artistry in 2013

Uncle Tim:

… for those of you looking for a “return to artistry” in the Code, well, that’s darn near impossible on the women’s side because the term “artistry” was largely absent from the first versions of the Code of Points. …

The Evolution of Artistry in Women’s Gymnastics: 1981-1984

Queen Elizabeth has a new post on artistry.

Unfortunately she does not arrive at any answers for FIG WTC.

The post includes a series of photo comparisons of Russian and American gymnasts. It was absolutely true that China & Russia have been far more artistic than the American gymnasts. Historically.

USA Russia

That’s changing, however.

In 2013 the Longines award for elegance went to an American gymnast. Legitimately.

Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney were two of the most artistic competitors at Worlds.

American gymnastics is getting more artistic. The gap closing.

Artistry hardly matters, unfortunately. E panels in 2013 do not much differentiate between most artistic and least. I don’t believe FIG will find a way to correct that. Artistry is too subjective to be consistently scored.

Read the post for yourself — Rewriting Russian GymnasticsThe State of the Art – Gymnastics in 2013

related – Gummi argues that Kyla is clean and precise, but not necessarily “artistic”.

He also notes that gymnasts from top nations are not much deducted for “poor artistry”, while those from the rest of the world are deducted heavily.


#1 Jacob on 12.30.13 at 2:05 pm

I completely agree with the last two statements. Kyla is actually a good example of how you can be an extremely clean gymnast but not be great on the artistry front. She is improving and has the potential, but I don’t think she is there yet. And I think that the last statement can be generalized. It is a pretty well known fact that gymnasts from not great gymnastics countries get deduction that the power houses don’t get. I mean Krystyna Sankova from Ukraine did a really good, powerful and artistic routine at Worlds and got like a 7.8 or even lower in execution, which was just crazy.

#2 Tdog on 12.30.13 at 3:13 pm

Compared to other gymnist from other countries; kyla is one of the most clean and artist gymnist in the world. You don’t need to be a expert or genius to see this.,don’t tell me that example: lordachevor a musty is more artistic

#3 Tommy on 12.30.13 at 6:39 pm

I’m so tired of this artistry debate. No one can satisfactorily define it. Is it exclusively possessed by Russians? In that case, their “artistry” is no more than toe-dragging and arm waving in a corner. Is it smiling and being happy and otherwise showing personality? In that case, Shawn Johnson and Simone Biles are the most artistic gymnasts. But contrary to popular belief, artistry isn’t about having long legs and perfect toe-point and form. It isn’t about having ballet for choreo. People need to accept that there are multiple interpretations of artistry. It isn’t a single concept that can be quantified. Is Kyla artistic? Her detractors would say no. But a lot of people would say yes (who got the Longines prize for elegance again?). Maybe in some respects she isn’t, but in many she could be. Also why are all the pictures in the article comparing Americans and Russians? There are more than two countries…what about the Romanians, known for their boring routines that were known for being devoid of any originality? Or the Chinese, who haven’t had an interesting beam routine with any hint of choreo in years? They FIG won’t fix the problem with the new code. The only thing I’ve seen in this quad was a lot of gymnasts standing in the corner like flamingos.

#4 balabanov11 on 12.31.13 at 12:17 am

Funny, for decades, artistry WAS adjudicated, subjectively, by judges educated in what to look for in an artistic performance, and by using their years of observation and knowledge. And we had decades of beautifully artistic performance, from many different teams, which included huge tumbling difficulty – a JUNIOR performed the following difficulty at 1984 Jr. Euros, pikefullin, 1.5 thru to dbl tuck, tuckfullin, in a routine legendary for its music, choreography, posture, flexibility, line, and emotional connection. It’s only since we’ve tried to make artistry “objective”, with the tired caveat that it’s unquantifiable, that we’ve had only a meager handful of routines with artistic quality.

#5 Jennifer on 12.31.13 at 10:35 am

The current COP is developed in such a way that there really isn’t room for artistry or innovation. In order to maximize D-score, the gymnast must move quickly from counted skill to counted skill with little consideration given to choreography and composition. I think I am most bothered by the lack of originality in routines today. Nearly every elite beam routine has the same core skills. Gymnasts can’t commit to actually dancing on FX because they need to conserve energy for four tumbling passes.

Personally, I would like to see a return to the scoring system similar to the one from 2004 where the women started at an 8.8 and could get up to a 10. That would allow differentiation for difficulty without the pressure of an open-ended D-score and hopefully allowing more room for artistry. It would also help reduce scoring potential discrepancies between events (a la the Amanar effect). Just my opinion.

#6 Clinton on 12.31.13 at 6:25 pm

The problem is people seem to confuse artistry with good form. Artistry is not good form. To me artistry is style, originality and flair, but there are other characteristics that make a routine great. When Sellathurai swings horse faster than anyone else it is amazing. When Uchimura does a kovacs with great height and kicks out with room to spare it makes you go wow. Is this artistic? I dunno, but it is great. Maybe we should break it down into separate components that are easier to define because nobody will ever agree on what artistry is.

#7 coach Rick on 12.31.13 at 9:03 pm

Risk – Originality – Virtuosity @ 0.2 each seemed to work quite well as a bonus system. Every routine had something unique.

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