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Gymnastics competitor at the 2016 summer Olympics Gymnastics at the 2016 Summer Olympics 6.jpg
Gymnastics competitor at the 2016 summer Olympics

Gymnastics is a sport that includes physical exercises requiring balance, strength, flexibility, agility, coordination, and endurance. The movements involved in gymnastics contribute to the development of the arms, legs, shoulders, back, chest, and abdominal muscle groups. Gymnastics evolved from exercises used by the ancient Greeks that included skills for mounting and dismounting a horse, and from circus performance skills.


The most common form of competitive gymnastics is artistic gymnastics, which consists of, for women (WAG), the events floor, vault, uneven bars, and beam; and for men (MAG), the events floor, vault, rings, pommel horse, parallel bars, and horizontal bar. The governing body for gymnastics throughout the world is the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG). Eight sports are governed by the FIG, which include Gymnastics for All, Men's and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Trampoline (including Double Mini-trampoline), Tumbling, acrobatic, aerobic and Parkour. [1] Disciplines not currently recognized by FIG include wheel gymnastics, aesthetic group gymnastics, men's rhythmic gymnastics, TeamGym, and mallakhamba.

Participants in gymnastics-related sports can include young children, recreational-level athletes, and competitive athletes at varying levels of skill, including world-class athletes.


The word gymnastics derives from the common Greek adjective γυμνός ( gymnos ), [2] by way of the related verb γυμνάζω (gymnazo), whose meaning is to "train naked", "train in gymnastic exercise", generally "to train, to exercise". [3] The verb had this meaning because athletes in ancient times exercised and competed without clothing.


Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, the "father of gymnastics" Friedrich Ludwig Jahn.jpg
Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, the "father of gymnastics"

Gymnastics can be traced to exercise in ancient Greece- in Sparta and Athens. That exercise for that time was documented by Philostratus' [4] work Gymnastics. Exercise in the gymnasium in later dates prepared men for war. The original term for the practice of gymnastics is from the related verb γυμνάζω (gymnazo), which translates as "to exercise naked" because young men exercising trained without clothing. In ancient Greece, physical fitness was a highly valued attribute in both men and women. It wasn't until after the Romans conquered Greece in 146BC that gymnastics became more formalized and used to train men in warfare. [5] Based on Philostratus' claim that gymnastics is a form of wisdom, comparable to philosophy, poetry, music, geometry, and astronomy, [4] Athens combined this more physical training with the education of the mind. At the Palestra, a physical education training center, the discipline of educating the body and educating the mind were combined allowing for a form of gymnastics that was more aesthetic and individual and which left behind the form that focused on strictness, discipline, the emphasis on defeating records, and focus on strength. [6]

Don Francisco Amorós y Ondeano, was born on February 19, 1770, in Valencia and died on August 8, 1848, in Paris. He was a Spanish colonel, and the first person to introduce educative gymnastic in France. The German Friedrich Ludwig Jahn started the German gymnastics movement in 1811 which lead to the invention of the parallel bars, rings, high bar, the pommel horse and the vault horse.

Germans Charles Beck and Charles Follen and American John Neal brought the first wave of gymnastics to the United States in the 1820s. Beck opened the first gymnasium in the US in 1825 at the Round Hill School in Northampton, Massachusetts. [7] Follen opened the first college gymnasium and the first public gymnasium in the US in 1826 at Harvard College and in Boston, Massachusetts, respectively. [8] Neal was the first American to open a public gymnasium in the US in Portland, Maine in 1827. [9] He also documented and promoted these early efforts in the American Journal of Education [10] and The Yankee , helping to establish the American branch of the movement. [11]

Early 20th-century gymnastics in Stockholm, Sweden Damgymnastik. Gymnastiska centralinstitutet, Hamngatan 19, Norrmalm, Stockholm - Nordiska Museet - NMA.0034300.jpg
Early 20th-century gymnastics in Stockholm, Sweden

The Federation of International Gymnastics (FIG) was founded in Liege in 1881. [12] By the end of the nineteenth century, men's gymnastics competition was popular enough to be included in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. From then on until the early 1950s, both national and international competitions involved a changing variety of exercises gathered under the rubric, gymnastics, that included, for example, synchronized team floor calisthenics, rope climbing, high jumping, running, and horizontal ladder. During the 1920s, women organized and participated in gymnastics events. The first women's Olympic competition was limited, only involving synchronized calisthenics and track and field. These games were held in 1928, in Amsterdam. By 1954, Olympic Games apparatus and events for both men and women had been standardized in modern format, and uniform grading structures (including a point system from 1 to 15) had been agreed upon. At this time, Soviet gymnasts astounded the world with highly disciplined and difficult performances, setting a precedent that continues. Television has helped publicize and initiate a modern age of gymnastics. Both men's and women's gymnastics now attract considerable international interest, and excellent gymnasts can be found on every continent.

