Ever wonder how in the world all of the intricate flipping, twisting, tumbling, turning, spinning, swinging, and soaring translates into actual numbers on a piece of paper?  Believe it or not, attached to every single skill performed in the sport of gymnastics is a specific point value, and behind all the 14.2’s and 15.45’s and 16.125’s lies a very calculated mathematical process that demands very astute alertness and a tremendous depth of knowledge on the part of multiple judges.  An awful lot is asked of today’s gymnastics judges, who are required to objectively evaluate the longest, most difficult, most complicated routines ever done in our sport, using the most complex rules and most stringent deductions our sport has ever seen as well.  And they must arrive at some sort of consensus within a reasonable range of variation within a matter of seconds.


This post is designed to walk us through the process of determining the “D-Score,” or “Difficulty Score,” of one of the most difficult floor routines in the world – performed by three-time American world team member Steven Legendre.  Although men’s floor routines nowadays showcase the most high-flying tumbling and intricate combinations this event has ever seen, judging on this event is actually among the easiest of all the men’s apparatuses.  Knowledge of a few basic principles and point values of the most commonly done tumbling skills will go a long way in understanding how these routines are being evaluated.  Whatever you do, though, when these guys take off for a tumbling pass, don’t blink.



Steven Legendre Floor 2011 Visa Championships


Step 1: Calculate the Element Group Total


Element Group Point Value
EG 1: Non-acrobatic skills 0.5
EG 2: Forward Acro Skills 0.5
EG 3: Backward Acro Skills 0.5
EG 4: Sideways/Arabian Skills 0.5
EG 5: Dismount (at least D value for the full 0.5 credit; a C value gives 0.3 points) 0.5



The wide-arm press handstand counts for EG 1.

The front layout 2/1 twist counts as EG 2.

The double back with 5/2 twist counts as EG 3.

The Hypolito (piked double Arabian 1/1 twist out) counts as EG 4.

The double Arabian dismount fully fulfills EG 5.


EG Total: 2.5


Step 2: Calculate the Skill Value Total


Count only the ten best elements (must include the dismount).


Difficulty Rating Point Value
A 0.1
B 0.2
C 0.3
D 0.4
E 0.5
F 0.6
G 0.7



Skill Difficulty Rating Point Value
Double back with 5/2 twist E 0.5
Hypolito (piked double Arabian 1/1 twist out) F 0.6
Whip back B 0.2
Laid-out Thomas E 0.5
Back layout 5/2 twist D 0.4
Tucked front 1 ¾ roll out C 0.3
Wide arm press handstand C 0.3
Front layout 2/1 twist D 0.4
Front layout 1/1 twist C 0.3
Tucked double Arabian D 0.4
Skill Value Total 3.9




Step 3: Calculate the Connection Points Total


All salto connections that include one D or higher value = 0.1 connection points

If both saltos are D or higher value = 0.2 connection points


Whip back + laid out Thomas = 0.1

Back layout 5/2 twist + tucked front 1 ¾ = 0.1

Front layout 2/1 twist + Front layout 1/1 twist = 0.1


Connection Points Total: 0.3


Step 4: Add all three totals together


2.5 + 3.9 + 0.3 = 6.7 D-Score

Next we’ll do the same process for Legendre’s college teammate – and now world championship teammate – Jake Dalton.