Categorized | Men's Gymnastics, News, Olympics

Tim Daggett Questions Fairness of New Olympic Judging

Posted on 10 August 2008 by admin

We’ve explained the new gymnastic scoring here on our site , and theoretically, the scoring is an improvement over the past, allowing for two directions of excellence: that of increasing difficulty as well as of increasing precision in executing routines.

After the first night of men’s preliminary competition, the qualifying round, it is indeed interesting that Tim Daggett felt compelled to go on the air with this statement on NBC that he feels there is something amiss with the way the men’s routines are being judged in Beijing. He appears to be saying that each routine is not only evaluated by judges on the floor but that behind the scenes, judges are in front of screens possibly watching slow motion playbacks of each routine. He is intimating that there is too much micromanaging of the scoring from the top down, and that for the sake of athletes who trained their whole lives for this moment, this changing rules in the middle of competition has to stop.

We await more news on why the judging in Beijing has provoked this kind of serious critique after only one day of gymnastic competition.

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23 Comments For This Post

  1. LadyCove Says:

    Seems unfair to me. I was totally unaware of this practice…Heard it here first!

  2. SouthernPines Says:

    I am sick to death of Tim Daggett’s CRITICISM of every little mistake of not only our athletes, but others as well. Watching the women’s gymnastics tonight, I wondered if he was a total idiot. He sounds like an amateur announcer, and obviously thinks he is one of the judges. Being an American, I would assume he would be somewhat encouraging to the American audience; the American public is watching Tim–shame on you and your total criticism of every tiny mistake our athletes make–leave the judging to those who have the position. Do us all a favor and find another venue.

  3. Elaine Says:

    Given the difficulty of Kevin tan’s rings routine I am wondering if others think he got too low a score. the same with Artemev on the pommel horse. Wondering if others see any issue with lower scores than what should have been awarded. Is there a problem here?

  4. Elaine Says:

    My apologies, that should have been Kevin Tan with a capital T.

  5. admin Says:

    Elaine — If Kevin Tan had hit his dismount, he would easily have qualified for the Event Finals. It’s a shame, because he is among the world’s best on rings.

    As for Sasha, not sure what was up with his score. Nobody, and we mean nobody, does what he does on pommel. Not saying that he deserved the highest score, but his routine (when he hits it) is deserving of a medal. Given that nobody can do what he does, then why doesn’t he deserve a higher score when he hits? Perhaps somebody out there can explain why Xiao Qin’s pommel score was higher. No doubt that Xiao Qin’s amplitude and execution doing circles is second to none.

  6. Gymnast-Jen Says:

    The only reason I can think of that would cause Sasha’s pommel score to be lower is because of the US placement in sub-division I. That division scores historically lower than the rest, even when the routines are just as good as routines in the other divisions.

  7. admin Says:

    Jen – That explanation is as good as anything I’ve read.

  8. Chaka419 Says:

    I agree with Souherpines on Tim Dagget. He was practically falling over himself to heap praise on the Chinese women’s team while critizing every little thing with the American team. As an American I found him to be very disrespectful of who his audience was. As for the scoring, I know that some events always score lower than others. I also agree with the comment that earlier rounds score lower. I hope tonight he realizes who he should be routing for and against.

  9. Rebecca Says:

    Tim Daggett is perfectly awful; as is the blonde who comments on swimming. Terrible job.

  10. Brandon Says:

    I hope they’ll make some changes to their announcers before the individual finals. Or offer an option to mute specific announcers. You would think a gold medalist would have atleast a little more class and patriotism than that.

  11. Airlessness Says:

    Daggit Tim Dagget is sickening! He bashed seemingly every performance of the women’s team and praised China’s performance to no end; someone needs to get this guy off of commentary immediately!

  12. Dedalus Says:

    Tim Daggett needs to get a grip. “An error of biblical proportions” is how he described Alicia Sacremone’s mistake in the floor exercise. Are you kidding me? Like she doesn’t feel miserable enough, Tim feels the need to tell millions of viewers that a 20 year old ruined America’s chance to win. What a jackass. Must be hard being perfect, eh, Tim? I don’t want him to be all gung-ho America rules, but he, especially as former athelete, ought to know how it feels, and should temper his remarks. Biblical proportions. Unreal. And his two co-horts in the booth aren’t any better.

  13. admin Says:

    Sacramone is getting a bum rap. China won by 2.375 points. Alicia’s unfortunate miscues didn’t cost Team USA gold. China simply had the better team last night.

  14. Dedalus Says:

    Agreed. I wasn’t trying to imply that I agreed with Daggett and that Alicia at fault. Shen wasn’t. China was simply better last night..

  15. pria Says:

    After tonights all round womens gymnastics, I had to look up the name of the commentator as he was really annoying! Very Biased towards Americans. Isn’t he a journalist also. How about giving a world perspective for once instead of counting mistakes made by contestants from other countries and then judging them but on the other hand he is absolutely quiet when the Americans perform. Although the Americans were really good he made the show terrible for me. wake up people the world does not begin and end in north America.

  16. GymDad Says:

    Grousing about gymnastics commentators is a bit unfair. It’s the nature of judged sports to be compared against an unattainable standard. Athletes judged using the old scoring methodology begin each event with their highest possible score and loose points as they go. I tell ya it’s just not natural :). Most gymnastics coaches inundate their athletes with “corrections” right up until the moment of competition. It may be that Mr. Daggett’s commentary is unforgiving and exasperating – but such is the pursuit of perfection.

