In the mid-1950’s a series of rules was developed to standardise competitive gymnastics:
- Gymnasts are only allowed to make one attempt on each apparatus.
- Assistants known as ‘spotters’ may stand next to specified pieces of apparatus to prevent risk of injury but 0.4 will be taken off the final score if help is required.
- Spotters are allowed to help gymnasts mount the still rings and the horizontal bars.
- Gymnasts may wear bandages or leather grips to increase friction on the apparatus.
- Gymnasts may be penalised for what the judges consider to be unsporting behaviour.
- Gymnasts may repeat a routine if it has been interrupted by an external factor.
- Gymnasts must obtain permission to leave the arena during a competition.
Gymnastics events are scored by two groups of judges: difficulty judges and execution judges who each award the gymnast a mark out of ten at the end of their routine. If a minor error is made 0.1 is taken off the final mark but more serious errors may cost the gymnast anything up to 0.4 of a point deduction. If the gymnast falls off a piece of apparatus half a point is deducted. Once each judge has given a mark, the highest and lowest scores are discounted and the gymnast’s overall score is averaged from the remaining scores.