The code is a failure? You think?
Anyone else get the feeling this letter is just him telling us he has more to do? It is not his fault his vision sucks. It is everyone elses fault?
When is he up for election again?
Oh, that Code!
The more seasoned among us remember back to the first Code. A twelve-page opus crafted by Gander, Lapalu and Hentges, it gave structure to Men’s Artistic Gymnastics and mapped out judging in three distinct categories: difficulty, combination and execution. That was back in 1949.
Today, the Code reaches out to cover all FIG disciplines; it governs everything, infiltrating gymnastics like a metastasis that spreads and traps the sport in its deadly net. Originally created to serve the development of our sport, the Code has mutated into a time bomb that we are wholly unable to contain. Worse, it is a pitfall to judges and gymnasts alike, and creates situations that are often impossible to navigate. Remember Athens!
The time has come for us, the technicians, judges and leaders in sport, to gather round a single table and revisit the Code; to re-equip our discipline with the structure and spirit originally inherent to it. This is the endgame of the FIG Symposiums for Rhythmic Gymnastics in Zurich (SUI) at the end of April, for Artistic and Trampoline in mid-June and for Aerobic and Acrobatic in September.
Simplify the Codes; we all agree on this point. Keep in mind the essence of Roman law, the first legal system in the history of Man and which is still active today. According to our predecessors, excessive detail is what dilutes and suffocates justice. Too many laws annihilate law itself!
Starting in 2005, we took successful steps toward standardising our Codes; a commendable action, to be sure, but a far cry from being enough. What we need is complete and unequivocal reform if we hope to have a Code that serves to further develop our sport. We must simplify, not complicate. What is the essential reason for the Code? What is it made to do? What is the meaning of its existence? The answer is found in history, whose most basic message is that in order to move forward into the future, one often needs to take a brief look into the past.
At the 1948 Olympic Games in London, judging in gymnastics was scandalous! Judges were using criteria to evaluate exercises specific only to their own countries. It was a free for all. Such chaos! A Code was then created to clarify and classify criteria to maintain a standardised approach to judging. Unity was finally re-established.
A mere twelve pages in 1949 compared to hundreds today, not counting the thousands of symbols that go with them! How can a judge effectively react, evaluate and decide in mere seconds and under the pressure that goes hand in hand with, say, an Olympic Final? Impossible; it is beyond human capacity.
We need a Code, a point of reference, which will bring structure to the evaluations brought by our judges and allow us to employ the Fairbrother system. Only by doing this will we be able to avoid situations such as were experienced in Athens and London. We have the tools, IRCOS for one, which can aid in attributing an accurate technical score if used properly. But we must accept the fact that the Artistic score is largely a product of a more subjective, and certainly human, evaluation. That is the variable in our equation; fallible but not unjust. And if we are to lose ourselves in the nimbus of objectivity, we have reference judges in the wings to set our course straight.
Thank you for your attention.
FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE GYMNASTIQUE
Prof Bruno Grandi, President
Lausanne (SUI) / FIG Office, May 1, 2011.
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