In 2006, a new points system for Artistic gymnastics was put into play. With an A Score (or D score) being the difficulty score, which as of 2009 is based on the top 8 high scoring elements in a routine (excluding Vault). The B Score (or E Score), is the score for execution and is given for how well the skills are performed. [13]

FIG-recognized disciplines

The following disciplines are governed by FIG.

Artistic gymnastics

Artistic Gymnastics is usually divided into Men's and Women's Gymnastics. Men compete on six events: Floor Exercise, Pommel Horse, Still Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars, and Horizontal Bar, while women compete on four: Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam, and Floor Exercise. In some countries, women at one time competed on the rings, high bar, and parallel bars (for example, in the 1950s in the USSR).

In 2006, FIG introduced a new point system for Artistic gymnastics in which scores are no longer limited to 10 points. The system is used in the US for elite level competition. [13] Unlike the old code of points, there are two separate scores, an execution score and a difficulty score. In the previous system, the execution score was the only score. It was and still is out of 10.00, except for short exercises. During the gymnast's performance, the judges deduct this score only. A fall, on or off the event, is a 1.00 deduction, in elite level gymnastics. The introduction of the difficulty score is a significant change. The gymnast's difficulty score is based on what elements they perform and is subject to change if they do not perform or complete all the skills, or they do not connect a skill meant to be connected to another. Connection bonuses are where deviation happens most common between the intended and actual difficulty scores, as it can be difficult to connect multiple flight elements. It is very hard to connect skills if the first skill is not performed correctly. The new code of points allows the gymnasts to gain higher scores based on the difficulty of the skills they perform as well as their execution. There is no maximum score for difficulty, as it can keep increasing as the difficulty of the skills increase.

Competitive events for women in artistic gymnastics

Piked Tsukahara vault PIked Tsukahara L9 Reginals.jpg
Piked Tsukahara vault

In the vaulting events, gymnasts sprint down a 25 metres (82 ft) runway, to take off onto a vault board (or perform a roundoff or handspring entry onto a vault board), to land momentarily inverted on the hands on the vaulting horse or vaulting table (pre-flight segment), then propel themselves forward or backward off that platform to a two-footed landing (post-flight segment). Every gymnast starts at a different point on the vault runway depending on their height and strength. The post-flight segment may include one or more multiple saltos, or twisting movements. A round-off entry vault, called a Yurchenko, is a commonly performed vault in the higher levels in gymnastics. When performing a Yurchenko, gymnasts round-off so their hands are on the runway while their feet land on the vault board. From the round-off position, the gymnast travels backwards so that the hands land on the vaulting table. The gymnast then blocks off the vaulting platform into various twisting and/or somersaulting combinations. The post-flight segment brings the gymnast to her feet. Less difficult vaults include take off from the vault board with both feet at the same time and either doing a front handspring or round-off onto the vaulting table.

In 2001, the traditional vaulting horse was replaced with a new apparatus, sometimes known as a tongue, horse, or vaulting table. The new apparatus is more stable, wider, and longer than the older vaulting horse, approximately 1 m in length and 1 m in width, giving gymnasts a larger blocking surface. This apparatus is thus considered safer than the vaulting horse used in the past. With the addition of this new, safer vaulting table, gymnasts are attempting more difficult vaults. [14]

Gymnast on uneven bars Skubik on Uneven Bars 2006.JPG
Gymnast on uneven bars
Uneven bars

On the uneven bars, the gymnast performs a timed routine on two parallel horizontal bars set at different heights. These bars are made of fiberglass covered in wood laminate, to prevent them from breaking. In the past, bars were made of wood, but the bars were prone to breaking, providing an incentive to switch to newer technologies. The width and height of the bars may be adjusted to the size needed by individual gymnasts. In the past, the uneven parallel bars were closer together. The bars have been moved increasingly further apart, allowing gymnasts to perform swinging, circling, transitional, and release moves that may pass over, under, and between the two bars. At the Elite level, movements must pass through the handstand. Gymnasts often mount the uneven bars using a springboard or a small mat. Gymnasts may use chalk (MgCO3) and grips (a leather strip with holes for fingers to protect hands and improve performance) when performing this event. The chalk helps take the moisture out of gymnasts' hands to decrease friction and prevent rips (tears to the skin of the hands); dowel grips help gymnasts grip the bar.

Balance beam
Dorina Boczogo performing a one-arm press hold during her balance beam mount, 2013 Dorina Boczogo, balance beam, 2013.jpg
Dorina Böczögő performing a one-arm press hold during her balance beam mount, 2013

The gymnast performs a choreographed routine of up to 90 seconds in length consisting of leaps, acrobatic skills, somersaults, turns and dance elements on a padded beam. The beam is 125 centimetres (4 ft 1 in) from the ground, 5 metres (16 ft 5 in) long, and 10.16 centimetres (4.00 in) wide. [15] This stationary object can also be adjusted, to be raised higher or lower. The event requires balance, flexibility, grace, poise, and strength.

