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1949 Code of Points

1949: The Very First Men’s Code of Points

Gym nerds have heard of a magical 12-page Code of Points. But few have seen it.

Well, good news: We, the gymternet, now have it in our possession thanks to Kathi-Sue Rupp and Hardy Fink. 

A lot of gymnastics history goes back to the very first Code of Points from 1949.

For example, why do we call it a perfect 10? 

Because the 1949 Code of Points called it “exécution parfaite” (“perfect execution”). (Though, the phrase “exécution parfaite” had been used in previous rules, including the ones in place in 1924, during the first perfect 10 in Olympic history.)

You’ll notice that the entire document is in French. There wasn’t an official English translation.

Here are a few of the key sections translated for you into English. If you’d just like to download the French version, jump to the bottom of the page.


Foreword

In our artistic gymnastics competitions, the evaluation of exercises is done by judgment, and it is inevitable that the individuality of the judges will lead to differences in scores, despite all their competence and impartiality.

In order to reduce these differences of opinion to a minimum, the FIG has already introduced many regulatory provisions:

It has each exercise assessed by 4 judges, who give their marks independently of one another and only consult each other at the start of the competition in order to establish a starting base;

To these 4 judges, the FIG joins a referee to reach an agreement when the charges diverge beyond the limits set by the regulations;

Out of the 4 scores thus obtained, it excludes the two extreme scores, in order to avoid as much as possible the effects of a judge’s momentary failure;

And finally, it has inscribed in the rules the possibility of the immediate dismissal of an incompetent judge.

The “Code of Points” will mark a further step forward in improving the methods of evaluation, both internationally and nationally. It will give the panel of judges a more solid basis in establishing its evaluations, and the gymnast, for his part, will draw from it valuable instructions for his preparation for the competition.


Article 2

All the exercises, indiscriminately those scored by judgment and those scored by measurement, are evaluated from 0 to 10 points and by division into tenths of a point.

The scoring of exercises on apparatuses is done according to the following assessment scale:

a) Compulsory exercises:

0 points for non-execution
2 points for very faulty execution
4 points for mediocre execution
6 points for satisfactory execution
8 points for good execution
9 points for excellent execution
10 points for perfect execution

b) Voluntary (Optional) Exercises

Value of the exercise (difficulty 3 plus combination 2) = 5 points
Execution = 5 points
Total = 10 points

By analogy to the scale above, the two elements of the voluntary (optional) exercises — “value” and “execution” — are scored, each from 0 to 5 points, according to the table below:

ValuePointsExecution
non-execution0non-execution
distinctly insufficient1very faulty
inferior to the average2mediocre
average3satisfactory
good4good
superior4.5excellent
complete5perfect

Article 3

SCORING OF THE COMPULSORY EXERCISES

a) Perfect execution. The perfect exercise, which is entitled to the most points, is one that is presented with elegance, ease, and surety; in a rhythm and style well suited to the nature of the aesthetic exercise, without any fault, neither of posture nor of execution.

b) Faulty execution. Defects in execution and style are penalized by deducting a number of whole points or tenths of points, according to the following guidelines.

c) Analysis of the exercise. For the purposes of scoring, the compulsory exercise will be broken down into parts, and each part will be scored at a proportional value, a maximum of 10 points.

d) Lack of elegance in general. An exercise, although performed flawlessly but performed in a rhythm that is too fast or too slow, or with inappropriate use of strength will be worth less than the perfect exercise described under letter a. Penalties may go up to 3 tenths.

e) Stops, interruptions:

1. Without leaving the apparatus. A non-prescribed stop leads to a reduction in the score in proportion to the corresponding part of the exercise, and even an additional deduction if the stop facilitated the performance of the next part. Penalty for mild cases (hesitations) 2 tenths; if the interruption is more pronounced, the point loss will be 5 tenths, and even, in very serious cases, up to half the points awarded for the incorrectly executed part.

2. By releasing the apparatus completely. Letting go of the apparatus completely does not end the exercise, but the gymnast may resume the apparatus immediately — without any delay — continuing the exercise at the point where it has been interrupted. The interruption will be penalized, following the above information from 1.5 to 2 points.

