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The 2025-2028 Olympic Cycle Code of Points Draft: Changes and Updates

Embarking on a fresh Olympic journey in the realm of artistic athleticism, the unveiling of the Rhythmic Gymnastics Code of Points for the upcoming 2025-2028 cycle sets the stage for a captivating evolution of our sport. As the rhythmic gymnastics world eagerly awaits this pivotal release, the intricate details within this new code promise to spark innovation, specify judging standards and elevate the performances of the sport's most talented athletes on the grandest global stage.


The first draft of the Code of Points for the next cycle was out 1st July 2023, and after Technical Committee (TC) analysed the feedback from the athletes meeting which took place in Valencia during the World Championships, according to FIG:

“The outcome of these meetings is very important to us, as the voice of our athletes is paramount”

Noha Abou Shabana, president of the rhythmic gymnastics TC explained.

With the end of the year approaching, the TC discussed the Code of Points for 2025 among other things, taking on board the feedback from the National Federations (NF), and worked on the various rules and competition formats, brainstorming new ideas for the future of FIG events.


Let's delve into the intricacies and implications of this eagerly anticipated unveiling, exploring the changes poised to shape Risks (R), Difficulties of Apparatus (DA), Difficulties of the Body (DB), Artistry (A) and the competitive landscape of rhythmic gymnastics in the coming Olympic cycle that has been discussed by members of the TC themselves. However, it's important to note that until the Official Code of Points is released nothing is set on stone.


It's worth pointing out that not a lot of changes are anticipated for the Execution (E) panel yet. Execution only becomes more relevant closer to competitions and it is not as needed to prepare compositions and the incorporation of skills as we face the beginning of the new cycle.


In the matter of Difficulty components, big changes lie ahead. The volume of overall difficulties will decrease for both Seniors and Juniors. This will hopefully encourage a more refined development of character and more logical connections between skills. We can only hope that jamming as much Difficulty as possible in a messy and chaotic fashion is a thing of the past.


Junior


Senior



Risks

In the current code of points, a maximum of 5 risks are evaluated in chronological order. For the 2025-2028 cycle the maximum amount of risks may be reduced to 4 for seniors and 3 for juniors, and they will be evaluated in chronological order. It is worth mentioning that the values of these risks are likely to decrease as well.


One of the most significant changes for many gymnasts will be the elimination of the triple illusion risk:


High throw, first illusion (step), second illusion (step), catch during the third illusion= 0.60

This is due to the fact that Illusions will no longer be considered DBs, but only pre-acrobatics.


Moreover,according to the current draft, DB's won't be an additional criteria for risks, which means that the triple turning leap risk will decrease in value by 0.1 since DB's won't count as an additional criteria.


The throw of the apparatus during the first DB, second DB under the flight, and catch during the third DB will still be limited to one per R per routine.


Another additional criteria we will be saying goodbye to is the throw/catch under the leg. Performing this criteria is not not forbidden, but the current draft does not grant additional 0.1 value to the risk.


The use of vertical rotations on one or two feet ( such as chainnees, turning skips, etc...) will be restricted to a maximum of two risks.


Further limitations will apply for clubs. In the current CoP we have seen the Cascade throws (a type of throw where one club is released before the other one) in risks be very rewarding in terms of value. Each criteria could be applied twice, once per club. This will no longer be the case, as each criterion is given a maximum of one time per throwing action and one time per catching action.


2022-24 CoP

2025-28 CoP DRAFT

Under the leg catch/throw (⌿) +0.1

Under the leg catch/throw not rewarded (⌿)

Throw arond the axis of the hoop(⊖) +0.1

Throw arond the axis of the hoop not rewarded

Catch and/ or throw going through the hoop (⦵)+0.1

Criterion only valid for catch through the hoop (⦵) +0.1

Throw from roll valid with many apparatus (∠) +0.1

Throw from roll on the floor only valid for hoop and only valid when performed combined with without the help of the hands ( ≠ )

Direct catch with rolling of apparatus over the body valid independently to any other criteria +0.1

Direct catch with rolling of apparatus over the body only valid when performed combined to the outside field of vision criteria (⦻) +0.1

Cascade throws and or catches with clubs can receive additional criteria per club

For a cascade throws and or catches during R each criterion is given max. one time per throwing action and one time per catching action

The change of axis and/or level during rotations under the flight criteria (Ƶ) was going to be eliminated along with the other criterias above, but the TC ended up deciding that Ƶ should stay to to keep Risks worth performing in terms of value.