Gymnast doing a stag leap on floor exercise Double ring leap.jpg
Gymnast doing a stag leap on floor exercise

The event in gymnastics performed on the floor is called floor exercise. The English abbreviation for the event in gymnastics scoring is FX. In the past, the floor exercise event was executed on the bare floor or mats such as wrestling mats. The floor event now occurs on a carpeted 12m × 12m square, usually consisting of hard foam over a layer of plywood, which is supported by springs generally called a spring floor. This provides a firm surface that provides extra bounce or spring when compressed, allowing gymnasts to achieve greater height and a softer landing after the composed skill. Gymnasts perform a choreographed routine for up to 90 seconds in the floor exercise event. Depending on the level, the gymnast may choose their own routine; however some levels have compulsory routines, where default music must be played. Levels three to six the music is the same for each levels along with the skills within the routine. However, recently, the levels have switched. Now, levels 6–10 are optional levels and they get to have custom routines made. In the optional levels (levels six to ten) there are skill requirements for the routine but the athlete is able to pick her own music without any words. The routine should consist of tumbling passes, series of jumps, leaps, dance elements, acrobatic skills, and turns, or pivots, on one foot. A gymnast can perform up to four tumbling passes, each of which usually includes at least one flight element without hand support. Each level of gymnastics requires the athlete to perform a different number of tumbling passes. In level 7 in the United States, a gymnast is required to do 2–3, and in levels 8–10, at least 3–4 tumbling passes are required. [16]


Scoring for both Junior Olympic and NCAA level gymnastics uses a 10.0 scale. Levels below Level 9 start from a 10.0 automatically if all requirements for an event are met. Levels 9 and 10, and NCAA gymnastics all start below a 10.0 and require gymnastics to acquire bonus points through connections and skills to increase their start value to a 10.0. During a routine, deductions will be made by the judges for flaws in the form of the technique of a skill. For example, steps on landings or flexed feet can range from .05-.1 off, depending on the severity of the mistake. [17]

Competitive events for men in artistic gymnastics


Male gymnasts also perform on a 12meter x 12meter spring floor. A series of tumbling passes are performed to demonstrate flexibility, strength, and balance. Strength skills include circles, scales, and press handstands. Men's floor routines usually have multiple passes that have to total between 60–70 seconds and are performed without music, unlike the women's event. Rules require that male gymnasts touch each corner of the floor at least once during their routine.

Chris Cameron on the pommel horse Christopher Cameron, 2010.jpg
Chris Cameron on the pommel horse
Pommel horse

A typical pommel horse exercise involves both single leg and double leg work. Single leg skills are generally found in the form of scissors, an element often done on the pommels. Double leg work, however, is the main staple of this event. The gymnast swings both legs in a circular motion (clockwise or counterclockwise depending on preference) and performs such skills on all parts of the apparatus. To make the exercise more challenging, gymnasts will often include variations on a typical circling skill by turning (moores and spindles) or by straddling their legs (Flares). Routines end when the gymnast performs a dismount, either by swinging his body over the horse or landing after a handstand variation.

Still rings

The rings are suspended on wire cable from a point 5.75 meters from the floor. The gymnasts must perform a routine demonstrating balance, strength, power, and dynamic motion while preventing the rings themselves from swinging. At least one static strength move is required, but some gymnasts may include two or three. A routine ends with a dismount.


Gymnasts sprint down a runway, which is a maximum of 25 meters in length, before hurdling onto a springboard. The gymnast is allowed to choose where they start on the runway. The body position is maintained while punching (blocking using only a shoulder movement) the vaulting platform. The gymnast then rotates to a standing position. In advanced gymnastics, multiple twists and somersaults may be added before landing. Successful vaults depend on the speed of the run, the length of the hurdle, the power the gymnast generates from the legs and shoulder girdle, the kinesthetic awareness in the air, how well they stuck the landing, and the speed of rotation in the case of more difficult and complex vaults.

Parallel bars

Men perform on two bars executing a series of swings, balances, and releases that require great strength and coordination. The width between the bars is adjustable depending upon the actual needs of the gymnasts and usually 2m high.

Horizontal bar

A 2.8  cm thick steel or fiberglass bar raised 2.5 m above the landing area is all the gymnast has to hold onto as he performs giant swings or giants (forward or backward revolutions around the bar in the handstand position), release skills, twists, and changes of direction. By using all of the momentum from giants and then releasing at the proper point, enough height can be achieved for spectacular dismounts, such as a triple-back salto. Leather grips are usually used to help maintain a grip on the bar.

As with women, male gymnasts are also judged on all of their events including their execution, degree of difficulty, and overall presentation skills.

