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Code of Points Gets Tweaked
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The big news out of the recent FIG Executive Committee meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, concerns changes to the Code of Points for 2009, which will "promote the artistic nature of the sport and ... increase safety in exercises," according to the FIG news release. "Gymnasts from all disciplines will have to show exemplary mastery in their exercises. Execution will be favored."

These principles are not new, and exist within the philosophy of the current Code of Points. However, beginning in 2009, the women's Code will reduce the number of required elements from 10 to eight. That should lead to shorter routines and longer careers.

The proposed changes for the men's Code focus mainly on the juniors, for which eight skills will count toward the A-score. Also, the A-score will be halved for juniors, thus further de-emphasizing difficulty. Other safety measures for juniors include the prohibition of diving elements that end in a roll-out on floor, and saltos to upper arms or bent arms on parallel bars.

A "G" category, worth 0.7, will be added to the difficulty table, and skills listed there include a Ri Jong Song (triple-twisting double back) and Liukin (triple back) on floor, and a Cassina (layout Kolman) and Shahan (Kovacs with 1.5 twists) on high bar.

On rings, swing-to-strength combinations will count as two separate elements if the swing reverses direction (e.g., front uprise to Maltese).

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