Theoretical Difficulty

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What is "Theoretical Difficulty"?

Trying to figure out how much a routine could worth if it was executed perfectly. By "perfectly" this means : guessing many turns or rotations a gymnast is able to perform when she is in good shape (within reason), assuming that an AD or difficulty is valid despite an invalid criterion or composition...? For example, if a gymnast usually do 3 attitude turns, but did several time 4 attitude turns and once 5 attitude turns, I will write down 4 attitude turns, since 3 turns seems to be the average, 4 turns the goal and 5 turns an exception.

Note: I removed Arina Averina and Dina Averina from the standing as they are taking a break. But if you want to know: they are above everyone else, except Kramarenko (since Nationals) and Raffaeli (since WC Paleo Faliro) and Arina Averina was always above Dina Averina.

Last update: 22 March 2022

How to read?
 DA    Difficulty of Apparatus    colour: black
 DB       Difficulty of Body   colour: green (the 9 highest DB are in bold) 
 R   Risk   colour: pink


For the sake of simplicity, several technical name are shorten. For example "hands" = "without the help of the hands".

let's associate name with image, so that you're not lost.

backscale  If it’s a balance: Backscale
 If it’s a pivot: Kabaeva (KB)
 backsplit ring  If it’s a balance or a pivot: Backsplit ring 
 If it’s a rotation on flat foot: Sakura (SK)
front split  If it’s a balance: Front split with horizontal trunk 
 If it’s a pivot: Elkatib (EKB)
side split  Side split with horizontal trunk
penche soldatova  Penché
 only for rotation on flat foot

 Backsplit with horizontal trunk or lower
 if rotation: mandatory relevé ! If not, this is a penché (see above)

 split position  Split position in a jump/leap
 stag position

Stag position in a jump/leap
(front bent leg)

Plus, you can also see a correct backbend position (bun/head touching the back leg)


To find a gymnast : Ctrl F (or Cmd F on OS) is the shortcut that allows you to find words or phrases quickly

If you are totally new to rhythmic gymnastics and this new code of points, I did a video about it:

Ranking early season

 d all


Milena Baldassarri

balda d

Lucía González

gonzalez d

Alina Harnasko

 harnasko d

Lala Kramarenko

 kramarenko d

Stiliana Nikolova

 Nikolova D

Maria Pobedushkina

 pobe d

Sofia Raffaeli

raffaeli d 

Ekaterina Vedeneeva

 vedeneeva d

Frequent problems in the execution of Difficulty

Season barely started and there is already some trends? Yes!

Trunk position: trunk position is no longer a problem on back split with horizontal trunk as the "penché on relevé" form is now accepted! Hurray! However, side split with horizontal trunk are often performed with either trunk a bit too high (Kaleyn) or too low (Kramarenko)

trunk position

Rotation after the catch. This is can be quite point-costly for risks with series of 3 illusions that follow the model of throw during illusion n°1 / illusion n°2 under the flight / catch during illusion n°3. If the catch is executed after the 3rdillusion, the risk is only done with 2 illusions, which is not authorised.

Catch during walkover: outside of visual field or not outside of visual field? Gymnasts are still doing catch during backward walkover in hope of getting ''outside of visual field'' criterion. However, the code is now harsher and give the judge easier way of spotting what is not considered ''outside of visual field''. To be short: arm in front of the head is not outside of visual field even if the back is starting to bend. RIP Outside of visual field.

Wave. Wave are now a big part of individual routines: 2 mandatory waves + wave becaoming a criterion for DA. The problem? Well, not everyone remember on how to do wave after 2017-2021 code.

Unstable balance and grasped/squeezed ball. If a ball is grasped or squeezed during a DB then the DB is not valid (if there is no other apparatus element performed). A ball resting against the forearm is okay. 

Fouette turns with stretched legs. Not everyone is Alina Maskymenko, Carolina Rodríguez or Kseniya Moustafaeva. So far, the most common problem are hop (any rotation done after a hop is not valid) and swinging leg (up and down, possibly with bent knee).

Large roll. Large roll is now a base for 0.4 point DA with hoop and ball. 0.4. Enormous. It can even be 0.5 if combined with catch from a high throw. However, the roll must be large, which means the apparatus must roll over at least 2 large body segment (2 arms + shoulders; trunk + 1 arm; legs + trunk), and not 1.75 body segment. Fun anecdote: the award of most rolls in a row was previously won by Dina and Arina Averina with 7 rolls DA in a row during their ball routines. Great job done by the choreographer!


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