Grandi on London

FIG President, Bruno Grandi, shares “a few thoughts and impressions from the London 2012 Olympic Games”:


I was particularly impressed by the Rhythmic Gymnastics judging panels. …

The judging in the Trampoline Gymnastics is worthy of special praise

Turning to Artistic Gymnastics, I must, by contrast, express my regret and disappointment at the incident relating to the score awarded to Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura in the Team Pommel Horse. This disagreeable situation unfolded right before the eyes of the IOC President, who was present in the arena.

We urgently need to undertake a comprehensive review of the way we handle appeals. … so that the spectacle of coaches crossing the competition area, waving banknotes in the air, is not something that is ever repeated.

Recall in that embarrassing incident that Uchimura’s score on Pommels was raised and — as a result — Japan took the Silver medal as a Team, over host GBR.

I’ve since spoken to a number of experts convinced that Kohei’s score should not have been raised. Japan should not have won Silver.

I’m less than incensed over that, however. Considering how many times Kohei has been under-rewarded for Execution, over the years.

I would also like to touch on the appeal by Team USA over the score awarded to Alexandra Raisman in the final of the Beam. The Jury accepted the appeal, which meant that Raisman ousted Romania’s Catalina Ponor from the bronze medal position on the podium. …

It’s easy to argue that Ponor should have won that medal.

I’d like to know exactly what happened there. :(

the rules applied in tie-break situations. Do we really need to separate two gymnasts who are locked together on identical scores, down to a thousandth of a point?

Take, for example, Mustafina and Raisman in the final of the All-around competition, who were locked together on 59.566 after the four pieces of apparatus. There was a similar situation with Mustafina and Ferrari in the final of the women’s Floor exercise; then there was the case I referred to above involving Raisman and Ponor in the Beam, not to mention the situations involving Berki/Smith and Uchimura/Ablyazin.

The issue of how to resolve ‘dead-heat’ situations has long given risen to debate, but the FIG has taken a firm position, and chosen to adhere to the principle of equal ranking.

I’m confused on that. Who is stopping the FIG from awarding ties. The IOC?

If so, leave a comment with link explaining that rule.

Personally I’d like to see it made more mathematically difficult for ties to arise. Tie breaks wouldn’t be needed so often.

I thought the Artistic judging MAG and WAG was lousy. The D-panels giving credit for almost anything. And the E-panels boxing the scores, penalizing those with good execution (e.g. Uchimura) and rewarding those with poor form & extension.

If the Execution judges had a wider range from best to worst, it would help. A lot.

It was a relief to get through — for Grandi — with no worse scandals in the mainstream media. Of course those reflect badly on him. And he’s running for reelection in October.

Read the entire open letter.

24 comments ↓

#1 Hell Yes Komachi on 09.11.12 at 7:00 am

It’s bizarre that they still have the fee for a score protest when there are so many other sports around (especially ones that get a lot more coverage than gymnastics) that handle the situation so much better. Most sports simply have a limit on the number of decision appeals that they can make. They could just make a limit of 1 or 2 incorrect score appeals per competition so that people won’t be able to abuse it.

#2 ggg on 09.11.12 at 7:25 am

The IOC shouldn’t be stopping them from awarding two medals for ties considering they happily give out paired medals on some sports where the pair of athletes didn’t even tie.
Judo, taekwondo and wrestling award two bronze medals in every category as the norm. As the fights are obviously in pairs and two pairs go to the semi finals – the two who lose their respective semi final each get a bronze medal instead of them both having to fight each other for the bronze.

#3 Ono No Komachi on 09.11.12 at 9:51 am

You are not that upset Ukraine potentially lost an Olympic team medal because Uchimura was supposedly underscored in some other meets? Four other guys on the Japanese team got a team medal who may or may not have been ripped off by judges in the past.

One could argue that situation was worse than the EF because more people got screwed.

The problem with the Uchimura appeal was the sight of somebody waving money in the judge’s faces. They could just fill put a form with a credit card number so it’s a bit more discreet.

#4 Hutch on 09.11.12 at 10:22 am

“Gymnastics used to give out duplicate medals at the Olympics. In a bit of irony, Liukin’s father, Valeri, got one of his gold medals at the 1988 Olympics after tying teammate Vladimir Artemov on high bar. But the International Olympic Committee told the gymnastics federation to stop sharing medals after the Atlanta Games, and a tie-break system was implemented in 1997.”

Source: http://espn.go.com/olympics/gymnastics/story/_/id/8072558/gymnastics-alters-tie-breaking-rules-allow-shared-medals

#5 Hutch on 09.11.12 at 10:23 am

As to why, I’m not sure yet.

#6 shergymrag on 09.11.12 at 12:31 pm

“If the Execution judges had a wider range from best to worst, it would help. A lot. ”

They’ve got ten whole points to work with. Why do they need any more.

#7 anonymous on 09.11.12 at 12:32 pm

Has anyone seen or is able to provide a D score breakdown of Raisman’s BB from finals? I’d love to understand the details of the appeal better.

I THINK Grandi is mainly talking about the appearances of score appeals here more than actually commenting on the specific results, but I’m not sure, there might be something lost in translation. It is a tough issue, D score appeals confuse the audience and can give an appearance of impropriety (esp w/ the cash payment!), but it’s simply unfair to get rid of appeals/reviews altogether, because there’s no way to eliminate human error.

