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The Judges Go Off



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The Judge Survey

  • This week, we had elite and NCAA judges complete an anonymous survey, and they did NOT hold back. We discuss:
    • Parents offering sexual favors to get their children higher scores
    • Judges getting bribed to adjust scores
    • The deep generational tension permeating NCAA women’s judging
    • The politics of changing scores to stay in range with the rest of the panel
  • Judging: Not for the faint of heart. Stories about thrown projectiles, threats of bodily harm, and the very real danger presented by passionate grandparents
  • Judges offer up what needs to change in judging, including deep racial bias from other judges and the impossibility of judging accurately in NCAA
  • The judges sound off on what they get most unfairly criticized for
  • The biggest misconceptions about gymnastics judging—like the importance of lineup order and the alleged subjectivity of judging
  • Plus, the hero child who punched the beam, a spate of judge food poisoning, and an important lesson about why you don’t go to the bathroom to complain about the judges




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Melanie Blaszkowski
Melanie Blaszkowski
1 year ago

Hi Jessica and Spencer!

Your friendly figure skater but new gymnastics fan here. I loved the judges episode this week! There was a brief mention at the end of the episode about a review or recording that a judge looked at and it got me thinking. In skating, the reason the scores take a few minutes to be announced is because they have a technical specialist that reviews jumps and spins from video replay to determine certain levels or technical deductions from an element. They will eventually give the base score for the element then the judges scores are added that for quality, looks, amplitude. There is a love/hate relationship with the reviewing in the skating world, and I wanted to ask if the gymnastics world does this as well, in any capacity? If they don’t, what are your thoughts on instant replay and adjusting scores based on that?

P.S – all the Make It or Break It talk had me rewatch it (came out when I was in middle school/high school) but I dont think I can keep going after the 2nd episode had the girls use gymnastics to fight off the gang at the gas station and it had all the swooshing noises… so cringy!

Thanks for the everything you do!

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