Rio 2016: Number Crunching Team Scores, Risk Versus Reward


A little number crunching to finish off my Rio coverage, I’ve put together a table of data from the team final that some may be interested to see.

I thought it would be interesting to compare D and E scores, total deductions (penalties are independent from E scores), look at the total scoring potential of each team, and then look at what percentage of that potential total score the teams managed to achieve.  The figures give an interesting insight into where the balance lies in terms of pushing difficultly over execution or vice versa in terms of finishing position.


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Not all gymnasts were awarded their full difficultly, but this is always the case, and tends to even out across the board. Falls did make a difference to the result,  we can see that Russia would have remained second even without their fall, but China would have finished second had they not fallen twice, but still in third had they only fallen once. Great Britain would have finished fourth without their fall, and Brazil would have moved into fifth without their two falls, and into sixth if they had only counted one.

USA as we can see are ahead in all areas, the highest D score by 0.9 over China, the closest team to them in difficulty, and the most difficulty on three of the four pieces. Also by far the cleanest team, 3.75 ahead of The Netherlands who were the second cleanest team, but 8.3 ahead of them in difficulty. They were 4.709 cleaner than China showing that they are getting the balance absolutely right, bringing the big D scores, but with the execution to back it up. Even on bars where they were only awarded the fifth highest difficulty, thanks to superior execution scores, they were still the highest scorers on this piece. A winning margin of 8.209, with 94.3% of their scoring potential achieved, at present simply untouchable.

Russia also did well, fourth highest D score, but even with a fall they took the silver thanks to recording the third highest E score, and third highest total deductions. Unsurprisingly bars was where they were strongest, with the second highest D score, but also the second highest E score to back it up. They will look to build on floor where at present they are weaker, but they did bring one big vault, and all three of their gymnasts vaulted cleanly for the second highest E and overall vault score. In terms hitting their of scoring potential, Russia were second to the US with 92%. In contrast to 2015, Russia have been a lesson in hitting when it matters this year in team events, European Champions, and Olympic silver medalists.

China’s D score gamble didn’t come off, two falls, so lower E score totals on bars and floor, but also only 6th on vault overall, and 7th on E score on this piece. 2.6 ahead of Russia in D score they would have hoped for the silver especially as Russia fell once, and with China falling twice that would have only taken 1.0 off. Vault is where China really lost out out, no major error, but Russia over a point ahead of them on E score still. Russia  had the sixth highest overall deductions, China the second.  One fall difference between the two teams, but 4.709 in E score, for the minor medals it was E over D.

Japan came in 5th on D, and 5th on E, with 4th highest deductions overall. Their position of fourth was more down to the GB team not hitting as well as they could have, which allowed Japan to finish above them.  Japan also brought two big vaults, so recorded the second highest D on this piece, although were down in 7th on execution placing them 4th overall on vault. They also did well on floor where they were awarded the 4th highest D score, 5th highest E score, but by being in the middle and hitting well enough (even with a 0.4 penalty) they finished third on this piece overall. With Tokyo 2020 coming, it will be very interesting to watch Japan over the next quad.

Great Britain also went for higher D scores, but were brought down on E score (although as I have said, I feel Ellie’s vault should have been awarded more, and the team place fourth). The third highest D of the competition, but the sixth highest E score, and with 0.5 of penalties on floor, the highest overall deductions. For a team with powerful gymnasts, 6th on vault in D score is something I am sure will change by the next major team competitions in 2018, if the big vaults weren’t ready, they weren’t ready, and there is no point ever risking the gymnasts, especially as the big vaults are going to come from Ellie and Amy who we hope to see lead the GB team through the quad to Tokyo. Bars were good, but not as good as they can be, so the E score was down a little here, beam and floor is an area to look at E scores, as D score wise the team is very competitive. On beam especially, there was a fall yes, but three teams had a beam fall, but if you take the falls away from all teams, it would still have been eighth place on E score for this piece. I feel that over the quad great strides have been made on beam, two reserves for the Olympic final is a huge improvement, but cleaner, consistent, confident routines in major finals will certainly be an area of focus.

Germany came with the seventh highest D, but competed very well to earn the 4th highest E score. Particularly strong on bars with the second highest D, and 4th highest E, they are at present weaker on vault and floor, so will look to build here to strengthen their team total.

The Netherlands were lowest on D score, but unsurprisingly did very well on E score, finishing second behind the US. They are strong on beam of course, and now have a well deserved Olympic champion in Sanne Wevers . Netherlands only do the gymnastics they can do cleanly and leave the rest in the home gym. Of course this means they are unable to compete for medals at present as a team, but it will be interesting to watch them develop, and see whether they follow the same model, or bring in a little more difficulty at the risk of a little of their execution in order to challenge. I look forward to seeing their juniors at junior Europeans in 2018 to see which path they have chosen.

Brazil similar to China and GB weren’t able to pull off all their difficulty cleanly. They had two falls, and although the sixth highest D, they were 8th on E score. The did bring a big vault, and placed 4th on E score on this piece, third overall, but they weren’t able to stay clean on the remaining three pieces. Rebecca Andrade is a big talent though, and although she had errors in Rio, did incredibly well to return from injury to be there, and is certainly one to keep an eye on for world championships next year.

So which is the best model? As often is the case, it seems the middle ground. Too much difficulty and some have struggled with consistency and execution, placing lower than they potentially could. Too little, and there just isn’t the chance to compete with the high D score teams. The code changes next year as it always does after a full Olympic cycle, and I will be writing a post about it so readers can know what to expect. There are some major changes, but what remains the same is you have to be able to hit what you are doing cleanly to be rewarded, but you also have to have to bring the big skills. In a sport all about balance, the challenge for the gymnasts, personal and national coaches, is getting the D:E ratio just right.