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Rules of Olympic Artistic Gymnastics


Each gymnast is allowed only one attempt on each apparatus, unless the attempt is interrupted through no fault of the gymnast, except the women's vault.

In the women's vault, the athletes are allowed two attempts, with the scores averaged.

There are no compulsory routines. Each gymnast determines the make-up of his or her own routine, but they must meet skill criteria relating to degree of difficulty.

Spotters are allowed to stand near the horizontal bars, rings, parallel bars and vault. They are present to help prevent accidents, but gymnasts are penalized 0.4 of a point if they need help.

Gymnasts are allowed help into their starting positions for the rings and horizontal bars.

Competitors are allowed to use bandages or leather grips on their hands.

Coaching during routines is prohibited.

Gymnasts are not allowed to leave the arena during competition without permission.

Unsporting behavior is penalized.

Dismounts should end with the feet together in a standing position.

There are two panels of judges who rate each performance. Two difficulty judges confer to give each routine a difficulty rating out of 10, depending on the maneuvers it contains. Six execution judges independently rate each performance for form and execution.

They give each routine a mark out of ten, deducting fractions of points for mistakes. Minor errors result in the loss of 0.1 of a point, more serious errors cost the gymnast 0.2, 0.3 or 0.4 of a point.

A gymnast who falls off, or into, the apparatus loses half a point.

The highest and lowest scores awarded by the judges are discarded and the remaining four are averaged.

In all-around events the scores for each competitor on each apparatus are added, giving a maximum score of 40 for the women (10 points for each of four apparatus) and 60 for the men (10 points for each of six apparatus).

Each nation in the teams competition is represented by six athletes. Five complete routines on each apparatus with only the top four scores counting.

This means the maximum score a nation can accrue for each apparatus is 40, meaning a maximum score of 160 for the women and 240 for the men.

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