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How Men’s Artistic competition works - Olympic Games

 
Publication date : 04/12/2014

Men’s Artistic gymnasts perform six routines during the course of a competition, on six different apparatus: Floor Exercise, Pommel Horse, Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars and Horizontal Bar. Each apparatus tests different physical characteristics: For example, Rings is about strength, Pommel Horse balance and stamina, and Horizontal Bar ability to swing.

Types of competition

There are three types of competition in Men’s Artistic Gymnastics:

1.    Team competition

At the Olympic Games, teams are composed of five gymnasts, and are often composed of both All-around gymnasts (gymnasts who compete on all six events) and event specialists (gymnasts who are very good on one or more apparatus.)

In the qualifying round of the team competition, of the five gymnasts on each team, four will perform on a given event, with the best three scores per event counting toward the team total. (This is often referred to as 5-4-3.)

In team finals, of the five gymnasts on each team, only three compete on each event, and all three scores count toward the team total (5-3-3.) The pressure is on in team finals, as any mistakes will end up costing the team.

China wins 2012 Olympic team competition

2.    All-around competition

In an All-around competition, each gymnast performs on all six apparatus. The gymnast with the highest combined score over the six events wins. The 24 gymnasts with the highest overall scores from the qualification round advance to the All-around final.

2012 Olympic All-around champion Kohei Uchimura (JPN)

3.    Event finals competition

This is the moment where the apparatus specialists get to shine. The best eight gymnasts on each apparatus from qualifications advance to the apparatus final.

Gymnasts marching in for apparatus finals at London 2012

The two-per-country rule

A maximum of two gymnasts from each country can compete in the All-around and event finals. Scores never carry over from the qualification round – each gymnast or team starts with a clean slate in the final.

China's FENG Zhe and ZHANG Chenglong during London 2012 Parallel Bars final

What if there’s a tie?

In case of a tie in the finals at the Olympic Games, the following methods will be applied, in the following order, to break it:

Louis Smith (GBR) and Krisztian Berki (HUN) at London 2012 Pommel Horse final

Team competition:

  1. The team score will be broken down into the sum of the scores on each apparatus, generating an apparatus team score. The top five best apparatus scores per team will be added together and compared. Top score wins. If that still doesn’t break the tie, the four best apparatus scores per team will be added together and compared. This process will be repeated down to the single best apparatus score if necessary.
  2. If the teams still remain tied, the tie will not be broken.

All-around competition:

  1. Each gymnast’s best five scores will be added together and compared. Top score wins. If there is still a tie, the process will be repeated with the best four, three, two and even one apparatus score, if necessary.
  2. Each gymnast’s six Execution scores will be added up and compared.
  3. Each gymnast’s six Difficulty scores will be added up and compared.
  4. If they still remain tied, the tie will not be broken.

Event finals competition:

  1. The gymnast with the highest Execution score will prevail.
  2. The gymnast with the highest Difficulty score will prevail.
  3. If they still remain tied, the tie will not be broken.

A note on Vault

Vault is the only apparatus where a gymnast performs two routines to qualify for the event final. The two vaults must be of different styles (for example, a vault where the gymnast flips backwards onto the table and a vault where the gymnast flies forward off the springboard).

Gymnasts only perform one vault in the All-around final, but also do two in the event final. Scores from both vaults are averaged together in the qualification and event final to generate the final score.

Vault

In case of a tie on Vault, the following methods will be applied, in the following order, to break it:

  1. The gymnast with the highest score on either vault will prevail.
  2. The highest Execution score from either vault will prevail.
  3. The highest Difficulty score from either vault will prevail.
  4. If there is still a tie, it will not be broken.