Difficulty of Apparatus (DA's)

It won't be possible to perform more than 3 consecutive DA in a postion on the floor. If this criteria is to be used after 3 consecutive DA's there will need to be a different skills without the on the floor criteria, otherwise it cannot be counted.


On the flip side, there will not be a cap to the amount of times the DB criteria can be used during DA's. But we must remeber tht the number of DB's performed overall will indeed be limited to:


Seniors: Only highest value 8 DBs counted

Juniors: Only highest value 6 DBs counted


The second subgroup D-judges (DA) will be responsible for penalising missing waves and recording them in symbol notation. This change will hopefully facilitate the identification of waves, since they are often used as criteria for DA's.


Large rolls have decreased in value again going from 0.4 to 0.3 for hoop and ball. During the last code, the Technical Committee (TC) wanted to encourge the use of rolls. After all, they are a very characteristic and special element in rhythmic gymnastics. However, during the current code we have seen a lot of rolls consecutevely. The roll of the hoop and ball under the leg on the floor felt nearly mandatory, and it strained the originality and dynamism of many routines. Because of this, the under the leg criteria is no longer applicable for the large roll base.


As a general rule for all apparatuses, no small throws will be valid while performing the on the floor base. Bear in mind that Thrusts, pushes and rebounds will be a separate criteria to small throws. However, neither of these two bases will be posible to perform during BD's in order to qualify as DA's. The reason provided was that these two criterias combined with DB's are just not judgable. The handling is so small during these that in some cases it's imposible to determine whether it was valid or it wasn't.


In the case of the hoop, the under the leg criteria won't be compatible with the following bases either: Free rotation of the hoop around axis, rotation of the hoop around a part of the body, rotation on the floor around the axis and sliding of the hoop over min. 2 body segments.



As for ball, the excess of repetitive rolls present during this CoP will be also encouraged to stop by decreasing the value of the base and the posibility of using the under the leg criteria will be eliminated too, just as we have seen in hoop.


There is also a decrease of value for the catch of the ball with one hand from a high throw; which leads to the following question: Why are catches from a high throw worth the same with one and two hands? The sole reason for this is simplicity. The TC wants to keep all the DA values between 0.3 and 0.2, for the exception of specific bases we will see in club and ribbon.


As we can see in the table below, the restrictions of the under the leg criteria will apply to ball as well and the compatitibility with many bases will be gone.



Moving on to clubs, the mills base will remain the same as in the current CoP. However, the small throw of two unlocked clubs will not be compatible with the on the floor criteria. Once again, we see that the on the floor and under the leg criteria combination has been overused, not to mention how unaesthetic it looks. Therefore the TC decided to remove this criteria as a posibility during the small throws of the clubs. It will of course be posible to perform small throws of the unlocked clubs on the floor, as long as two other criterias are used to ensure the validity of this difficulty.


The value of the asymmetric movements of the club will increase from 0.2 to 0.3. However it is a requirement that at least one club goes under the leg during these movements, while an additional criteria must be applied for the difficulty to be valid. One of the scarce posibilities of this base to be applied is during a DB, such as a balance with an extended leg.


The Sliding of the club will become a base in its own right, separated from the small throw/ catch and or rebound from the floor. It will also become become more specific, requiring the sliding to happen over minimum two body segments, as we have already seen in hoop.


Catch of one Club from the flight of a high throw in one palm, the second Club already held in the same hand base is also downgraded to 0.3 from 0.4. It is nevertheless in the clubs DA table where we find our first exception to the decision to keep all DA's between the values of 0.2 and 0.3, as the base of Catch of 2 Clubs from the flight of a high throw will remain with it's current value of 0.4.





When talking about ribbon, another under the leg criteria restiction will apply to the snakes and spirals bases. During the coaches' meeting with the FIG, where the top three coaches from both individual and groups that participated at the 2022 World Championship and one coach per continent met the TC, an

attendee highlighted how during the current code the ribbon stick is more often than not under the leg, even if it doesn't necessarily belong there. The TC hopes for routines to have an increased aesthetic value with these changes. This means that getting a decent value out of spirals and snakes will become more challenging.


In contrast, this draft will encourage boomerangs by firstly, separating the bases of boomerang in the air and boomerang on the floor; and secondly, by increasing the value of boomerangs in the air. The justification for this decision is that since boomerangs are more time consuming than other skills the value of the base should increase.


