andi Li (Cal)

Yurchenko Full – Start Value – 9.95

  • Flexed feet, first phase (-0.100; judges likely did not see from their angle)
  • Flexed feet, second phase (-0.100)
  • Leg separation, first phase (-0.050; judges likely did not see from their angle)
  • Leg separation, second phase (-0.050)
  • Small step (-0.050)
  • Direction (-0.050)

Obviously, the judges did not take all the deductions that I did, and I also had a different angle than they did. However, other than the leg separation and feet on the flight from the board to the table, the judges should have been able to see all the deductions. Unlike on every other event, flexed feet on vault is a flat one-tenth deduction instead of a half a tenth. Additionally, when we judge vault, we deduct for errors in each of the three phases of the vault: the pre-flight (first flight), support phase (on the table) and post flight (in the air and the landing). So if an athlete has flexed feet throughout the entire vault, she would lose three tenths off her score, as opposed to a half-tenth deduction per element on all other events. I also took a small direction error because both feet are landing left of the center of the mat, but judges do not have clear guidelines for applying direction deductions, so this may vary widely from judge to judge.

My Score: 9.700

Panel Score: 9.750

Bars: Sloane Blakely (Florida)

Leg separation, cast handstand (-0.050)

Leg separation, cast handstand half turn (-0.050)

Leg separation, Maloney (-0.050)

Usually these are freebie deductions, meaning the judges don’t take them because they can’t see it from the side. But from the picture, her legs are also a bit uneven, with her left leg slightly higher than the right. With the legs being uneven as well as separated, it increases the likelihood that the judges could see the error from the side view.

Leg separation front giant (-0.050)

Leg separation, double front dismount (-0.050)

Trunk movements to maintain balance on landing (-0.050)

Blakely has her legs apart each time she completes her kip; I didn’t take the deduction on the high bar since she ended up doing a straddle cast handstand, but as both the low bar casts were straight body, it would be a deduction. However, it’s unlikely that the judging panel, or any other judge, would see the kip cast leg separation from the side and at full speed, so I’ll give these back to her in my final score calculations.

As for her dismount, having your knees slightly apart (a “cowboy” position) while doing a double front is allowed for safety reasons. However, Blakely’s knees are wider than her shoulders, which is more than what would be required to ensure she doesn’t accidentally knee herself in the face if she under-rotated, so I would take a deduction for the leg separation here. 

My Score: 9.800

Panel Score: 9.775

Beam: Aliyah Reed-Hammon (Fisk)

Balance error, full turn (-0.050)

Bent leg, back handspring (-0.050)

Incomplete split, split jump (-0.050)

Balance error, split jump three-quarter (-0.050)

Pike down, gainer layout full off side (-0.050)

This routine was an example of an excellent routine that had a lot of little things that weren’t quite there yet. The wobble on the full turn is so slight, and I doubt the judges took anything. Her only obvious error was the wobble on the split three-quarter, so I can see how the panel could have gotten such a big score for her by overlooking some of the small things. However, I think it is important that we take these small deductions so we can reward the athletes that are doing these skills without any issues. Additionally, these are all easily fixed errors that should not be concerning at Week 3. I’m sure we can expect to continue to see great beam routines from Reed-Hammon in the future.

My Score: 9.750

Panel Score: 9.925

Floor: Abby Paulson (Utah)

Leg separation, back two and a half twist (-0.05)

Under turn, switch leap full (-0.1)

Her feet and hips should be facing the same way as her head, toward the corner.

The crossed legs are very hard to see on the video with the quality but was likely seen by the panel. Another giveaway for crossed legs is that she lands with one leg in front of the other, not side by side, which you can tell by the way she steps out of the skill by quickly picking up the back leg and stepping forward. On her leap pass, the judges would be within their rights to take up to two tenths for the incomplete turn, as well as potentially devalue the D to a C since she is right on that three-quarter turn mark.

Paulson has a 10.0 start value even without the switch full bonus, so we would not know if the judges devalued the jump or not. Either way, her switch leap full was definitely the biggest deduction in her routine.

My Score: 9.850

Panel Score: 9.825

READ THIS NEXT: Judge’s Inquiry: Breaking Down LSU’s Entire Bar Lineup From the Oklahoma Dual

Article by Rhiannon Franck

Rhiannon Franck is a former national-rated NAWGJ women’s gymnastics judge with over 15 years of USAG judging experience and nine seasons judging NCAA gymnastics. Outside of gymnastics, Franck works at a university as a nursing professor and loves to travel. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Like what you see? Consider donating to support our efforts throughout the year!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.