open letter to Steve Butcher

I resigned from FIG judging in 2006, partly in response to my disappointment in FIG abandoning the “perfect 10″ judging system. Partly in disappointment with the FIG Men’s Judging program under your predecessor, Adrian Stoica. Especially how the Men’s judges bungled the 2004 Olympics under Stoica’s watch.


But with your election as new chair of the Men’s Technical Committee, I’m inspired to make a comeback, sending a request to rejoin the ranks of Canadian judges.

I’d advise, Steve, that I’m one judge who applies the rules as written. Attending Worlds in 2010 and 2011, it was obvious that Execution panels were not doing so. Gymnasts like Zou Kai on horizontal bar were not being deducted for poor form and line.

Is this layout?

Those screen grabs I took from Zou Kai’s London Team Qualification routine. (VIDEO)

Yes Zou Kai qualified to the Final, as usual.

If there’s some unwritten Code being used, Steve, I’ll not apply it. Expect me to go out high on Uchimura and low on Zou Kai if ever assigned to judge them.

Enthusiastic for the future, as a judge I’d love to be part of the solution, not the problem.

related – my Report Card on last cycle’s MAG rules.


#1 WW on 11.02.12 at 6:58 am

Seriously? The BS “perfect 10″ days?

#2 shergymrag on 11.02.12 at 8:42 am

The perfect 10 wasn’t BS. It was the judges that were BS and still are. Doesn’t matter what system you use, if the judges don’t follow the rules, all you’ll end up with is BS.

#3 coach Rick on 11.02.12 at 9:14 am

I was only marginally in favour of keeping the 10.0 maximum at the time. In fact, we had experimented with the current system in Canada — with mixed results.

The changed FIG rules have been worse. Less fair. More dangerous. A “ticking time bomb”.

And we’ve lost the marketing potential of the “perfect 10″. They still have it WAG USA and WAG NCAA. And I love it.

#4 Ono No Komachi on 11.02.12 at 10:43 am

I think what you meant to say is you would be fair to Zou and Uchimura, which would result in Zou scoring lower than he has and Uchimura scoring higher.

I hope.

Zou Kai isn’t the only guy with the problem in that second screen grab….

#5 Ono No Komachi on 11.02.12 at 10:50 am

Check out Dvora Myers blog for a perspective on the idea the loss of the 10 caused gymnastics to decline in popularity.

If the judgeing is BS, going back to the 10 won’t fix that problem.

#6 coach Rick on 11.02.12 at 12:35 pm

I’ll apply the rules, fair or not.

I know I promised to stop using Zou Kai — the most successful Chinese gymnast all time — as my bad example, but his layout Yamawaki is the worst I can recall of any international gymnast.

#7 shergymrag on 11.02.12 at 2:09 pm

“I’ll apply the rules, fair or not. ”

Really. You’ve kind of implied other times that you wouldn’t apply the rules.

Like this time from the Produnova .gif post.

“It reminds me of the first triple backs on Floor. Men’s judges were very reluctant to take any deduction, other than landing.

“When somebody proves you can do it with knees together, we’ll start deducting.”

That was our thinking, regardless of what was written in the Code. “

#8 coach Rick on 11.02.12 at 3:02 pm


Good point.

I’ll apply the rules 99% of the time. :)

#9 Ono No Komachi on 11.03.12 at 9:23 am

Butcher states he was apparatus supervisor for PH, and agreed with the panel that did not credit Uchimura’s dismount.

Maybe you could ask him how the Funk and Wagnells that score went up by 0.7.

I can’t believe people just sort of forgot about that part.

#10 shergymrag on 11.03.12 at 12:47 pm


Good point.

I’ll apply the rules 99% of the time.”

Which will still result in a 100% broken code.

#11 … on Uchimura’s Pommel dismount — Gymnastics on 11.05.12 at 3:05 am

[…] got a welcoming reply from my Open Letter to Steve Butcher, newly elected Men’s Technical Chair for […]

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