Rhythmic gymnastics

Russian rhythmic gymnast Irina Tchachina stretching in her warm-up before practice Overspagat.jpg
Russian rhythmic gymnast Irina Tchachina stretching in her warm-up before practice

According to FIG rules, only women compete in rhythmic gymnastics. This is a sport that combines elements of ballet, gymnastics, dance, and apparatus manipulation. The sport involves the performance of five separate routines with the use of five apparatus; ball, ribbon, hoop, clubs, rope—on a floor area, with a much greater emphasis on the aesthetic rather than the acrobatic. There are also group routines consisting of 5 gymnasts and 5 apparatuses of their choice. Rhythmic routines are scored out of a possible 30 points; the score for artistry (choreography and music) is averaged with the score for the difficulty of the moves and then added to the score for execution. [18]

International competitions are split between Juniors, under sixteen by their year of birth; and Seniors, for women sixteen and over again by their year of birth. Gymnasts in Russia and Europe typically start training at a very young age and those at their peak are typically in their late teens (15–19) or early twenties. The largest events in the sport are the Olympic Games, World Championships, European Championships, World Cup and Grand-Prix Series. The first World Championships were held in 1963 with its first appearance at the Olympics in 1984.

Rhythmic gymnastics apparatus

Evgenia Kanaeva doing a Split leap in her hoop routine Evgenia Kanaeva 2012 in Hard.JPG
Evgenia Kanaeva doing a Split leap in her hoop routine
Soviet Galina Shugurova performing an Attitude balance in her ball apparatus Galima Shugurova 1973.jpg
Soviet Galina Shugurova performing an Attitude balance in her ball apparatus
The ball is made of either rubber or synthetic material (pliable plastic) provided it possesses the same elasticity as rubber. It is from 18 to 20  cm in diameter and must have a minimum weight of 400g. The ball can be of any color and should rest in the gymnast's hand, not the wrist. Fundamental elements of a ball routine include throwing, bouncing, and rolling. The gymnast must use both hands and work on the whole floor area while showing continuous flowing movement. The ball is to emphasize the gymnast's flowing lines and body difficulty.
A hoop is an apparatus in rhythmic gymnastics and may be made of plastic or wood, provided that it retains its shape during the routine. The interior diameter is from 51 to 90  cm and the hoop must weigh a minimum of 300g. The hoop may be of natural color or be part of fully covered by one or several colors, and it may be covered with adhesive tape either of the same or different colors as the hoop. Fundamental requirements of a hoop routine include rotation around the hand or body and rolling, as well as swings, circles, throws, and passes through and over the hoop. The routines in hoop involve mastery in both apparatus handling and body difficulties like leaps, jumps, and pivots.
The ribbon is made of satin or another similar material cloth of any color and may be multi-colored as well as have designs on it. The ribbon itself must be at least 35g (1 oz), 4–6 cm (1.6–2.4") in width and for senior category a minimum length of 6m (20') (5m (16.25') for juniors). The ribbon must be in one piece. The end that is attached to the stick is doubled for a maximum length of 1m (3'). This is stitched down both sides. At the top, a very thin reinforcement or rows of machine stitching for a maximum length of 5  cm is authorized. This extremity may end in a strap, or have an eyelet (a small hole, edged with buttonhole stitch or a metal circle), to permit attaching the ribbon. The ribbon is fixed to the stick by means of a supple attachment such as thread, nylon cord, or a series of articulated rings. The attachment has a maximum length of 7 cm (2.8"), not counting the strap or metal ring at the end of the stick where it will be fastened. Compulsory elements for the ribbon include flicks, circles, snakes and spirals, and throws. It requires a high degree of co-ordination to form the spirals and circles as any knots which may accidentally form in the ribbon are penalised. During a ribbon routine, large, smooth and flowing movements are looked for.
Multi-piece clubs are the most popular clubs. The club is built along an internal rod, providing a base on which a handle made of polyolefin plastic is wrapped, providing an airspace between it and the internal rod. This airspace provides flex, cushioning impact, making the club softer on the hands. Foam ends and knobs further cushion the club. Multi-piece clubs are made in both a thin European style or larger bodied American style and in various lengths, generally ranging from 19 to 21 inches (480 to 530 mm). The handles and bodies are typically wrapped with decorative plastics and tapes. The skills involved are apparatus mastery and body elements, Clubs are thrown from alternate hands; each passes underneath the other clubs and is caught in the opposite hand to the one from which it was thrown. At its simplest, each club rotates once per throw, the handle moving down and away from the throwing hand at first. However, double and triple spins are frequently performed, allowing the club to be thrown higher for more advanced patterns and to allow tricks such as 360s to be performed underneath.
This apparatus may be made of hemp or a synthetic material which retains the qualities of lightness and suppleness. Its length is in proportion to the size of the gymnast. The rope should, when held down by the feet, reach both of the gymnasts' armpits. One or two knots at each end are for keeping hold of the rope while doing the routine. At the ends (to the exclusion of all other parts of the rope) an anti-slip material, either coloured or neutral may cover a maximum of 10 cm (3.94 in). The rope must be coloured, either all or partially and may either be of a uniform diameter or be progressively thicker in the center provided that this thickening is of the same material as the rope. The fundamental requirements of a rope routine include leaps and skipping. Other elements include swings, throws, circles, rotations and figures of eight. In 2011, the FIG decided to remove the use of rope from the program of senior individual competitions. It is still used in junior competitions and occasionally on the program for senior group competitions (eg. 2017–2018). [19]


Double mini-trampoline competitor WAGC DMT.jpg
Double mini-trampoline competitor


Trampolining and tumbling consists of four events, individual and synchronized trampoline, double mini trampoline, and tumbling (also known as power tumbling or rod floor). Since 2000, individual trampoline has been included in the Olympic Games. The first World Championships were held in 1964.

