China's fluctuating scores in Rio, including team leader Shang Chunsong's AA scores, raised concerns among gymnastics professionals in China. (Photo @ Shang Chunsong's public weibo account)

Despite much controversy in Rio's judging, the FIG has brought things to a higher level with then-FIG President Bruno Grandi stating that Chinese gymnasts were robotic and should be more westernised if they want better results in the future. This makes China, who used to be one of the mildest critique of the FIG, shows its recent disagreement towards the FIG's judging more openly.

In an interview right after the all-around (AA) finals in the Rio Olympics, Shang tearfully said that she felt her beam score was robbed because she felt that she did better in AA than in TF. She also said that if the margin between her and Aliya was more she would not have been that sad. The CCTV commentator mentioned that Shang Chusong's beam routine difficulty score should be 0.2 points higher, and the team challenged the score but was rejected. Eventually, Shang lost by less than 0.2 points.

Shang Chunsong was not the only one to have spoken up. Team China's coordinator Ye Zhannan stated that Chinese gymnasts being underscored had not been new. He opined that FIG had "fixed Team China's score within a certain range", even if they performed flawlessly, their score could not be boosted, and that was something the Chinese Gymnastics insiders never understood. He especially pointed out that if a Chinese gymnast performed the way Mustafina did in the AA, she would not have got the same score as Mustafina's.

"Now that the FIG is heavily penalizing some elements which Chinese gymnasts are good at (such as pirouettes on bars), it is not only good for Team China, but is also bad for the sport in general", Ye suggested, "It makes the sport lacks variety, and the FIG is failing to popularise the sport." He also pointed out that it is not a must for China to win gold, but they also want to demonstrate their detailed technique and the sportsmanship of Chinese athletes through competitions. The Chinese Gymnastics Federation had thus written a letter to the FIG to make a protest.

Written by Valerie Theodora Ko



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