How is Olympic gymnastics scored?

In Olympic gymnastics, the score for an athlete is based on two different components; the Execution Score and Difficulty Score.

Each Execution Score starts at 10.0 points. The judges on the execution panel deduct points for errors, such as steps on landings, falls, flexed feet, bent knees, etc. The Difficulty Score starts at zero, and an athlete will earn points for composition requirements, difficulty of the elements and connection value. In women’s gymnastics, each routine receives points for the eight most difficult elements, while in men’s gymnastics, 10 are counted. 

How do you calculate a team score in gymnastics?

For the team event in gymnastics, there are two rounds. In qualifications, four athletes compete on each apparatus, with the three top scores counting for each team. Those three scores are added together for the team score. From the qualification round, the top-eight teams advance to the finals, where three athletes from each team compete on each apparatus. All of the scores are tallied, and the highest score wins. 

How is a gymnast’s final score determined?

For each Olympic gymnastics event, nine judges are chosen from a pool of multinational candidates approved by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG). They are categorized into three groups:

D-panel: This panel calculates the Difficulty Score.

E-panel: This panel calculates the Execution Score.

Reference panel: This panel corrects any problems with the Execution Score.

Two judges sit on the D-panel and determine the Difficulty Score. A routine has a set difficulty score that is calculated starting from 0 and determined by combining the total difficulty value achieved through each skill and connection.

Six judges sit on the E-panel to determine a routine’s Execution Score. This is determined by the execution and artistry of a gymnast’s routine. This score starts at 10.0 and deductions are made for various errors.

The difficulty score and execution score are combined for the final score. A score under the current Code of Points typically lands between 12 and 15 points.

Final Score = [Difficulty + Execution] - Any neutral deductions

Difficulty Score

Both judges on the D-panel individually record a Difficulty Score. This includes the dismount. The two judges compare scores following the completion of a routine and reach a consensus, which becomes the Difficulty Score.

The difficulty value of a routine is determined by totaling the values of the most difficult skills in the routine. The eight most difficult skills are counted for the women and the 10 most difficult skills are counted for the men. Each element is assigned a set difficulty value as outlined in the Code of Points. Elements must be performed as technically described to receive the difficulty value and can only be performed once in an exercise.

Judges also award connection values on every event, except for vault, for unique combinations of elements. These connections are evaluated at 0.1 or 0.2 points.

Composition requirements are the basic skills or elements that must be included and differ by apparatus. The men define ‘composition requirements’ as Element Groups in their Code of Points. If all the requirements are included, a maximum of 2.5 points are rewarded.

Vault is the only apparatus that has a predetermined difficulty score, which is shown to the judges on a scoreboard at the beginning of the runway. The difficulty score is assigned to each vault in the Code of Points.

Execution Score

Six judges on the E-panel independently record a routine’s Execution Score. The highest and lowest scores are dropped, with the four remaining scores averaged for the final Execution Score. The score is determined based on the execution and artistry of a routine with deductions for falls, errors in technique and execution. Deductions range from 0.1 to 1.0. Neutral deductions can be taken for stepping out of bounds, violating time requirements, as well as attire or podium violations. 

Final Score

The gymnast's final score is determined by totaling the Difficulty Score and the Execution Score, then subtracting any neutral deductions. 

Are there penalties in gymnastics?

In gymnastics, penalties come in the form of neutral deductions. These deductions range from 0.10 to 0.50 and are subtracted from a gymnast's final score. Examples of neutral deductions:

  • 0.10 - Stepping out of bounds with one foot, warming up on the podium before the start of a routine, finishing a routine past the 90-second time limit, etc. 

  • 0.30 - Stepping out of bounds with two feet, not saluting the judges before or after a routine, the gymnast not having their nation's emblem on their uniform or competing without their competition bid number pinned to their uniform, etc. 

  • 0.50 - A coach spotting a gymnast during the routine. 

Penalties can be disputed by athletes and coaches by submitting an inquiry.


An inquiry is a verbal challenge of a routine’s score. It is followed by a written inquiry that must be submitted before the end of the rotation. The challenge can only be brought forward after the gymnast’s final score is posted and before the end of the next gymnast’s routine. A fee is required for filing an inquiry and is returned if the inquiry is upheld. It can be resolved by using video review.

A score can be raised, lowered, or remain the same as a result of an inquiry.

What is a perfect score in gymnastics?

The Code of Points was introduced in 2006 to allow for a more open-ended scoring system. It removed the ‘Perfect 10’ (earned by a 10.0 execution score) but that doesn’t mean a gymnast can no longer receive a perfect score for their routine.

Now, a perfect score for a gymnast would be receiving no deductions from the judges, while also completing their planned routine with full difficulty. Under the open-ended scoring system, no gymnast has received a perfect score. 

What is the lowest score you can get in gymnastics?

The lowest score you can receive in gymnastics is a zero. This is most commonly seen on the vault. A gymnast can receive a zero if their hands do not touch the vaulting table, they fail to land feet first, they perform the same vault twice, they receive significant spotting assistance during the vault or fail to use the safety collar for round-off entry vaults. The gymnast is allowed to stop mid-run and attempt their vault again as long as their feet do not touch the springboard and their hands do not touch the vault table. If they do, this counts and the gymnast will receive a zero. 

Are there banned gymnastics moves in the Olympics?

There are several banned moves in men’s and women’s gymnastics. 

In men’s gymnastics, the Code of Points states that a vault is invalid if a salto (a forward flip without touching the ground with your arms) is performed in the first-flight phase, or if the athlete has straddled legs in the second flight phase.

In women’s gymnastics, the Code of Points states that vaults with sideward takeoffs or landings are prohibited, as well as dismounts on uneven bars where the gymnast takes off from two feet, dance elements with a cross-sit landing on the balance beam or, in floor routines, acrobatic elements with sideward takeoffs or that land in a forward roll. 

In women’s gymnastics, there are also elements that have a reduced value due to safety concerns, including the Biles, a double-twisting, double somersault dismount off the balance beam, as well as the Biles II, a Yurchenko double pike vault.