In artistic gymnastics, athletes need to compose their floor exercise routines in accordance with the Code of Points which is provided by the International Gymnastics Federation. In view of the latest rule modifications subsequent to the 2016 Olympic Games, this study investigates recent changes in judges' scorings with respect to changes in the characteristics of floor exercise routines in world elite male gymnasts. Therefore, all floor exercise routines (n = 25) performed in the men's floor exercise finals at the World Championships in 2013 (WC13), 2015 (WC15) and 2017 (WC17) were examined using video analysis. Gymnasts' scores (difficulty, execution and final scores), element group distributions and further exercise characteristics (e.g., the total amount of somersaults, twists, and landing errors) were defined as variables. Decreases in difficulty and execution scores were revealed for WC17 compared to WC15 and WC13, respectively (p < .01). Additionally, a decrease in the number of backward jumped elements was observed at WC17 (p < .01), whereas the number of forward jumped elements increased (p < .01). Furthermore, a significantly increased number of landing errors (p < .05) negatively correlated with the decrease in execution (p < .001) and final scores (p < .05). To conclude, current compositional trends in men's floor exercise encourage to include difficult forward jumps and multiple twisting connections in consideration of prudent teaching with respect to the gymnasts' individual abilities and the decisive influence of stick landings.
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