score elegance, not artistry?

The new Gym Geek blog summarizes recent discussion on artistry in gymnastics, comparing wildly different types of routines:

Viktoria Komova vs. Lloimincia Hall – floor routines

Nastia Liukin vs. Shawn Johnson – Beijing beam

… I for one find it very interesting that many fans mis-label elegance as artistry.

As elegance is a more quantifiable and narrower subset of artistry, it would seem that it would be easier to judge and reward within the code.

However, is this really a goal to strive for?

In the case of Simone Biles or Shawn Johnson, their artistry may very well lie in their power and execution of tremendous tumbling and their ability to sell a routine to the crowd. …

Gym Geek – Fans don’t REALLY want more artistic gymnastics

That is must read for anyone interested in the artistry dilemma.

My own solution to the dilemma is simple. Drop deductions for artistry from the Code. Reward difficulty, but only when very well executed.

Prior to the 2004 Olympics Courtney McCool was my favourite to win the AA. As clean and precise as any gymnast in Athens.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

That’s one of MCSMaria’s favourite routines.

Courtney went on to win NCAA titles on Beam, Floor and Team. :-)

Thanks Marcus.

Published by

coach Rick

Career gymnastics coach from Calgary, Canada.

15 thoughts on “score elegance, not artistry?”

  1. How is the modern code unfair to Nastia Liukin? She is an Olympic AA Champion. The main reason Komova isn’t one is blind luck, not the code.

    Fans of women’s gymnastics like talking about artistry and want to see it (whatever it is), so that part of the COP for WAG is not going away any time soon.

  2. This is basically like gymnasts should perform routines NAKED. Drop the Leos and “Reward difficulty, but only when very well executed”. We’ll end up with full difficulty StripNastics, after midnight. “Fans don’t REALLY want more artistic gymnastics”!!!!. Taking this notion & rationale, I think Fans want more of StripNastics. People, hello, we are looking for a solution for the problem. There is a difference between solving something and complicating or killing it.

    Wake up

  3. just because it is the opinion of ONE MISINFORMED “WRITER” that “some” fans misunderstand “elegance” for “artistry”, doesn’t mean
    a) that’s it’s true
    b) that that has ANYTHING to do with the discussion.

    gymnastics has a basic level of “elegance” required only in that there is a standard, decades long understanding of basic bodyline, conditioning, flexibility and understanding of movement energy that all CONTRIBUTE to artistic expression in the sport. Shawn Johnson was not, and Simone Biles is not artistic because nothing they formerly do, sans big difficulty, evinces any concern for communication thru artistic expression. That NEITHER of them are examples of properly conditioned gymnasts is regrettable, but not by itself responsible for their lack of artistry.

    And anyone who is a true student of the sport and its history knows this. Starting a blog or a website doesn’t necessarily mean you know anything about gymnastics,’ it’s raison d’etre, or its history, as some posters in this argument continue to prove.

  4. Oh please Ono, the MAGS are already treated basically like Victoria Secret models by every media coverage they get – the ONLY time you see them with their shirts on is when they compete. MAGS are the HOOTERS waitresses of gymnastics.

  5. The point is that Uchimura and his fellows consistently appear fully clothed in the Japanese media. I actually have never seen the Japanese men shirtless outside of training gym vids. The same could be said for the Chinese.

    Zou Kai certainly never worried about any artistry score, but he somehow avoided ending up doing Stripnastics after midnight.

    Not having an artistry score in WAG might do a lot of things, but leading to nude competitions is not one of them.

  6. Going to the dictionary isn’t going to help define artistry in gymnastics. Artistry is working with the music, expression, and creativity (eg not just throwing your arms in the air every time there is an accent in the music). Elegant gymnasts do tend to be considered more artistic than they actually are, that’s true – but it’s ridiculous to say that gym fans are only interested in elegance. Everyone went nuts over Julie Croket, for example, and she’s hardly “elegant”.

    Gym Geek claims that in the case of Biles and Johnson, their power and execution is artistry – no, difficult tumbling comes under the D score and execution is rewarded with the E score. Why reward it twice over? That’s silly.

    Judges need to be trained to recognize artistry objectively, which is possible. Or have a separate artistry score, decided by judges who have actually trained in dance. The solution to biased artistry judging is not to get rid of dance; it’s to fix the judging!

  7. Oh, Courtney McCool. God, I loved her–the best US dancer in Athens. Her FX was just gorgeous. Marta really shafted her in finals.

Leave a Comment