Utah Gymnastics: The Joys (and pains) of Subjectivity…


Apr 21, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Utah Utes gymnast Nansy Damianova competes in the individual floor exercise final of the 2013 NCAA Women

Editor’s Note: This is yet another fantastic gymnastics piece by Brittany G.  While I was excited that I just found someone who wanted to write about gymnastics.  Because I would say, they all did some flipping and then someone game them points.  But Brittany actually explains it so my simple mind can explain it.  I hope you’re all reading this and letting your friends know.  Plus she’s passionate enough to want a gymnastics assistant coach fired.  How awesome is that.  Anyway, enjoy this.

Another week, another Utah gymnastics meet, another disappointing beam performance.

The good news is that Utah did really well on the other three events. It’s pretty impressive that a team can score 197.125 with two falls on the beam.

The Utes scored 49.600 on vault, 49.525 on bars and 49.425 on floor, or an average of 49.517. They scored 48.575 on beam. I’ll just leave that here without comment, partly because I commented last week and partly because it needs no comment. The numbers speak for themselves.

Utah saw a lot of 9.925s, a few 9.950s and two 9.975s. This is fantastic, especially this early in the season. I love seeing great, clean routines from all our gymnasts. A few seasons ago, we had some okay routines, some good routines and some great routines. This season, we have a few good routines and a lot of great routines. That depth is important.

But even though we have depth, there are, of course, some standouts. Kailah Delaney and Tory Wilson on vault, Corrie Lothrop, Nansy Damianova on floor.

On the top of the pedestal is Georgia Dabritz, who is probably the best gymnast in the nation right now. She scored 9.975 on both vault and floor, and that floor performance deserved a 10.0 (more on that later…), and a 9.950 on bars. That’s 29.90 through three routines. Theresa Kulikowski, Utah’s best gymnast since I started attending gymnastics back in 1997, had a personal high all-around score of 39.80. Dabritz was on pace to beat that score…she just needs to get into the beam lineup. Even if she gets a 9.80 or a 9.85 on beam, she’ll be able to top the all-around competition at nationals.

Dabritz’ floor routine was absolutely beautiful. Great tumbling passes, clean landings, good acrobatics and dancing. It was the best floor routine I’ve seen in quite a while. It deserved a 10.0. But one judge only gave her a 9.950. That same judge gave consistently lower scores to Utah’s gymnasts throughout the night.

And that is a major problem with gymnastics: the subjectivity. More importantly, the unequal subjectivity. Some schools tend to score higher than others. Their gymnasts get a 9.90 when others get a 9.85, which isn’t that big a deal when looking at scores individually, but when looking at scores for an entire  meet or an entire season, it makes a big difference. Scores determine where a team will go for the regional competition and what seed that team will have.

So if a school has inflated scores at home to appeal to the crowd or to make a conference look better, it matters.

I bring this up now because Florida scored a 49.875 on floor this week. Now, I haven’t seen Florida’s beam performance so they very well could have had the best damn floor rotation in history…because that score is better than any team score I remember seeing. Ever. A 49.875 adds up to an average of 9.975 for each gymnast (they counted two 9.95s, a 9.975 and two 10s).

Guys, if Georgia Dabritz can perform the floor routine of a lifetime and only score a 9.975, there’s no way every Florida gymnast can achieve that.

But congrats to Florida for beating Georgia (the GymDawgs, not Dabritz) at home and scoring a 198.050 on the third meet of the season. The rest of the nation is calling bullshit (I saw your performance against Auburn two weeks ago, and boy are you not worthy of a 198), but you guys can pat yourselves on the back for doing a “great” job.