Individual trampoline

Individual routines in trampolining involve a build-up phase during which the gymnast jumps repeatedly to achieve height, followed by a sequence of ten bounces without pause during which the gymnast performs a sequence of aerial skills. Routines are marked out of a maximum score of 10 points. Additional points (with no maximum at the highest levels of competition) can be earned depending on the difficulty of the moves and the length of time taken to complete the ten skills which is an indication of the average height of the jumps. In high level competitions, there are two preliminary routines, one which has only two moves scored for difficulty and one where the athlete is free to perform any routine. This is followed by a final routine which is optional. Some competitions restart the score from zero for the finals, other add the final score to the preliminary results.

Synchronized trampoline

Synchronized trampoline is similar except that both competitors must perform the routine together and marks are awarded for synchronization as well as the form and difficulty of the moves.

Double-mini trampoline

Double mini trampoline involves a smaller trampoline with a run-up, two scoring moves are performed per routine. Moves cannot be repeated in the same order on the double-mini during a competition. Skills can be repeated if a skill is competed as a mounter in one routine and a dismount in another. The scores are marked in a similar manner to individual trampoline.


In Tumbling, athletes perform an explosive series of flips and twists down a sprung tumbling track. Scoring is similar to trampolining. Tumbling was originally contested as one of the events in Men's Artistic Gymnastics at the 1932 Summer Olympics, and in 1955 and 1959 at the Pan American Games. From 1974 to 1998 it was included as an event for both genders at the Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships. The event has also been contested since 1976 at the Trampoline and Tumbling World Championships.

Tumbling is competed along a 25 metre sprung tack with a 10 metre run up. A tumbling pass or run is a combination of 8 skills, with an entry skill, normally a round-off, to whips and into an end skill. Usually the end skill is the hardest skill of the pass. At the highest level, gymnasts with perform transitions skills, these are skills which are not whips, instead they are double or triple somersaults normally competed at the end of the run, now competed in the middle of the run connected before and after by either a whip or a flick.

Common Types of Skills in Tumbling
Round-offA common entry skill seen in every type of gymnastics to turn horizontal speed into vertical speed.
End SkillThe skill competed at the end of the run, this is either a double/triple somersault, a twisting somersault or a combination somersault.
FlickA long somersault where a gymnast moves from feet to hands to feet again in a backwards motion.
WhipA long, low and fast somersault done without the hands. This move is unique to tumbling and the trademark of the discipline.
Double SomersaultThe tumbler launches into the air and rotates twice vertically around before landing on their feet. This skill is done in a tuck, pike or straight position.
Triple SomersaultThe gymnasts launches into the air and rotates three times vertically before landing on their feet. This skill is done in a tuck or pike position and has yet to be competed in the straight position
Twisting SomersaultA single somersault in which the tumbler rotates horizontally. This is can be done as a single 'full' twist, a double twist or a triple twist.
Combination SomersaultA somersault that is a combination of double/triple and twisting skills. For example in a double twisting double straight, the gymnast will rotate twice vertically and twice horizontally before landing. The hardest combination somersaults performed would be either the full in triple pike in which a gymnasts rotates vertically three times in a pike position with a full twist in the first rotation or 'the miller' in which a gymnast rotates horizontally four times and vertically twice.
Transition SkillThis is where a gymnast performs either a double somersault or a combination somersault in the middle of their run as opposed to doing it as an end skill. No triple somersaults or combination somersaults involving a triple vertically rotation has yet to be competed.

Competition is made up of a qualifying round and a finals round. There are two different types of competition in tumbling, individual and team. In the team event three gymnasts out of a team of four compete one run each, if one run fails the final member of the team is allowed to compete with the three highest scores being counted. In the individual event qualification, the competitor will compete two runs, one a straight pass (including double and triple somersaults) and a twisting pass (including full twisting whips and combination skills such as a full twisting double straight ’full in back’). In the final of the individual event, the competitor must compete two different runs which can be either twisting or straight but each run normally uses both types (using transition skills).

Acrobatic gymnastics

Acrobatic women's pair performing a skill Acro-tcd.JPG
Acrobatic women's pair performing a skill

Acrobatic gymnastics (formerly Sport Acrobatics), often referred to as acro if involved with the sport, acrobatic sports or simply sports acro, is a group gymnastic discipline for both men and women. Acrobats in groups of two, three and four perform routines with the heads, hands and feet of their partners. They may, subject to regulations (e.g. no lyrics), pick their own music.