  17. claire Says:

    I cannot stand any of the gymnastics announcers. They are all arrogant and so critical, not to mention completely subjective. They need to focus more on an objective view of routines–instead of saying that the routine was “disappointing” and “horrible” they should simply state where the errors are and why. The only way I’ve been able to watch the gymnastics is with the TV on mute.

  18. Singletude Says:

    I feel like we’re watching two different broadcasts! Daggett has been very pro-American, even to the point of questioning why the judges were marking down our athletes and marking up the Chinese. Of course when the Chinese (or athletes of other nationalities) ARE great, he remarks on that, too. That’s called unbiased commentary. The fact that he can appreciate good routines from any country lends more weight to his words when he accuses the judges of unfair bias against the U.S.

  19. dmcuthb Says:

    I agree completely with Singletude (above). I feel as if Daggett was very unbiased and was surprised to find people bashing him. I almost feel like people want him to just praise the US and put everyone else down. Well that isn’t what is job is supposed to entail. It sucks to see when another country is better than the US but that doesn’t mean we should be poor losers. Daggett is doing a great job with his commentary.

  20. Mike Says:

    I think the big problem is the use of unqualified judges or judges who simply don’t have the experience in judging this type of sport.

    It’s not that the Chinese are better or worse because the proof is seen when they perform their events. However, in many instances Chinese athletes, benefitting from ‘home court advantage’ as it were, have NOT been given deductions which may or may not have taken them out of medal contention much less ranking them 3rd or 2nd.

    Of course, I want to see our athletes do well and I’m sure the US athletes don’t want to be handed a gold medal if they truly didn’t earn it but things need to be fair. It’s simply NOT fair to give athletes higher scores than they deserve based on their performance.

    C’mon, that chinese gymnist landed on her knees coming of the vault YET still beat out the American gymnists (the closest competitor) even when the US athlete landed on her feet on both vaults…how does anyone explain that blatant error in judging. I thought the point of vaulting was to, hmm, land on your feet? Apparently not.

    That’s just one example and all I am saying is that judging should be consistent and fair across the board without all this controversy. It doesn’t help this sport when you have such negative press and drama when it should be the best time for an athlete.

    Reminder…SILVER is still 2nd in the WORLD!! Not bad either and better than most of us could ever accomplish…


  21. sinatra12 Says:

    I agree with Mike.
    I am strickly a viewer, I have never been a gymnast but have been watching for many years. To see falls and wobbles being scored higher than those without falls and less wobbles really makes you feel a little cheated as a viewer.

    My heart goes out to all of those young people that have trained for years with a dream of being judged fairly. It also puts a dark could over the sport, which is also not fair to those athletes.

    Whether you agree or disagree with what Tim Dagget was saying, you have to admit that falling on a routine should not get you a medal unless everyone is falling.

    I hope they can clean this mess up, but as of today, gymnastics has lost 1 viewer. Maybe things will be different in 2012.

  22. walkingbetween Says:

    Tim Dagget is a former gymnast, not a judge. If you watch CCTV their announcer is a world-class gymnastics judge and predicts the scores almost always accurately. There is nothing wrong with the judging at this Olympics. why?

    The uneven bars:

    Yes they should give two golds like they used to do.
    Those who think Liukin should get higher score than He Kexin think that because Tim Dagget said so. It was his opinion, but not necessarily the right one. He has never been a judge. Using his “visible error” logic, Yang Yilin (who got bronze) should have had the highest score because she had perfect landing and no visible error at all. The gold would still have gone to China.
    Clearly “visible error” is not the only place you can get deductions. That’s why you have professional judges.

    The vault:

    The rankings are determined by the Average score of two vaults they do, not any single one. Cheng Fei had a perfect, super difficult first vault which gave her 16+. She did get a much lower score than Alicia’s 2nd jump due to her landing, but her first score was much higher than Alicia’s and they evened out. She slightly edged out in the average.
    She also had much higher starting value than Alicia on both vaults, which helped.

    Don’t forget in the uneven bars qualification round, Liukin landed on her back yet she still got a high score 15.95 because of her start value. If landing is the only criteria, everyone would do the simplest move.

    There is nothing biased going on there. Learn the rules and learn to think for yourself instead of what your biased media lead you to think. They have their own interest to spice things up and create controversies.

    In a way I think they are very unprofessional in how they presented this case (replaying the fall over and over again and ignoring it’s the average that decided the ranking) when in fact there was nothing controversial at all.

  23. Rich Mann Says:

    Disregard my first postings for bad punctuation!

    Some issues come to mind:
    Out of the misfortune of the Olympic rings performance slip of Hiroyuki Tomita (2008), might he not have created a new trick (an arabian double side dismount.) Lets face it he almost made it.
    Like cats, Isn’t that what gymnasts are well equipped for? (improvising)
    The Flying rings event was always my favorite before it was banned for safety reasons, but as a still ring fan I have never seen the routine that the old school Olympic champion, Albert Azarian from back in the day, equaled in any performance at the olympics. His routine was executed in an amazing and amusing style which would have had a great appeal today. He included an Olympic Cross. And powered from one side to the other without raising up to change positions. Genius! It would have been a classic move for these games.
    He also performed an Under gripped Victorian planche. Are these tricks too difficult for our contemporary gymnasts to achieve? Or are they just too antiquated?

    Despite all the disasters and mishaps in the world at these times this was the greatest Olympics to date. Bravo to China, “You stuck it!”

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