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What is the term for a perfect score of 10 in gymnastics?

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In artistic gymnastics, a perfect score of 10.000 for a single routine was once considered unattainable—especially at the Olympic Games—under the code of points set by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG). This concept of a “Perfect 10” dates back to the old scoring system used until 2006It represented a flawless performance with no deductions for errors12.

However, the scoring system has evolved. The FIG introduced an open-ended scoring system in 2006, replacing the 10.0 system. Under this new system, scores can exceed 10.0, and there is no longer a consistent “perfect” score. Execution scores are still out of 10, but the theoretical possibility exists for a gymnast to get a partial “perfect 10” (for execution) in addition to whatever maximum number they get for difficulty. However, no such score has been awarded in decades3.

Despite the change, the “Perfect 10” remains a symbol of perfection and excellence in gymnastics. The first person to score a perfect 10 at the Olympic Games was Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci during the 1976 Games in Montreal. Other women who achieved this feat at the Olympics include Nellie Kim, also in 1976, Mary Lou Retton in 1984, Daniela Silivaș, and Yelena Shushunova in 1988, as well as Lu Li and Lavinia Miloșovici in 1992. The first man to score a perfect 10 is considered to be Alexander Dityatin, at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow1.

While the “Perfect 10” may no longer be achievable in modern gymnastics scoring, its legacy endures as a testament to extraordinary performances on the gymnastics floor.