Perfect 10 (gymnastics)

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Nadia Comăneci was the first woman to score a perfect 10 at the Olympics.

In gymnastics, the maximum possible score was a perfect 10 until the rules were changed in 2006 by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG).[1] In 1976, Romanian Nadia Comăneci became the most famous gymnast in the world when she became the first woman to score a perfect 10 at the Olympic Games. Other gymnasts who accomplished this feat at the Olympics included Mary Lou Retton in 1984 and Daniela Silivaș in 1988. Currently, there are different top scores for various events based upon difficulty ratings and no consistent perfect score.

Impetus for change[edit]

The scoring system came under review as a result of two incidents during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.[2] In the men's individual all-around competition, South Korean Yang Tae-Young was awarded the bronze medal, rather than the gold, because of a scoring error, which the FIG decided to let stand. (However, both commentator Tim Daggett[3] and Miles Avery,[4] gold medalist Paul Hamm's coach, later reviewed tapes of Yang's performance and stated they found a second scoring error, in which he was not docked 0.2 points for making four holds instead of the maximum allowed three, which would have more than offset the first error.) The second controversy centered on Russian Alexei Nemov in the men's horizontal bar final. The crowd so raucously voiced its displeasure with Nemov's score (perceived as too low) that the final was stopped for 10–15 minutes. Finally, the judges raised his score (though not enough for a medal). When this did not satisfy the spectators, Nemov himself had to plead with the crowd to allow the competition to continue.[citation needed]

Criticism of the new system[edit]

The new scoring system is open-ended, rewarding competitors for incorporating more difficult elements.[citation needed]

The change has its share of critics. "It's crazy, terrible, the stupidest thing that ever happened to the sport of gymnastics," complained noted coach Béla Károlyi.[5] "It's hard to understand. I don't even understand it,"[5] remarked gymnast Mary Lou Retton. Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci commented, "It's so hard to define sports like ours and we had something unique. The 10, it was ours first and now you give it away."[1]

List of perfect 10s[edit]

This list may be incomplete.


Paris, 1924[edit]

Montreal, 1976[edit]

  • Nadia Comăneci (7) - uneven bars (team compulsory, team optionals, individual all-around, event finals) and balance beam (team optionals, individual all-around, event finals);
  • Nellie Kim (3) - all-around and individual vault, individual floor exercise;

(Olympic database;[7] Women's individual results;[8] women's all-around results;[9] women's team results[10])

Moscow, 1980[edit]

Women[citation needed]

(Men's all-around results;[11] men's individual event results[12])

Los Angeles, 1984[edit]

  • Li Ning (5) - individual floor exercise and pommel horse; pommel horse, rings, and vault in the team final
  • Tong Fei (4) - high bar in the individual, all-around, and team events; team rings
  • Koji Gushiken (3) - individual and team high bar; all-around vault
  • Lou Yun (3) - individual vault; vault in both rounds of the team final
  • Shinji Morisue (3) - high bar in the individual and both rounds of the team final
  • Peter Vidmar (3) - all-around high bar; pommel horse in the individual and team finals
  • Bart Conner (2) - parallel bars in both the team and individual events
  • Mitch Gaylord (2) - team parallel bars and rings
  • Tim Daggett - team high bar
  • Li Xiaoping - team pommel horse
  • Xu Zhiqiang - team high bar
  • Julianne McNamara (5) - individual uneven bars and floor exercise; all-around uneven bars; team uneven bars and floor exercise
  • Ecaterina Szabo (4) - floor exercise; all-around balance beam; team vault and floor exercise
  • Ma Yanhong (3) - individual, all-around, and team uneven bars
  • Mary Lou Retton (3) - floor exercise and vault in the all-around; vault in the team event
  • Simona Păucă - team balance beam

(Men's results;[13] women's results[14])

Seoul, 1988[edit]

  • Daniela Silivaș (7) - compulsory, team, all-around, and individual uneven bars, team balance beam, compulsory and all-around floor
  • Yelena Shushunova (7) - compulsory, team, and all-around vault, team and individual uneven bars, team and all-around
  • Dagmar Kersten (2) - compulsory, and individual uneven bars

(Men's results;[15] women's results[16])

Barcelona, 1992[edit]

(Women's results[17])

World Championships[edit]

  • Daniela Silivaş, 1985, 1987, and 1989 World Gymnastics Championships
  • Aurelia Dobre, 1987 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships (five times)
  • Svetlana Boginskaya, 1989 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships �(1) - floor exercise

European Championships[edit]

  • Vera Caslavska - 1967 European Artistic Gymnastics Championships (2) - all-around floor exercise, individual balance beam (first perfect tens scored in international women's artistic gymnastics competition).[18]


  1. ^ a b Diane Pucin (August 6, 2008). "A 10-shun Deficit". Los Angeles Times. 
  2. ^ Dan Baynes (August 6, 2008). "Olympic Gymnasts Won't Chase Perfect 10 as New Scoring Debuts". Retrieved February 14, 2010. 
  3. ^ Mark Da Cunha (August 19, 2004). "Olympic Gold All Around Gymnast Paul Hamm: Only Human". Capitalism Magazine. Retrieved April 9, 2010. 
  4. ^ Jill Lieber (August 23, 2004). "Hamm's coach sounds off on double-gold talk". USA Today. 
  5. ^ a b Jordan Ellenberg (August 12, 2008). "Down With the Perfect 10!". Slate. Retrieved February 14, 2010. [dead link]
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Gymnastics results for the 1976 Summer Olympics". Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Games of the 21st Olympiad 1976 Artistic Gymnastics / All-Around Final Women". Retrieved February 16, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Games of the 21st Olympiad 1976 Artistic Gymnastics / All-Around Final Women". Retrieved February 16, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Games of the 21st Olympiad 1976 Artistic Gymnastics / Teams Women". Retrieved February 16, 2010. 
  11. ^ "All-Around Final Men - Games of the 22nd Olympiad Moscow 1980". Retrieved February 16, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Games of the 22nd Olympiad 1980 Artistic Gymnastics / Events Finals Men". Retrieved February 16, 2010. 
  13. ^ "The Games of 23rd Olympiad / Men's Artistic Gymnastics". Retrieved February 16, 2010. 
  14. ^ "The Games of 23rd Olympiad / Women's Artistic Gymnastics". Retrieved February 16, 2010. 
  15. ^ "The Games of 24th Olympiad / Men". Retrieved February 16, 2010. 
  16. ^ "The Games of 24th Olympiad / Women". Retrieved February 16, 2010. 
  17. ^ "The Games of 25th Olympiad / Women". Retrieved February 16, 2010. 
  18. ^