What is a pommel horse and how does scoring work?

Tokyo 2020

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Pommel horse is an event that on its face looks uncomplicated: a horse with two wooden pommels. Though, it does kind of make you wonder who thought up this event?

And if you think it just looks like circles over and over again, well, you’re not completely wrong. The circle on the pommel horse is the basic maneuver, but there are lots of details surrounding that skill that make the event so tricky to do and also understand.

“If you watch someone like Alec Yoder, that circle doesn’t change throughout the whole routine and that’s something that’s super key and something that you drill in,” explained former Ohio State gymnast Andrew Brower. “There’s a lot of little things that you pick up on that are super impressive and one of those is the single-handle turns on the one-arms.”

Another thing to look for with the basic circle motion is moving back and forth across the horse. The event is all about rhythm and keeping the same pace.

Of course, you can’t just do that one circle the entire time; so, the challenge is mixing in other techniques seamlessly like the scissors skill.

“Especially those scissors that go to handstand and then you come back down,” Andrew said. “Those are pretty high-level ones. A lot of the times where those deductions will come is actually in that transition. So it’s not so much the skill that’s hard, it’s getting in and out of that skill where some people have trouble.”

The pommel horse finals are Sunday, August 1. Yoder qualified fourth in the preliminaries so he definitely has a chance to land on the medal stand.

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