How do judges score Olympic rhythmic gymnastics routines?


Individual routines are performed to music and last from 75 to 90 seconds. A penalty of 0.05 points will be assessed for every second over or under the time allowed. The clock begins as soon as the gymnast begins moving and stops as soon as the gymnast is motionless. The gymnast is required to be in contact with her apparatus before beginning her routine. She also is obliged to finish her exercise either holding her apparatus or having any part of her body in contact with it.

As a general guideline, faults are assessed according to degree. For small faults, 0.10 points are subtracted from a competitor's score. For medium faults, 0.30 points are deducted; for major faults, the penalty is 0.50 or greater.

The judging panel consists of three groups of judges: D-panel (difficulty), A-panel (artistry), E-panel (execution). 

The D-panel includes four judges who determine the difficulty score of a routine. They evaluate the routine's technical value, including body difficulty (jumps, leaps, balances), apparatus mastery and originality, dynamic elements (throws and rotations of apparatus) and dance step combinations. The highest and lowest scores are dropped, and the middle two scores are averaged. The maximum D score is 10.0 points.

The A-panel is comprised of four judges who evaluate the artistic performance and composition of the routine. Examples of elements being evaluated are the connection between music and movement, expressiveness, use of space, contrast in tempo, character, and intensity of the movements, etc. An athlete’s lowest and highest A-scores are dropped, with the remaining two scores averaged to determine an athlete’s final A-score. The sum of the deductions are subtracted from 10 to determine a final A-score.

The E-panel is comprised of four judges who evaluate the technical faults in the routine. The judges are looking to ensure all elements are performed to perfection. The highest and lowest scores are dropped, and the middle three scores are averaged. The maximum E score is 10.0 points.

The final score for a routine is obtained by adding the D, E and A-scores together. 

With four apparatuses in use, the maximum all-around total possible is 80.00 points.


In the group competition, the same penalty system as with the individual competition applies, with each group member's mistake counting against the team's total score. For instance, if two or more gymnasts simultaneously cross the boundary, a deduction of 0.30 points will be assessed for each gymnast at fault.

Group exercises last from 2 minutes, 15 seconds to 2 minutes, 30 seconds. The clock is started as soon as any gymnast begins to move. It stops when all five gymnasts are completely stationary. A 0.05-point penalty is applied for each second under or over the time limit.

At the start of the group exercise, one or several gymnasts do not need to be touching an apparatus, but they will incur a 0.30-point deduction if they remain without an apparatus for longer than four seconds after the music begins. At the end of the exercise, all five gymnasts do not need to be in contact with an apparatus, but will be penalized 0.30 points if none of the gymnasts are touching an apparatus in the final position.

The group will be deducted 0.50 points or more for any collisions between gymnasts or apparatus. 

What are common penalties in Olympic rhythmic gymnastics?

  • If a gymnast drops the apparatus, she is penalized 0.50 points if she can retrieve it without any traveling, 0.70 points if the apparatus is retrieved after traveling 1-2 steps, and 1.00 point if the apparatus is retrieved after more than 3 steps or outside the floor area
  • If a gymnast crosses the boundary of the floor during an exercise, she is assessed a 0.30-point penalty
  • If the apparatus breaks or is lost by a gymnast during an exercise, the gymnast is not permitted to restart the exercise. She may continue with a replacement apparatus, but will incur a 1.00 penalty.
  • When performing jumping and balancing maneuvers, gymnasts can be penalized points for a lack of amplitude, a heavy landing or a lack of fixed or well-defined shape