Sunday, May 25, 2014

MAG: What's Your Country's Worst Event?

When Coach Rick asks you a question, you answer him. That's the first rule of gymternet etiquette.

So, when he asked me this…

…I put together some sexy data for him. As you look at the charts below, please keep in mind the following:
  1. If you click on the image, it gets bigger!
  2. I'm looking at the averages from the team competitions at the Olympics and the World Championships.
  3. The charts include only the counting scores. So, if the competition was 4-up, 3-count, then, the averages included in the chart reflect only the 3 counting scores.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let's look to see which events the world sucks at, shall we?

Russia since 2006

First up, Russia.

More specifically, Russia under the new scoring system. Were the Russians bad at high bar like Coach Rick hypothesized?

During team competitions under the new Code of Points, Russia's highest scoring event was vault. Their lowest scoring event was pommel horse. Here are the overall averages:

  1. Vault average: 15.993
  2. Parallel bar average: 15.176
  3. Rings average: 15.143
  4. Floor average: 14.794
  5. High bar average: 14.701
  6. Pommel horse average: 14.393
Yes, yes, I know. I shouldn't lump all the scores together and average them together because there were changes in the Code. Blah, blah, blah. This is a blog--not a scientific journal article. And if you look at the green line, there's no question that pommel horse has been Russia's lowest scoring event under the new Code.

The United States since 2006

I guess this shouldn't come as a surprise. The pommel horse has pummeled America, as well.

Again, bear in mind that there were multiple iterations of the Code between 2006 and 2012. So, the scores aren't necessarily comparable, but my day job involves lots and lots of numbers. So, the last thing I want to do is weigh the numbers - like a real data analyst would do. So, take the following averages with a grain of salt:

  1. Vault average: 15.885
  2. Parallel bar average: 15.194
  3. Floor average: 15.107
  4. High bar average: 15.091
  5. Rings average: 15.045
  6. Pommel horse average: 14.255
As the green, boogery line indicates, America, like, really sucked at pommel horse.

You have to give the United States credit, though. When the new Code was first instated, high bar was one of America's weakest events, and they worked on it, making it one of their strongest events. (Read: They got better at Kovacs.)

Japan since 2006

As I was putting together the data, I was kind of surprised by Japan's average scores.

All in all, their averages are higher than America's. I'm sure that America would have loved to average a 15.192 during the 2008 team finals in Beijing. Nevertheless, Japan's lowest scoring event has been pommel horse.

  1. Vault average: 15.875
  2. Parallel bar average: 15.579
  3. Rings average: 15.250
  4. High bar average: 15.147
  5. Floor average: 15.011
  6. Pommel horse average: 14.755
When it comes to Japan's scores, the real kicker was their floor average.  On several occasions, floor was Japan's lowest scoring event

Say what!?

When I saw that, I was confused – like Jake-Dalton-seeing-Kenzo-Shirai's-floor-score-in-Antwerp confused. (WTF was that reaction all about?) I mean, how could floor be Japan's worst event when Kohei Uchimura won so many floor medals?

It just goes to show how individual medals color our perception of an entire team, huh?

China since 2006

I guess the same could be said for the Chinese on pommel horse. I certainly didn't expect China's worst event to be pommel horse.

That green line again! Howwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!? I mean, Xiao Qin won pommel horse three years in a row! I guess it just goes to show that one man can't carry the entire team score--no matter how good he is:
  1. Vault average: 16.141
  2. Parallel bar average: 15.639
  3. Rings average: 15.472
  4. High bar average: 15.178
  5. Floor average: 15.045
  6. Pommel horse average: 14.861
Which makes you wonder: Is it harder to get a high score on pommel horse under the open-ended Code?

I don't know if I have the answer to that question, but I can show you a little more sexy data if you'd like…

Russia under the 10

For Russia, pommel horse has always been its weakest event.

Yes, yes, yes. I realize that a few meets are missing. Trying to find the scores from old meets ain't easy.

Okay, that chart just looks like someone threw up Skittles. Let's make sense of the numbers.

Overall average:
  1. Vault average: 9.557
  2. Parallel bar average: 9.404
  3. Rings average: 9.375
  4. Floor average: 9.368
  5. High bar average: 9.359
  6. Pommel horse average: 9.294

Even under the 10.0 system, Russia's weakest event was probably pommel horse.

The United States under the 10

And as you can imagine, we could say something similar about America…

Again, to make sense of the Skittle vomit, here are the overall averages:

  1. Parallel bar average: 9.510
  2. Vault average: 9.494
  3. High bar average: 9.484
  4. Rings average: 9.457
  5. Floor average: 9.376
  6. Pommel horse average: 9.355
Some things never change. Even under the 10.0, parallel bars and vault tended to be America's top events, and pommel horse… well… yeah… I just… try not to think about it.

Japan under the 10

Interestingly enough, under the 10.0 system, pommel horse was not Japan's worst scoring event.

The slimy green line at the bottom was replaced by a blue line, which can only mean one thing. Floor was Japan's worst event for a few years there.

  1. Vault average: 9.534
  2. Pommel horse average: 9.531
  3. High bar average: 9.530
  4. Rings average: 9.523
  5. Parallel bars average: 9.469
  6. Floor average: 9.310

China under the 10

Likewise, during the PZK age (Pre-Zou-Kai age), floor was also China's worst event.
  1. Pommel horse average: 9.573
  2. Parallel bar average: 9.570
  3. Vault average: 9.547
  4. High bar average: 9.425
  5. Rings average: 9.403
  6. Floor average: 9.352
Well, I'll be darned. Look at that.

It is possible to assemble a team that posts big scores on the pommel horse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. To answer Coach Rick's question, Russia's worst event was not high bar. It was pommel horse.
  2. America is going to need a miracle from the gym gods if it's going to change its evil ways.

I'm sure that there's a lot more that could be said about this sexy data. But it's a holiday weekend in the United States, and my brain needs a break from sexy data.

Leave your analyses in the comments section below!


  1. Thanks for the analysis.

    Please cancel your day off and use RANK 1-6 compared to the rest rather than score. That data would be rank. :-)

  2. Genuinely surprised pommel pummels so many - I think it's my country's (GB) strongest event!

  3. This analysis should be compared to the average score at the time, not within the other events.
    A 14.7 average may be the lowest raw score on pommels vs other events, but if the meet average is 13.5 then its actually a strong event.

  4. Yeah, a good horse score in 2012 could be a whole point lower than a good vault score by the nature of the apparatus.

  5. Would you be able to do this for Great Britain? Thanks :)