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10 is no longer perfect

Miriam BaierNo more perfect 10s in the Olympics gymnastics competition that starts this weekend? Ten isn’t good enough anymore.

Say it isn’t so.

Since Nadia Comaneci stormed into perfection in the 1976 Olympics with a 10.00 in Montreal, the world of gymnastics has had that hovering just out of reach above the uneven parallel bars.

But the International Gymnastics Federation changed the scoring format following medal disputes at the 2004 Olympics.

Now the scores of the participants are totaled from two assessments — the difficulty of the routine and the execution, which begins at 10 and deducts for errors. Top scores now can extend into the 17s.

Americans love 10s, thus our aversion to the used-everywhere-else-in-the-world metric system that is NOT based on 10. We love our decimals and our “ths” at the end of ten and hundred.

We and David Letterman make lists of top 10 reasons to do or not do everything, like returning gymnastics scoring to 10 for example.

Physicians ask patients to rate their pain on a scale of one to 10.

We teach our children to count to 10.

We often rank winners in various competitions from one through 10.

We also have been conditioned since 1979 that women should be rated on that scale thanks to Bo Derek in the movie 10. Who can forget her slow motion beach romp with her bouncing beaded hair, among other attributes?

No doubt the IGF knew what it was doing when the changes were made, but I just can’t see getting all excited about a 16 or 17 like I can the sound of a 10.

That is just perfect.

At least it used to be.

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