Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2006 and beyond: The Best WAG Gymnasts

Since 2006, the FIG has handed out a total of 149 World Championship medals to the ladies. Ostensibly, these medals have been given to the best gymnasts in the world. As I pointed out yesterday, the new Code of Points explicitly seeks to assure "the identification of the best gymnast in any competition." Under the perfect-10 system, this goal, if it was a goal, was never stated. (In 1997, for instance, the Code strove to "ensure the most objective as possible evaluation of the exercises.")

So, it begs the question: Have the best gymnasts been identified at the World Championships? Once again, I'm not going to go final by final, disputing whether the best gymnasts ended up on the podium. I'm sure that we all can think of a time when one of our favorite gymnasts was "robbed." But when we step back and look at the big picture, do the statistics seem to reflect who were the top gymnasts in the world?

Let's take a look…

Here are the women who have won the most World Championship medals, regardless of color:

Yes, Jana Bieger is on that list. I legit forget that Marta put her on a World Championship team and that she won medals. But looky here! Her name's on this list, too:

The Most Medals Won at a Single World Championships since 2006

Seriously, my memory of 2006 is pretty hazy. On the women's side, that year was like a middle school photo, wasn't it? So awkward.

With the exception of Cheng Fei, of course. She was akin to the popular girl in sixth grade--the one whose older sister had taught her the secrets of deodorant, makeup application, and flirting with boys.

Yeah… right away, Cheng had this new Code figured out, and in the end, she was rewarded for it. As you can see, Cheng's currently leading the gold medal count…

…and the list of women who have won multiple gold medals at a single World Championships since 2006:

Of course, for some, the big kicker is Komova's absence from the list of top gold medalists. To this day, many think that Komova should have won all-around gold in addition to her gold on uneven bars. But before you blow up my comments section rehashing the 2011 all-around competition, please keep the following in mind. The 2011 all-around podium was one podium of the 29 podiums since 2006. Those were 2 medals of the 149 medals handed out. Statistically speaking, that one competition is relatively insignificant, even if it was significant to Komova or to you as a fan.

That is to say, if you're going to argue that the Code has not been able to identify the best gymnasts, you're going to need more than one all-around final to convince me. Bottom line: Whaddya think? Painting with a broad brush, has the Code been successful at its mission? Have the judges been able to use it to identify the best gymnasts at the World Championships? Leave a comment below.

Alternatively, you could read some more statistics. I'm sure that you were wondering what percentage of the female participants win medals. I mean, if you are a true gym nerd, these are the questions that keep you awake at night. Well, you can rest easy tonight. Here are the numbers for World Championships with a team competition:
Roughly 10%.

Keep in mind that 18 medals are given out during the team competition. So, the percentages are slightly higher than they are during an individual competition. Since 2006, there has been only one individual World Championships, so our sample size is extremely small. But here is a table anyway:

Good luck, 2013 competitors! May you be a part of the upper 9% this year!

Related Posts:

2006 and beyond: The Top Nations in WAG 
2006 and beyond: Is the New Scoring System Selecting the Best Male Gymnasts?

Oh, and if you really want to rehash the all-around competition at the 2011 World Championships, do so on Spanny's blog:

allow me to ladle you a piping hot bowl of this is how it is


  1. Komova was robbed. Period. And I will never, EVER forgive Nelli Kim for that bullshit.

    1. Robbed of which medal? Not Worlds. I will give you the Olympics.

    2. Why on earth would you cede the Olympics but not Worlds? She actually had a major mistake in the Olympic AA (while her competitor did not), walking off the vault landing mat. The worst that went down in Tokyo was wobbles on beam, low landings on tumbles and falling out of turns on floor. Meanwhile, her competitor overbalanced a handstand that completely threw off her bar routine. With regards to both of them, there's not really anything can be done to change it and it's been over a year, so please just drop it!

    3. I'll never get over the assholes in FIG for giving Wieber what is Komova's rightful gold medal. EVER

    4. Ugh, "robbed." Such a silly term. She did a sloppy floor routine and lost in a judged sport, it happens. Jordyn worked her tush off on beam after her bars set and deserved the gold. I'm sure Vika has moved on by now.

  2. Vanessa Ferrari was GOLD medalist in AA 2006 !!!!!!

  3. I don't see the point of this? Most medals doesn't mean deserved and Alicia's name on top is a joke. S

    1. Uh, if they won medals the default assumption must be that they deserved them (unless you have strong suspicion of systemic cheating), otherwise what's the point of any kind of discussion like this?

  4. Interesting stuff! Posts like this make your blog unique.

  5. One could argue that Komova was never given the benefit of the doubt. And that she should have been. One cannot argue Komova made a mistake so she didn't deserve to win but it is okay for Weiber to make a mistake and win. Komova had higher start values than Douglas which should have given her a cushion like mistake.

    The biggest issue I have is why a gymnast like Komova was never given the benefit of the doubt. I don't care for Vika's attitude but her type of gymnastics. The beautiful line the toe point. Finally we had a gymnast who had both. And she was never given the benefit of the doubt. A special gymnast. I don't see anyone bothering any more learning those things. If you are not an American you don't get the benefit of the doubt.