There are four international age categories: 11–16, 12–18, 13–19, and Senior (15+), which are used in the World Championships and many other events around the world, including the European Championships and the World Games.

All levels require a balance and dynamic routine; 12–18, 13–19, and Seniors are also required to perform a final (combined) routine.

Currently, acrobatic gymnastics score is marked out of 30.00 for juniors, and can be higher at Senior FIG level based on difficulty:

There are five competitive event categories:

The World Championships have been held since 1974.

Aerobic gymnastics

Aerobic gymnastics (formally Sport Aerobics) involves the performance of routines by individuals, pairs, trios, groups with 5 people, and aerobic dance and aerobic step(8 people). Strength, flexibility, and aerobic fitness rather than acrobatic or balance skills are emphasized. [20] Routines are performed for all individuals on a 7x7m floor and also for 12–14 and 15–17 trios and mixed pairs. From 2009, all senior trios and mixed pairs were required to be on the larger floor (10x10m), all groups also perform on this floor. Routines generally last 60–90 seconds depending on age of participant and routine category. The World Championships have been held since 1995.

The events consist of:


On January 28, 2018 Parkour was given the go ahead to begin development as a FIG sport. [21] [22] The FIG is planning to run World Cup competitions from 2018 onwards and will hold the first Parkour World Championships in 2020.

The events consist of:

Other disciplines

The following disciplines are not currently recognized by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique.

Aesthetic group gymnastics

Aesthetic Group Gymnastics (AGG) was developed from the Finnish "naisvoimistelu". It differs from Rhythmic Gymnastics in that body movement is large and continuous and teams are larger. Athletes do not use apparatus in international AGG competitions compared to Rhythmic Gymnastics where ball, ribbon, hoop and clubs are used on the floor area. The sport requires physical qualities such as flexibility, balance, speed, strength, coordination and sense of rhythm where movements of the body are emphasized through the flow, expression and aesthetic appeal. A good performance is characterized by uniformity and simultaneity. The competition program consists of versatile and varied body movements, such as body waves, swings, balances, pivots, jumps and leaps, dance steps, and lifts. The International Federation of Aesthetic Group Gymnastics (IFAGG) was established in 2003. [23] The first Aesthetic Group Gymnastics World Championships was held in 2000. [24]

Men's rhythmic gymnastics

Men's rhythmic gymnastics is related to both men's artistic gymnastics and wushu martial arts. It emerged in Japan from stick gymnastics. Stick gymnastics has been taught and performed for many years with the aim of improving physical strength and health. Male athletes are judged on some of the same physical abilities and skills as their female counterparts, such as hand/body-eye co-ordination, but tumbling, strength, power, and martial arts skills are the main focus, as opposed to flexibility and dance in women's rhythmic gymnastics. There are a growing number of participants, competing alone and on a team; it is most popular in Asia, especially in Japan where high school and university teams compete fiercely. As of 2002, there were 1000 men's rhythmic gymnasts in Japan.[ citation needed ] [25]

The technical rules for the Japanese version of men's rhythmic gymnastics came around the 1970s. For individuals, only four types of apparatus are used: the double rings, the stick, the rope, and the clubs. Groups do not use any apparatus. The Japanese version includes tumbling performed on a spring floor. Points are awarded based a 10-point scale that measures the level of difficulty of the tumbling and apparatus handling. On November 27–29, 2003, Japan hosted first edition of the Men's Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championship.

The events consist of:

Along with the Japanese version of Men's Rhythmic there is a Spanish version which uses the same format and rules as the FIG recognized form of Women's Rhythmic Gymnastics.


TeamGym is a form of competition created by the European Union of Gymnastics, named originally EuroTeam. The first official competition was held in Finland in 1996. TeamGym events consist of three sections: women, men and mixed teams. Athletes compete in three different disciplines: floor, tumbling and trampette. In common for the performance is effective teamwork, good technique in the elements and spectacular acrobatic skills. [26] There is no World Championships however there has been a European Championships held since 2010. [27]

Wheel gymnastics

Wheel gymnasts do exercises in a large wheel known as the Rhönrad, gymnastics wheel, gym wheel, or German wheel, in the beginning also known as ayro wheel, aero wheel, and Rhon rod.

There are four core categories of exercise: straight line, spiral, vault and cyr wheel. The first World Championships was held in 1995. [28]


Mallakhamba (Marathi: मल्लखम्ब) is a traditional Indian sport in which a gymnast performs feats and poses in concert with a vertical wooden pole or rope. The word also refers to the pole used in the sport.

