Home Olympics Key terms, definitions and principles

Key terms, definitions and principles

Key terms, definitions and principles

The roots of gymnastics go back to ancient Greece, where the local philosophers Plato and Aristotle argued for the benefits of harmony between mind and body when practicing this sport.

Turns out they were ahead of their time. Or maybe we’re a little behind ours.

Either way, the mind-body connection is experiencing a renaissance right now, and in no sport more than rhythmic gymnastics.

Possibly the greatest gymnast of all time, Simone Bilesintroduced the term “twistys” into the international consciousness of Tokyo 2020 after she was unable to perform the complex flips she had done thousands of times before. Citing “a rift between body and mind”, Biles chose to withdraw from competition – despite the pressure of being one of the most iconic female athletes of all time – to protect her physical and mental health. The four-time Olympic champion and 19-time world champion has been lauded around the world for putting her health first, but people have also asked: what are these twists and turns?

With rhythmic gymnastics being one of the most talked about events at the Summer Olympics, we’ve created a glossary of some key terms and definitions, including twists and turns, which will give fans more insight into the sport, which will be making headlines again and again. Paris 2024.

Rhythmic Gymnastics Glossary

(Bold type in a copy indicates an additional entry in the glossary.)


An all-around competition determines the best individual gymnast. The Women’s Champion will be the one with the highest combined total after performing on all four elements the camera. The men’s grand total comes from six events.

The camera

Women compete on the vault, bars, beam and floor; men compete on the floor, pommel horse, hoops, vault, railings and a high bar. The order of apparatuses is not accidental – it is a standard format of international competitions.

Blind landing

A description used when the gymnast only sees the ground at the last moment before landing, such as in Simone Biles’ overturning pass in new skills.

Points Code (CoP)

The official set of rules by which judges judge patterns in major international competitions. Released by the world’s governing body, The FIG, the guide is updated quarterly, culminating in the Olympic Games, to review the rules, regulations and skills. Separate CoPs are issued for men and women. Gymnasts and coaches search the document every cycle to maximize initial value. See also, wolf return.


The structure of a gymnastics routine.

Connection value

Connect difficult pieces together and the gymnast can get extra points. Skills must be performed without pauses or interruptions, so beware of dubious connection attempts.


Points are deducted from the gymnast’s score for errors. The fall from the camera is big, with the whole rating deducted.

Score D (difficulty)

The final gymnastics score consists of two elements – the D score and the score E-score (execution). The D-Score evaluates the level of difficulty of the skills performed. Two panels of judges – D-score judges and E-score judges – evaluate each routine, and the scores are then added together. The Difficulty Score is open-ended and has no maximum value – but typically ranges from 5 to 7 at Olympic level – while the E-score is beyond a maximum of ten points. Vault is the only device that has the same D-score set.

E-score (performance)

The gymnastics final score consists of two elements – the E score and the final score Score D (difficulty). The e-score evaluates the execution of the routine, with bent knees, weak point of the toes or tripping on landing, all examples of poor performance. The e-score starts at 10 and evaluates the subtraction of grades based on performance errors. Two panels of judges rate each routine, with the final score being the sum of the E and D grades.

Event/Camera Finals

Based on the results obtained in the qualifiers, the top eight competitors from each apparatus will advance to the finals of the competition (see below). rule of two per country).


Federation Internationale Gymnastique, the international governing body for gymnastics.

junior high school students

Die-hard gymnastics fans.

gym internet

Refers to the online community of gymnastics fans.


A competitor’s coach may make an inquiry to contest the result. The judges review a specific query and determine if an error has been made.


Men’s artistic gymnastics

New skills

When a gymnast is the first to perform a new move in an international competition, that move is named after him in Points Code. Not surprisingly, Biles has a number of moves named after her – Biles just so happens to be – including a double roundhouse floor routine that the American debuted at the 2013 World Championships (see second flip below).

Podium training

All athletes are entitled to a “dress rehearsal” on the starting equipment one or two days before the start of the qualification.


All gymnasts compete in qualifying to determine who will compete team final, all-round finaleand the finale of the event.

Initial value

The value of the procedure before the deductions are made is subtracted.

Team final

The top eight teams from the qualifying round will advance to the team final.

total score

The total score is the gymnasts’ D and E combined scores minus any deductions.

Twisties/mental block

Similar to whoops in golf, but rather more dangerous, twists occur when the gymnast has a mental block while moving. Biles brought the condition to public attention when she suffered from cornering during Tokyo 2020.

Rule of two per country

Only two gymnasts from each participating country can qualify for the finals (individual all-around or four event finals) in an attempt to make the finals more varied.


Women’s Artistic Gymnastics

Wolf turn

Gymnasts and fans roll their eyes every time they see this move, and that’s A LOT because of its high value. The gymnast, usually performed on a beam, squats on one leg with the other leg extended and performs a pivot. Or two. Or three.

The frequency of the movement is what gets fans moaning, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate its difficulty. Wired magazine even delved into the science of moving house, titled Gymnasts make the wolf turn look easy. Physics shows that this is not so.

Something that can be said about rhythmic gymnastics in its entirety.

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