Monday, July 6, 2015

Which event is the strongest predictor of all-around rankings?

Gymternet, my apologies. I'm on a myth busting tirade.

In my previous post, we looked at whether D-scores were strong predictors of final all-around rankings.

Now, I want to set that post aside, and I want to look at which event is the strongest predictor of final all-around rankings.

On the men's side, conventional wisdom would say that pommel horse is the "make it or break it" event.

And on the women's side, NBC would have us believe that balance beam is the "make it or break it" event.

Well, let's take a look and see how things played out at the 2014 World Championships… 

  • When it comes to final rankings in the all-around competition in Nanning, all individual event scores are statistically significant.
  • So, the question really is, Which event is a stronger predictor of your all-around rank?
  • For the men, high bar is the strongest predictor of your final all-around rank.
  • For the women, uneven bars is the strongest predictor of your final all-around rank.
  • You can see this in the charts of relative importances below.
  • Note: We're looking at the final scores for each event.

For the stats nerds…


HB-3.06640.4630-6.622-0.3108039 4.32e-06



Eureka! This explains so much!

No wonder Oleg Verniaiev struggles in the all-around so much.

High bar is undoubtedly his weakest event, and when it comes to the final all-around rankings, high bar is pretty darn important.

Bretschneider? Epke? How much do I have to pay you to teach Oleg a Kovacs?

We need to improve Oleg's high bar! STAT!



  1. There are a lot more MAG gymnasts with high D scores while on the WAG side, only a small number even have high D scores. Those that do have higher D scores also happen to have high E scores. (I think within that small group at the top, D score might matter more). You would think that as the D score goes down the execution would go up but there are a lot of WAG gymnasts with both low D and low E so if you can improve on your E you can quickly separate yourself from the rest of the pack.

    1. The 2014 Worlds were a meet where both Simone and Larisa performed the same amount of difficulty. First and second were determined by execution.

      The 2013 Worlds were a different story. That said, when I ran the analyses, I got similar results for the women. E-scores were stronger predictors.

      P.S. If you'd like to continue the conversation about D and E scores, visit that blog post:

      This post looks at final scores–not D and E breakdowns.

    2. P.S. Out of curiosity, I ran the numbers for the top 10 all-around finishers. E-scores were still the strongest predictor.

      p value for D: 0.0197
      p value for E: 5.73e-05
      Beta value for D: -0.3012759
      Beta value for E: -0.8612570

      Compare that to the results for the top 24:

      p value for D: 3.30e-11
      p value for E: 2.54e-12
      Beta value for D: -0.5798
      Beta value for E: -0.6640

  2. This is great. And for men, it's very different than it was years ago. Vault was by far the weakest contribution to the score. One of the reasons they doubled the spread of the D-scores on vault a while back was because vault scores were so clustered. Meanwhile, PH *was* for a while the weird one, but high bar has changed so dramatically under this code that it's now dominating the score. FIG should fix that.

    (There is some pairwise correlation among events, too, as I recall.)

  3. For MAG, high bar is the last event. So, those who are good on high bar can jack up their difficulty to get a score that's good enough to win. (That's my nightmare if Oleg is close to Kohei after 5 rotations. Kohei will get on high bar and not come down until he has racked up 8.0 in difficulty. We already know what Oleg will do on high bar (around 6.5 D), and he won't be able to increase his D on the spot.)

    I wouldn't say Oleg "struggles" in the AA. :) He's on a 9-month winning streak right now. Has he lost an AA since Nanning? But I do worry about Kohei's winning kick on high bar. Oleg will have to build a huge lead after 5 rotations and hold off a fast-closing Kohei at the end.

    Now, as to women. I have no idea why bars is so important. I would have thought vault would be the most important event.

  4. I know that Oleg struggles on highbar, but I think that it would be much better for his score if he downgraded his highbar and fixed his floor. I feel that when it comes to floor, Oleg thinks he should cram in as much difficulty as he can manage, and it isn't consistent for him. Whenever he's up, Oleg prays that he hits his routines, but there is never any guarantee that he will. On floor, highbar and even pommel, it's always a coin toss. He'd have to get lucky on all 3 of those to win, and that's a lot of luck.

    Just like Jake Dalton managed to stay in the fight for all around in 2014 PG champs with his 13 on pommel, so could Oleg in Worlds. Work on floor landings, make highbar something more manageable and he can finally medal! It's better to consistently hit 90s rather than a 50:50 between a 82 and 92. Chances are, he's not gonna win with Kohei around, Oleg should opt for 2nd.

    I think of it this way, the chances of him going 6 for 6 are the same as Kohei falling. I love Oleg, but I just wish he'd perform consistently!

    PS: unfortunately that last statement can also be said for Mikulak, Belyavskiy, Sasaki, and every other gymnast I fan-boy over

    1. Mikulak doesn't even have a weak event, he just messes up randomly :'(