One of the bases, despite remaining pretty much the same, has been re-worded for clarity:

2022-24 CoP 

2025-28 CoP DRAFT

Movement of the Ribbon around a part of the body created when the stick is held by different parts of the body (neck, knee, elbow) during body movements or DB with rotation

Stick held without hands (e.g. Neck, knee, elbow...) during movements or difficulties with rotation (not slow turns), creating a circle pattern of the fabric around the body



Artistry

Although Artistry is one of the components that is still under discussion by the TC and many parts haven't been confirmed yet, there are some changes that we know will happen, the main one on the artistry deduction table being the 0.5 deduction changing to a 0.6. This means that the Artistry scores are likely to be harsher.


Another important change is DA's no longer being allowed to be performed during Dance Steps (S). In the current code, gymnasts are free to add DA's during S, but the code states the following:

the presence of DA element(s) which interrupt the character of movement, are not valid as Dance Steps Combinations.

However, it is hard to determine when they are disruptive enough to invaledate them, since to an extent, the caracter and movement will always be somewhat disrupted. Therefore, DA's will be gone for good, according to this draft.


If a DA is present during the dance steps once this code is enforced in 2025, the DA will be counted, but the S will not count as valid and a deduction of 0.3 will be given to the gymnast. The deduction for missing dance steps is still very much under discussion, but there is a possibility the deduction for each missing S is -0.6, intead of the -0.3 we have become accustomed to during the 2022-24 CoP.


The greatest debate in terms of Artistry has to be how Effects are judged, nonetheless. An effect can be described as a memorable "wow" moment. When the Effect came into the scene with the current code in 2022 it posed the question: What qualifies an effect as such? It is a very subjective concept, which makes it hard to judge it and it may even allow for biases.


One of the proposed solutions was to count Effects under Character. At the end of the day, an Effect can be considered a highlighted and highly developed character accent. The idea is that the gymnasts are unable to get full character marks unless there is an effect in their routines. This option is still subject to change, and the decission of the TC will be finalised when they release the final draft of the 2025-2028 CoP in February 2024.


Expression will be divided into two separate concepts: facial expression and body expression, each with their own separate deductions.


In the 2025- 2028 Draft we are able to find a much needed specification of the use of the floor area. The current code already states that travelling should be wide and comprehensive through the floor area, so that the entire floor area is covered by the movement of gymnast, who must travel to all parts of the floor area (although not necessarily touching the physical four corners); and that the directions in which a gymnast travels should be varied. But on this draft it is specified that:

In addition, we also see examples of how to penalise the lack of use of the floor area that define what the standard is for this use of space.

Under the use of the floor segment a penalty of 0.3 can be issued if more than 3 DA's are performed on the floor in a row (in addition to the fact that after the third one, no DA will be counted if they are consecutively performed on the floor)


The concept of Unity has been replaced for the concept of "Interruption of Continuity", that now has a deduction of 0.6 if the continuity of the composition is broken for more than 4 seconds, which can only can be penalised once per routine.


Difficulty of the Body (DB's)

In the new draft, the different between dificulties and shapes becomes paramount. Although it may sound confusing at first, there is a reason for specifying the differences of the two, the main one being variety in the composition.


In the DB table, each box represents a different DB. Every drawing inside the

same box is seen as the same DB. Each DB (each box) is counted only once. If the same DB (same box) is repeated, the Difficulty is not valid and its value won't be counted by the panel, but no penalty will apply either.


In contrast, Difficulties with the same shape are different Difficulties with the same relation between - and same evolution of – all the body parts that are involved in defining the shape, including the support leg (straight or maximally bent).



This distiction will become vital to identify, as different shapes will be needed for Combined Body Difficulties (CBD). A few think to keep in mind to combine difficulties are the following:

  • The use of a supporting arm (with help and without help) does not make two shapes different.

  • Through their evolution into flight, all jumps/leaps are different from all balances and rotations.

  • The same relation between body parts, performed as balance and as rotation, are “same shape”

In addition, jumps/leaps will only be allod as the second DB in a CBD, so the possibility of doing a leap and landing on a balance or pivot will be erased. Another new rule is the inelegibility of Dynamic Balances (Balances executed in motion with three clearly defined shapes) for CBD.


With this new found differentiation of shapes and difficulties, and the eagerness of the code to avoid the repetition of these, one may wonder: Does this mean that leap and pivot series will be gone? The answer is no. Series will remain valid as a single DB, but with the combined value of each identical repetition.





It is vital to consider that the 2025-2028 Olympic Cycle Code of Points for our sport remains in a developmental stage and it's subject to change. Since the next RG TC meeting will take place from January 30th to February 2nd in the Aruban capital, Oranjestad, we are likely to hear more details about what changes and what stays for this upcoming cycle in the month of February.


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