Robot judging is coming to gymnastics

The FIG executive committee is currently meeting in Baku. Nellie Kim talked to the local press about the plans for the meeting.

The interview is in Russian. The English translation is below.

Q: What issues are going to be discussed in the meeting?

A: Right now there are several working groups preparing proposals to submit to the executive committee. One such group is in charge of competitions and marketing; another – educational committee – is working on the issues of coaching gymnastics around the world. That is, how to help the countries in which the sport is not developed at all, how to promote it. There’s also a committee working on developing safer apparatuses for gymnastics. Right now all these committees are compiling the development plan for the next four years. For example, they made proposals that can affect the qualification process for the Tokyo 2020 games. It’s a big change compared to the previous quad. Budgets and plans for the future competitions are also discussed. There will be a presentation about the preparations for this year’s World Championships. The technical committees will be updating about the World Cup organization.

Among the issues, I can note that we still can’t find anyone to organize the Aerobics or Acrobatics Worlds. We also have some issues with judges and with the organization that is in charge of this year’s University Games. The plans that they proposed to the several Olympic committees right now are not doable.

Q: Will there be any innovations adopted before the Tokyo Games?

A: The FIG president Morinari Watanabe proposed to use a computer program to judge the routines. He demonstrated this program, produced by Fujitsu, to us. The program is noting all the angles, the position of the gymnast’ body. Based on this, the D score will be calculated by the computer. Right now, calculating the D score by human judges takes a lot of time, it’s difficult to calculate so the score often can be subjective. The program is good, but it’s not finished yet. Before we can use it, we’ll have to test it several times, so that the athletes would get absolutely correct D scores. We saw a demonstration of the program judging pommel horse routines, but there is the beam, there is the floor exercise. There are criteria there that the computer won’t be able to take into account – artistry, originality, virtuosity. Right now human judges are irreplaceable.

Q: At the end of this year, there will be presidential elections in UEG and Farid Gaibov (the general secretary of AGF) is going to run for the president. What do you think about his chances?

A: Becoming a president will be a logical conclusion of his activities. With his work in AGF, he proved that people can not only talk, but also do real work and that Azerbaijan is working and has the results to show. Right now Gaibov is a vice-president of UEG and Azerbaijan is making a big contribution to the development of European gymnastics. That is why I think it makes sense that Gaibov should become the president of UEG. I don’t see any other candidates and I don’t doubt that he will win.


Photo: GettyImages

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  • I’m more curious about how Nellie Kim would explain why Spridonova had a false 6.7 D value on bars at Rio’s qual.

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