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Palm Beach County gymnastics coach heading to Paris to judge men's artistic gymnastics

'I was just so happy to finally be in the Olympics,' Jim Li Lin Way says
Posted at 5:25 PM, Jun 11, 2024

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — The Summer Olympic Games kick off in less than 50 days.

WPTV spoke with a Palm Beach County gymnastics coach heading to Paris to judge the Olympic men's artistic gymnastics competition.

It's been a year of firsts for Jim Li Lin Way.

First, he received a letter letting him know he's been chosen as an execution judge in the men's artistic gymnastics competition at the Paris Olympics.

"I was just so happy to finally be in the Olympics after almost eight years of working really hard," Way said.

Only 46 people are chosen to be a judge in the Olympic competition. It's a decision made by the International Gymnastics Federation from a small pool of qualified judges.

Jim Li Lin Way speaks about the excitement of finally getting to judge Olympic competitions.
Jim Li Lin Way speaks about the excitement of finally getting to judge Olympic competitions.

The judges have to prove themselves at big events like the World Championships and Pan American Games.

"After all of that, big competitions, finally this is the last one, the high, high, competition to judging," Way said.

Nine judges are chosen to score Olympic gymnastics events. Those judges are broken into three groups: the D Panel (difficulty score), E Panel (execution score) and Reference Panel.

Way said every judge is looking for the perfection of skills.

"You need to work hard on training your eyes to get that right angle because we have deductions between angles," Way said. "Your eyes need to be photographic to where the gymnasts make deductions."

His other first is what he did just this week!

On Monday, he opened his 23,000-square-foot NTS gymnastics gym in Boynton Beach.

The facility is state of the art and hosts all levels, but he'll personally focus on the elite gymnasts.

He said coaching and judging competitions go hand in hand.

"It's complimentary ... coaching and judges for me especially," Way said. "It's really important because you are always with the last updates of the rules."

He said if you're looking for a perfect 10 score it's more than likely not going to happen at an international competition like the Olympics. He said the difficulty of the routines these days lends itself to mistakes which means deductions.