#8 kai on 09.11.12 at 12:40 pm

I agree anonymous. I don’t think Grandi is talking about the results of the appeal. It sounds like he doesn’t like the way the appeals were conducted: it took too long, the coaches flashing money around looked bad, etc. Basically, he’s embarrassed that the japan appeal happened in front of the IOC president. I’m not sure what he wants to change about the appeals, he wants them to be shorter? surely when we’re talking about the difference between 2nd and 4th, the decision shouldn’t be rushed? Plus there were other appeals made during the olympics that weren’t given as much attention because they didn’t happen at the end. (eg hambuchen appealed his ph score during the AA) I find his entire letter confusing. He asks a lot of questions that he doesn’t answer. If he doesn’t like the tie-breaker rule, then he has the power to try and change it.

#9 kai on 09.11.12 at 12:57 pm

Basically, I have no problems with the way appeals are done. There have been many athletes who have been screwed over in the past due to mistakes on their d-score. The cash may look bad for those unfamiliar with the rules, but the commentators should be explaining how the process works. Grandi is only upset because two of these appeals happened at the end with important people watching.

#10 Jason on 09.11.12 at 4:16 pm

There should not be any need to pay for an appeal. Do you see tennis players needing to pay to challenge a line call? Of course not, it doesn’t make any sense.

#11 Clinton on 09.11.12 at 4:19 pm

Grandi is just upset that people saw money being waved around. He wants the money to be paid discreetly like Zou Kai did in 2008.

#12 whodawhatta on 09.11.12 at 7:00 pm

Some may misunderstand my comment, but I think the appeal, cash waving and all was great for the PR of fhe sport. The old world charm, the embarrassed beaurocrats, the different countries trying to communicate, and subjective public opinion. Wow! The sport can use the attention. What if tiebreakers created a playoff like in golf? It could extend the climax. Turn it into a positive.

#13 Jason on 09.11.12 at 9:17 pm

“a playoff like in golf”

Nobody knows what a playoff in golf might look like since nobody can stay awake while watching golf to actually find out.

#14 Olympic Fan on 09.11.12 at 10:33 pm

I think it’s important for a delegation to be able to protest for video review when appropriate. As for the ones mentioned. Kohei was given a gift IMO and anybody who thinks Catalinas routine where she wobbled for than stood still deserved higher than Raisman is insane IMO.

#15 Hell Yes Komachi on 09.11.12 at 10:53 pm

Golf?? Bahaha, as if anyone actually watches golf!

#16 Ono No Komachi on 09.11.12 at 11:01 pm

Far more people watch golf than watch gymnastics. There is entire TV channel devoted to it.

#17 Anonymous on 09.12.12 at 12:10 am

Rick – can you make sure I stay anonymous here. Thanks.

I heard a lot of the talk among the coaches of various countries directly after this happened (including UK and Ukraine but not Japan). There was a general lack of understanding as to why one would wave money around – normally it is handled a lot more discreetly and no-one was doubting that the Japanese Federation would pay its debts. Several commented that they didn’t understand the amount of the score correction – apparently it did not correlate to the missing points for the dismount. This contributed to the feeling that the correction was not fair.

For Grandi it couldnt have happened in a worse, “more embarassing” way – but surely that was a fluke. Uchimura was the last man up. Once his score was up the final results stood and jubilation broke out. If Uchimura had been first up, then this would have been cleared up before the final results were shown. Perhaps the Japanese coach wouldn’t have panicked and would have handled the appeal more discreetly too.

I hate the tie breaks – and don’t understand what Grandi wrote. I think the medals should be awarded to those with the highest score and if that means 2 golds or whatever then that is what it should be.

Having said that, if there has to be a tie break then I certainly felt Raisman deserved her beam bronze. I was stunned to see Ponor initially with a higher score and not in the least surprised to see it contested.

#18 Hell Yes Komachi on 09.12.12 at 12:24 am

It’s called the insomnia channel

#19 caly on 09.12.12 at 1:42 am

This is more Ukraine being robbed by GBR…

#20 Lee on 09.12.12 at 4:50 am

Caly. Don’t you mean Ukraine being robbed by Japan. Have you forgotten that GBR were second before the appeal. Only when Japan were upgraded did Ukraine lose out on their medal! Regardless of how GBR were dropped to 3rd it was always Japan that caused Ukraine to miss out.

#21 Ono No Komachi on 09.12.12 at 9:35 am

Does anyone understand the amount of points Uchimura’s score went up by? Anyone?

#22 TCO on 09.12.12 at 2:03 pm

They should allow ties and tell the IOC to pack sand. It is insane to differentiate same score gymnasts for some subtleties about range or execution or the like. When the composite score is identical to thousandths.

#23 dp on 09.15.12 at 3:54 pm

Sure they have a ten point range to work with, but they only ever use and only ever have used about three of those points.
It would, however, upset me to see scores drop considerably from amping up deductions… The judges just need to actually deduct on the obvious deductions, no way was Paseka’s amanar deserving of a score that close to Maroney’s.

#24 WW on 09.18.12 at 6:57 am

For those who think that Raisman’s routine was superior to Ponor’s: this is what is wrong with the sport. English-language television commentators (outside of the BBC) have ceased to do anything but be cheerleaders – mostly for the Americans – and gossip mongers. Instead of any sort of commentary pointing out the finer details of the routine, we get it reduced to “did she/land without a wobble? then collect a big score (but only if you are American or Russian)”. If the judges had deducted for the obvious form errors, Raisman wouldn’t have been that close to Ponor, even with a Caterina falling.
General lack of finesse and a myriad of small errors were visible throughout Raisman’s routine. Raisman also did not deserve the credit for some of the connections she was given in that routine.

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