It’s been several days since Rhythmic gymnastics World Championship in Baku (Azerbaijan) but the pain stays the same. The feeling of hopelessness, the feeling that our beautiful sport is being slowly murdered.
The topic about judging has been largely discussed by Beautyinsport this season. Lastly we paid attention to the evolution of D-mark that now decides in most the result of competitions. If you receive 15 points for difficulty, it is not important anymore that you have 7, 8 or 9 for execution, especially if you are one of the best and referees give you under 8.7-8.9 only in very rear cases.
We reached situation where rhythmic gymnastics is difficulty after difficulty and had lost its rhythmic appeal. Even Vesela Dimitrova’s masterpieces executed perfectly are no more guarantee for gold even thought the whole world felt in love with them. Have you ever thought why our group, or Boryana Kaleyn, or Neviana Vladinova ot Katrin Taseva are famous world wide? Because their compositions make sense, because they are truly rhythmic gymnastics.
Going further – the only one option we see for saving rhythmic gymnastics is opening of E-mark that will stimulate coaches and choreographers’ creativity.
Beautyinsport combines the knowledge and experience in following and covering two beautiful sports – rhythmic gymnastics and figure skating. They both have similarities in judging the difficulty and execution. Based upon our skating knowhow we would like to give proposal for creating open E-mark and making it more important than it is now, closer to the D-score and having more weight in the final score.
At the moment the E-Panel is comprised of 6 judges, 2 of them evaluate the Artistic faults and 4 – Technical faults. The maximum mark is 10 points and the faults are deducted from it.
Here is an example from the just finished Worlds. At the 5 balls final Bulgaria received the highest execution mark: 8.750 points with -0.30 Artistic faults and -0.950 Technical faults.
What else this commission follows?
The Idea and Character of composition: to create whole artistic image with idea by movements of body and apparatus.
Connections: the composition must have technical, aesthetic and connecting elements.
Rhythm: the body and apparatus movements must represent the music.
Dynamic Changes: energy, power, speed that correspond to changes in the metronomic speed.
Body expression: every part of the body must follow the must and idea of the composition, emphasize the accents, etc.
Variety: directions and trajectories, various directions of using the apparatus.
Here we find the problem. The technical faults are seen often even by fans, you can notice if the form of the jump or balance is correct, if the end of the ribbon is dragging on the carpet. But we are not really sure do the judges have in mind all the above and if they judge it correctly and strictly.
Our idea for saving the E-score is to adapt the figure skating execution mark into gymnastics. In Rhythmics we have the components but they must be judged adequately. This is the protocol of Alina Zagitova’s free program at World championships this March where she won the title (We have written many times that publishing this protocols helps figure skating fans understand the scores).
Let’s check the program components (or the execution mark). What do we see? Score for skating skills, transitions, performance, composition, interpretation of the music. Does it look familiar? The scores are multiplied by factor and the sum gives the final score.
How can we combine them?
The six components in gymnastics can receive separate mark from each judge, according to the qualities and the whole impression of the composition and execution. So if a gymnast is very good with accenting the music she will receive 10 point in this component but if she lacks good facial impression will be penalized and will receive 7.5, for example. To receive above 10 points (and balance the heaviness of difficulty and execution) we must find factor that will multiplies them. The factor can be changed (as happened in figure skating with the rise of the technical elements and the numbers of quad jumps). At the moment we have 13-14 points for difficulty individually and above 20 for groups. So the factor for individual athletes can be 1.4 and for groups 1.8. And at the end of the whole result, that starts from 0, the penalties will be deducted.
Here is another example. This is Boryana Kaleyn with clubs at the all-around in Baku. Her score is 22.350, 14.100 difficulty, 8.250 execution (penalties: 0.7 artistry, 1.050 technical). How this score will look if we take the figure skating judging? (the marks for components are completely random).
Actually there is not huge difference with the situation now. Only the components will be added and judged individually to give more correct score for gymnast/group from the six judges. And as it’s now 2 will follow artistic faults, 4 technical faults.
We have subjective factor here, as in any refereeing sport. For example, Judge 1 likes lyrical compositions, Judge 2 – dynamic. Judge 3 is from Bulgaria, Judge 4 is from Italy. It is normal for this to be reflected in their marks. If there is 2 points or more of difference, the supervisors should check the situation, and eliminate favoritism.
With more strict evaluation of the qualities of gymnastics, composition, musical choice, the connections between the elements, and especially when that evaluation matters, choreographers will have to do much more to present a finished product, which will make the sport more interesting. That is how personal qualities, choice of music, choreography, idea will stand out. Gymnastics will return its glory.
What performance are you currently thinking of? You can share with us in a comment…
Written in colaboratin with Irena Markova.