(Only the essential part of the apparatus will be considered as “apparatus” in the sense of this article; for example, the uprights of the bars are not considered as apparatus, neither the feet nor the sides of the horse.)

3. By leaving the apparatus. The case of leaving the apparatus by taking a few steps away from it leads to the end of the exercise and the score will only relate to the parts performed.

(This does not affect the allowance left to the gymnast to restart the compulsory exercise if he deems it necessary).

f) Added movements. If a competitor adds one or several extraneous movements, there is a penalty of 3 to 5 tenths each time. Then, it will benecessary to see if the added movements facilitate the execution of the following part; in this case, the penalty may be increased by 1 to 5 tenths.

g) Movements not performed. A movement not performed will first result in the loss of the points affected by that movement, according to paragraph f above. If the element facilitates the part that follows it, then it will be necessary to add a supplementary penalty which may go up to a whole point.

h) Execution contrary to the text. If a movement of suppleness is performed with strength or vice versa, the gymnast will lose up to ¼ of the points assigned to this movement.

i) Holds. The duration of the prescribed holds (horizontal suspensions, inverted supports, etc.) will normally be 3 seconds. For the penalty see letter j.

[…]

l) Presentation, landings. All exercises should start and end with good body position. Above all, the landing must be done with elegance and sureness.

Penalties: Small step or hop when landing 1/10 to 2/10
Poor body position both at the start of the exercise and on the landing 1/10 to 2/10.
Several steps or hops 2/10 to 3/10.
Fall on the pelvis, on the knees or on the hands 5/10 to 6/10.


Article 4

VOLUNTARY (OPTIONAL) EXERCISE

a) Value of the exercise. In the evaluation of the optional exercise, a new element is added to that of perfect execution: the value of the exercise as determined by combination and difficulty.

b) Combination. The exercise must correspond to the specific “kind” of apparatus, according to FIG technical regulations.

We will require a well-constructed exercise with original parts or links, a nice mount and a valuable dismount. The essential parts must be connected in an elegant way and followed without additional swings, nor excessive repetitions, nor too easy parts compared to the general difficulty required.

The voluntary (optional) exercise must differ significantly from the compulsory exercise and present a different combination, especially the dismount. However, including one movement or connecting parts of the compulsory routine does not necessarily constitute a fault of combination, if the connections before and after these parts are different.

The duration of the floor exercise (free exercise) will be one minute minimum to two minutes maximum.

Penalties:

1) If the combination looks too much like the compulsory exercise, deduct up to 1 full point, not to mention that less difficulty will result in an additional loss.

2) Superfluous swings, parts or connections without value, broken momentum, 1/10 to 3/10.

3) Combination not in accordance with the type of exercise specific to the apparatus 2/10 to 5/10.

4) If the duration of the floor exercise does not correspond to the above prescriptions, it will be subject to penalty, but the jury will refrain from excessively pedantic rationale, because the exercise that is too short will lack in difficulty and the exercise that is too long is usually due to execution errors. The loss will be 1/10 to 3/10 at most.

5) Maximum loss for the faulty combination: 2 points (according to article 2).

c) Difficulty. For difficulty, we will require that the optional exercise be more difficult than the compulsory exercise, and that it have a duration (number of parts) similar to the compulsory exercise.

[…]

Where there isn’t a compulsory exercise at a competiton, the rules will specify, either

  1. If it is necessary to make the comparsion with the exercises carried out in the last competition of the same kind (Championships, Olympic Games, etc.) or
  2. If the exercise is to include a minimum number of essential parts, e.g. at least 10. (In this case, however, we should not lose sight of the fact that the duty to control this number will seriously hamper the judge’s concentration).

[…]

d) Execution. For the execution of the voluntary (optional) exercise, we will be guided by the rules enumerated in art. 3 (compulsory exercise).

Special attention should be paid to perfect ease and technique. The exercise must be adapted to the ability of the gymnast with regard to difficulty and the combination. ​​Exercises that are too difficult for the gymnast to perform completely or without difficulty, will be deducted severely because, in artistic gymnastics, the gymnast must be able to control his body with elegance and sureness.

[…]


Related:

1964: The Men’s Code of Points

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