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favoritism?

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ValleyGymMom

Guest
I have always wondered if judges have already decided if a routine is going to be really good or really bad based on the gym. I know there are some teams that are just really that good, but is it possible that they already have a pre-conceived notion about what to expect and maybe overlook small deductions? And if a team is average do the judges just expect to see more mistakes? I struggled with whether or nor to send this and I apologize to the judges if I'm wrong. Are there any other parents that feel this way?:confused:
 

LittleLady

Member
Feb 3, 2009
215
Vermont
Favoritism

Sad to say, yes, favoritism does exist. A well known gym does have a chance of scoring higher. This has been happening ever since I was a young gymnast back in the 70's. I believe it even happens at the Elite and International level. If a gymnast has a coach that is famous or well known, the judges seem to respect that gymnast's performance more. There are many issues in gymnastics that need to be dealt with. It's very sad to see a gymnast who works so hard and competes well but is not given as much credit as a gymnast trained at a popular gym or by a famous coach. Let's get the politics and discrimination OUT of this sport for all the athlete's sake and well being. That's my humble opinion and I stand by it.
 
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ValleyGymMom

Guest
Thanks for replying. I'm really not one of those stage moms that whines and complains about low scores all the time. There are many times I know for a fact that my daughter has deserved a low score. But there have been times I would think to myself,"that routine wasn't any better than my daughter, and that girl got a 9! " We have a very small gym, but our girls work just as hard.
 

gymkat

Active Member
Former Gymnast
Judge
Jun 24, 2008
691
Do judges have time to think about anything other than what is in front of them? No. Seriously, as I have said so many times before on here, judges really don't have it out for certain gyms, and I don't shower established gyms with scores. When I judge 500 routines in a weekend, I really couldn't care less about the leo in front of me; I care that coaches have their line-up in order, that there is always a person ready to go, and that the meet is running smoothly.
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
There are at least two judges (I'm talking about the USA JO system here). They need to be in range, or someone has to look back over and adjust their score. I have sat at a table with multiple different judges and watched routine, after routine, after routine, and these people are just ruthlessly efficient. They are looking for mistakes and taking corresponding deductions. The reason "good" gyms get "good" scores is that they generally have girls who are avoiding the biggest deductions (i.e. cast and circling angles at the lower levels - many girls are not hitting these even if the routine looks clean) and also avoiding many small and/or compositional (in the case of optionals) deductions. They also usually train more hours and reputations don't come from nowhere. I've been on both sides of it and gyms with strong competitive programs have them because they tend to not let you compete if the routine isn't good enough. I've been scratched in the warm up of major meets before at my one gym because the HC (who I love) didn't like the way my skills looked that day.
 
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Mack_the_Ripper

Guest
From my experience in figure skating, I know that some judges do consistently rank certain gyms/coaches higher. But this may not be because they are playing favorites. Perhaps a coach teaches a skill differently from the way it says in the rule book, so all the girls from that coach's gym get a deduction on that skill. Or maybe a gym isn't managed particularly well, and the girls don't get enough time one a certain event.

Also, a large gym may simply have more opportunity to place 1st. If 40% of the girls at a meet are from one gym, then that gym has more chances to place.

There's a certain gym in my area which is very small, and their girls never seem to know the routines. Their dance steps are a combination of different levels. In figure skating, my friend's mother ranted all the time about the judges never ranking her coach's kids as high as others, while I knew it was because he taught double jumps incorrectly.
 

Gym-Nice-tics

Member
May 14, 2008
115
US
Honestly, I do think some judges have favorites, and they do give them some scores that may be undeserved. I'm not saying all, I think it's a small minority of judges, but I feel like some do seem to overlook mistakes when they are judging certain teams. Even with two judges judging, the range can be like .8 or something and still be a fair range depending on how high the score is. So a judge playing favorites can still bump the score a few tenths.

I have watched some rather high scores go to mediocre routines before when the girl has on a particular leotard at both the compulsory and optional levels. And I repeat- I'm not saying that ALL judges do it- but I do feel that some do.
 

I-Heart-Beam

Active Member
Sep 9, 2007
964
Scotland
I always remember that there was this one judge who HATED me. Seriously, I don't know what I was doing wrong, but she would always score me lower than anyone else.

There's a gym near us that always has the first placers, and I've always thought they were scored a bit more generously.

But at the end of the day, gymnastics is a subjective (I hope that's the right word btw) and you're never going to be happy with all of your scores all of the time.
 

gymkat

Active Member
Former Gymnast
Judge
Jun 24, 2008
691
From my experience in figure skating, I know that some judges do consistently rank certain gyms/coaches higher. But this may not be because they are playing favorites. Perhaps a coach teaches a skill differently from the way it says in the rule book, so all the girls from that coach's gym get a deduction on that skill. Or maybe a gym isn't managed particularly well, and the girls don't get enough time one a certain event.

This is very, very accurate. Although certain gyms may appear to get higher scores because of their leo, in reality, these gyms have generally learned how to avoid any unnecessary deductions. The differences might be small, but .05s add up.
 
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