Mallakhamba derives from the terms malla which denotes a wrestler and khamba which means a pole. Mallakhamba can therefore be translated to English as "pole gymnastics". [29] On April 9, 2013, the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh declared mallakhamba as the state sport. In February 2019 the first Mallahkhamb World Championship was held in Mumbai

Non-competitive gymnastics

General gymnastics also known as Gymnastics for All enables people of all ages and abilities to participate in performance groups of 6 to more than 150 athletes. They can perform synchronized, choreographed routines. Troupes may consist of both genders and are separated into age divisions. The largest general gymnastics exhibition is the quadrennial World Gymnaestrada which was first held in 1939. In 1984 Gymnastics for All was officially recognized first as a Sport Program by the FIG (International Gymnastic Federation), and subsequently by national gymnastic federations worldwide with participants that now number 30 million. Non-competitive gymnastics is considered useful for its health benefits. [30]


In the US, gymnastics levels for women called the Junior Olympic (JO) Program begins at 1 and goes to 10. Elite can follow 10 and is generally considered Olympic level. [31] Men's gymnastics or The Junior Olympic Program consists of ten levels of training or competition with multiple age groups at each level creating opportunities for athletes and coaches to participate and or compete. [32]

Since 2015, Canada has adopted the women’s JO Program, with some modifications, for use in the Provinces and Territories. [33]

Scoring (code of points)

An artistic gymnast's score comes from deductions taken from the start value of a routine's elements. The start value of a routine is based on the difficulty of the elements the gymnast attempts and whether or not the gymnast meets composition requirements. The composition requirements are different for each apparatus. This score is called the D score. [34] Deductions in execution and artistry are taken from a maximum of 10.0. This score is called the E score. [35] The final score is calculated by adding the D and E score. [36]

The current method of scoring, by adding D and E score to give the final score has been in place since 2006. [37] The current method is called "open-end" scoring because there is no theoretical cap (although there is practical cap) to the D-score and hence the total possible score for a routine. [38] Before 2006, a gymnast's final score is deducted from a possible maximum of 10 for a routine.

A Code of Points or guidelines of scoring a routine's difficulty and execution, is slightly revised for each quadrennium, or period of four years culminating in the Olympics year.


In a tumbling pass, dismount or vault, landing is the final phase, following take off and flight [39] This is a critical skill in terms of execution in competition scores, general performance, and injury occurrence. Without the necessary magnitude of energy dissipation during impact, the risk of sustaining injuries during somersaulting increases. These injuries commonly occur at the lower extremities such as cartilage lesions, ligament tears, and bone bruises/fractures. [40] To avoid such injuries, and to receive a high-performance score, proper technique must be used by the gymnast. "The subsequent ground contact or impact landing phase must be achieved using a safe, aesthetic and well-executed double foot landing." [41] A successful landing in gymnastics is classified as soft, meaning the knee and hip joints are at greater than 63 degrees of flexion. [39]

A higher flight phase results in a higher vertical ground reaction force. Vertical ground reaction force represents an external force which the gymnasts have to overcome with their muscle force and affects the gymnasts' linear and angular momentum. Another important variable that affects linear and angular momentum is the time the landing takes. Gymnasts can decrease the impact force by increasing the time taken to perform the landing. Gymnasts can achieve this by increasing hip, knee and ankle amplitude. [39]

Former apparatus and events

Rope climbing

Generally, competitors climbed either a 6m (6.1m = 20 ft in US) or an 8m (7.6m = 25 ft in US), 38 mm diameter (1.5-inch) natural fiber rope for speed, starting from a seated position on the floor and using only the hands and arms. Kicking the legs in a kind of "tride was normally permitted. Many gymnasts can do this in the straddle or pike position, which eliminates the help generated from the legs though it can be done with legs as well.

Flying rings

Flying rings was an event similar to still rings, but with the performer executing a series of stunts while swinging. It was a gymnastic event sanctioned by both the NCAA and the AAU until the early 1960s.

Club swinging

Club swinging, a.k.a. Indian clubs, was an event in Men's Artistic Gymnastics sometime up until the 1950s. It was similar to the clubs in both Women's and Men's Rhythmic Gymnastics but much simpler with few throws allowed. It was practice. It was included in the 1904 and 1932 Summer Olympic Games.

Other (men's artistic)

Other (women's artistic)


US competitive gymnastics

Coaching in gymnastics has a relatively poor reputation. [42] Compared with other sports, gymnastics coaches are more likely to use outdated, authoritarian, ineffective, and harmful training styles, including:

This approach to coaching is not based on the scientific evidence about sports psychology and does not improve gymnast performance. [42] Instead, it increases the likelihood that gymnasts will quit at a younger age. [42] The authoritarian, obedience-oriented culture has resulted in abuse and scandals such as the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal. [42]

Health and safety

Gymnastics is one of the most dangerous sports, with a very high injury rate seen in girls age 11 to 18. [43] Compared to athletes who play other sports, gymnasts are at higher than average risk of overuse injuries and injuries caused by early sports specialization among children and young adults. [44] [45] Gymnasts are at particular risk of foot and wrist injuries. [46] [47] Strength training can help prevent injuries.

Gymnasts tend to have short stature, but it is unlikely that the sport affects their growth. [43] Parents of gymnasts tend also to be shorter than average. [43]

Some gymnastic skills are banned for safety reasons.




