Saturday, October 5, 2013

2013 World Championships: On Brandon Wynn's Inquiry

To refresh our memories, here are the results from today's rings final:

  1. Arthur Zanetti, Brazil, 15.800 (6.8 D)
  2. Aleksandr Balandin, Russia, 15.733 (6.9 D)
  3. Brandon Wynn, USA, 15.666 (6.7 D)

When Brandon Wynn's score flashed, he sat in third position--a rather precarious place to be with three gymnasts left to perform. Team USA, however, thought that Brandon should be in second.

You see, Brandon competed the same routine during prelims and was awarded a 6.8 D score. But in finals, he was awarded a 6.7 D score. Confused, the coaches filed an inquiry, hoping to bump up his D score to a 6.8.

In the end, the inquiry was rejected, and Brandon's D score remained unchanged. This left many gymnastics fans wondering what changed between prelims and finals. How did Brandon's D score drop a whole tenth? Here's what I think happened…

To start, watch Brandon's routine from prelims:

Now, watch his routine from finals:

At first glance, the two routines seem almost identical.

  • Pineda (D: 0.4). 
  • L-cross press to inverted cross (?)
  • Back uprise to inverted cross (D: 0.4). 
  • Jonasson (D: 0.4). 
  • Uprise to planche (D: 0.4). 
  • Roll to Maltese (F: 0.6) 
  • Front uprise to L-sit (B: 0.2)
  • Back uprise to Maltese (E: 0.5). 
  • Nakayama (D: 0.4)
  • Uprise to handstand (C: 0.3). 
  • Giant.
  • Full-twisting double layout (D: 0.4).
Crossed out skills do not count as one of his 10 elements. 

But there's a very small difference between the two routines. It has to do with the second element in Brandon's routine: the press from his L-cross to inverted cross. According to the Code of Points, gymnasts can press from cross to inverted cross in two ways. One way is a D and the other way is an E.

During qualifications, Brandon's body was straighter as he pressed:
Before he tipped all the way upside down, he opened his hips, which meant that the judges could credit him with an E (0.5): a straight body press from cross to inverted cross.

During finals, however, his body remained piked throughout the skill:
Which meant that the judges could credit him with only a D (0.4): a piked press from cross to inverted cross.

The difference: 0.1 in start value.


Luckily, it all worked out in Brandon's favor. Even with a lower D score, he still ended up on the medal stand. Sure, had he straightened his body in finals, he could have had a silver medal rather than a bronze. Nevertheless, based on the photos from today, I'd say that Brandon is pretty content with his bronze medal.

So, there you have it. Piked press vs. straight body press. I think that's what made the difference.

By the way, in case you're not keeping track, here are the medal breakdowns by country:

JPN: 5
USA: 2
BRA: 1
GER: 1
GBR: 1
RUS: 1

Related links for those who are clueless about rings:

Rings primers:


  1. Thanks! That was really helpful sd I was confused as well. Really enjoying your worlds commentary.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for the confirmation, Luke! I've been enjoying your tweets from Antwerp!

  3. Follow-up: It appears that Brandon didn't know that there were two ways to perform the skill:

  4. i thought china had a medal on parallel bars?

    1. They did win a p-bar medal, but this post was written on the first day of event finals.

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