The formal definition of gymnastics, according to Oxford Dictionaries, is “Exercises developing or displaying physical agility and coordination.
Gymnastics is a sport where athletes (called gymnasts) perform acrobatic skills (leaps, flips, turns, handstands, etc) on apparatus such as a balance beam, or with a piece of apparatus like a rope or ribbon.
Gymnastics is performed by both men and women at many levels, from local clubs and schools to colleges and universities, and in elite national and international competitions.
What are the different types of gymnastics?
There are three types of gymnastics currently featured in the Olympics:
- Artistic Gymnastics
- Rhythmic Gymnastics
Artistic gymnastics is most commonly known.
What are the gymnastics events?
For women, this includes the:
- Uneven Bars,
- Balance Beam
- Floor Exercise
Women’s gymnastics is composed of four events — vault, floor exercise, balance beam, and uneven bars. Each event attempts to challenge the grace, agility, coordination and strength of the gymnast. The balance beam, perhaps the most challenging event, involves the use of balance and agility while performing acrobatic and dance movements on a 4-inch-wide beam. Vault requires great strength as gymnasts explode off the vault to perform flips in the air, while the uneven bars require coordination in order to swing from bar to bar while switching hands and using various transitions. Floor exercise, which is set to music, seems to be a crowd-pleaser, as female gymnasts incorporate elements of acrobatics and dance that showcase their personality. In each event, gymnasts aim to “stick” their landing by taking no extra steps.
When did gymnastics become a sport?
The history of how gymnastics started with the Ancient Greeks and has evolved through modern times. Gymnastics was introduced in early Greek civilization to facilitate bodily development through a series of exercises that included running, jumping, swimming, throwing, wrestling, and weight lifting. They also invented the building call a “gymnasium”. Both the Greeks and Romans practiced gymnastics to prepare for warfare.
Throughout the century, gymnastics continued to modernize. In the late 1700s, Friedrich Ludwig Jahn of Germany developed the side bar, the horizontal bar, the parallel bars, the balance beam, and jumping events. He, more than anyone else, is considered the “father of modern gymnastics.”
Men’s gymnastics was on the schedule of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, and it has been on the Olympic agenda continually since 1924. Olympic gymnastics competition for women began in 1936 with an all-around competition, and in 1952 competition for the separate events was added.
Now these days, gymnastics is in the top 3 most practised sport in the world. Gymnastics offers so much more than learning skills. Gymnastics is teaching athletes discipline, respect, hard work, success vs. Failure.