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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Repetitive repetition (see what I did there?)

Christine "Peng Peng"--or Peng Peng "Christine" Lee-- is another talented Canadian. I'm still not sure which is her real name and which is her nickname. I'm sure a quick google search will yield an explanation if you're just that curious.

Here's her bar routine, which is fine. I think. I have no idea what she did, other than FOUR toe-on skills in which she steps down one leg at a time. It's fricking distracting. Maybe that's the point. I don't know if this routine is amazing or mediocre, because all I remember are those step-downs.

It's been a while since I've been very familiar with the Code of Points, and obviously things have changed in the past few years, because I still don't know if 14.0 is a good score or a bad score. What I do know is this: there is, or was, a deduction for repetition.

We had a level 8 once who did a lovely beam routine and we thought she should have scored higher. Her tumbling pass was flipflop-flipflop (2 feet), and her dismount was flipflop back tuck. (Laypeople: flip flop is shorthand for back handspring.) Upon asking the judges, we found that they deducted for repeating a skill three times. Had she stepped out of one and landed on two feet with the other two, there would have been no deduction--this is an error of composition, if I'm not mistaken.

So Peng Peng here, I suppose, is not getting deducted because each toe-on skill is actually different. In addition to the toe-on transition from low to high, she's got a toe-on to handstand, toe-on handstand half pirouette, and toe-on handstand full pirouette. From an aesthetic standpoint, this is the same skill. But according to the Code, these are three different skills--and of course the step-down itself is not a skill--and therein lies the loophole allowing her to repeat that novelty step-down so many times without penalty. Still, as with the case of Victoria Moors' lovely and difficult routine vs. Lauren Mitchell's sloppy and difficult routine, the Code is being carefully worked to the gymnast's advantage. Yet there's no room to apply a reward or deduction based on aesthetics or just the general feeling that this step-down issue is like a nervous tic and you just want to tell her to stop doing that already.

Unless they ARE deducting for composition. Who would know, when I still don't know if a 14.0 is good?

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