Video games

See also

Related Research Articles

Vault (gymnastics)

The vault is an artistic gymnastics apparatus which gymnasts perform on, as well as the skill performed using that apparatus. Vaulting is also the action of performing a vault. Both male and female gymnasts perform the vault. The English abbreviation for the event in gymnastics scoring is VT.

Yelena Viktorovna Davydova is a Russian-Canadian gymnastics coach and judge who competed for the former Soviet Union. She was the women's artistic individual all-around champion at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, and owns Gemini Gymnastics, a high performance Canadian gymnastics club in Oshawa, Ontario, where she is also the head coach. In July 2012, Davydova was one of the coaches of the Canadian Women's Artistic Gymnastics Team. Kristina Vaculik, coached by Davydova, was a member of the team, which placed fifth over-all in the team event, the best placement for a Canadian gymnastics team in Olympic history. In 2016, Davydova completed the circle, representing Canada as head floor judge at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Davydova was known for her cutting-edge difficulty, innovation and charming performances.

Simona Amânar is a Romanian former artistic gymnast. She is a seven-time Olympic and ten-time World Championship medalist. Amânar helped Romania win four consecutive world team titles (1994–1999), as well as the 2000 Olympic team title. She is also the 2000 Olympic all-around champion. She has a vault named after her, one of the most difficult in women's gymnastics, and was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2007.

Floor (gymnastics)

In gymnastics, the floor refers to a specially prepared exercise surface, which is considered an apparatus. It is used by both male and female gymnasts. The event in gymnastics performed on floor is called floor exercise. The English abbreviation for the event in gymnastics scoring is FX.

Balance beam Artistic gymnastics apparatus

The balance beam is a rectangular artistic gymnastics apparatus, as well as the event performed using the apparatus. Both the apparatus and the event are sometimes simply referred to as "beam". The English abbreviation for the event in gymnastics scoring is BB. The beam is a small, thin beam which is typically raised from the floor on a leg or stand at both ends. The balance beam is only performed by female gymnasts. Beams are usually covered with leather-like material, and are only four inches wide.

Rhythmic gymnastics Gymnastics discipline

Rhythmic gymnastics is a sport in which gymnasts perform on a floor with an apparatus: hoop, ball, clubs, ribbon or rope. The sport combines elements of gymnastics, dance and calisthenics; gymnasts must be strong, flexible, agile, dexterous and coordinated. Rhythmic gymnastics is governed by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), which first recognized it as a sport in 1963. It became an Olympic sport in 1984, with an individual all-around event. The group all-around competition was added to the Olympics in 1996. At the international level, rhythmic gymnastics is a women-only sport. The most prestigious competitions, besides the Olympic Games, are the World Championships, World Games, European Championships, European Games, the World Cup Series and the Grand Prix Series. Gymnasts are judged on their artistry, execution of skills, and difficulty of skills, for which they gain points. They perform leaps, balances and rotations along with handling the apparatus.


Trampolining or trampoline gymnastics is a recreational activity, acrobatic training tool as well as a competitive Olympic sport in which athletes perform acrobatics while bouncing on a trampoline. In competition, these can include simple jumps in the straight, pike, tuck, or straddle position to more complex combinations of forward and/or backward somersaults and twists. Scoring is based on the difficulty and on the total seconds spent in the air. Points are deducted for bad form and horizontal displacement from the center of the bed.

Uneven bars Artistic gymnastics apparatus

The uneven bars or asymmetric bars is an artistic gymnastics apparatus. It is made of a steel frame. The bars are made of fiberglass with wood coating, or less commonly wood. The English abbreviation for the event in gymnastics scoring is UB or AB, and the apparatus and event are often referred to simply as "bars". The bars are placed at different heights and widths, allowing the gymnast to transition from bar to bar. A gymnast usually adds white chalk to the hands so that they can grip the bar better.

Artistic gymnastics is a discipline of gymnastics in which athletes perform short routines on different apparatuses, with less time for vaulting. The sport is governed by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG), which designs the Code of Points and regulates all aspects of elite international competition. Within individual countries, gymnastics is regulated by national federations, such as Gymnastics Canada, British Gymnastics, and USA Gymnastics. Artistic gymnastics is a popular spectator sport at many competitions, including the Summer Olympic Games.

At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, three disciplines of gymnastics were contested: artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline. The artistic gymnastics and trampoline events were held at the Olympic Indoor Hall and the rhythmic gymnastics events were held at the Galatsi Olympic Hall.

Code of Points (artistic gymnastics) Rulebook that defines the scoring system in artistic gymnastics

The Code of Points is a rulebook that defines the scoring system for each level of competition in gymnastics. There is not a universal international Code of Points, and every oversight organization — such as the FIG, NCAA Gymnastics, and most national gymnastics federations — designs and employs its own unique Code of Points.

Mats are used for safety in gymnastics, and in training new skills. They are usually a piece of foam ranging from 1.5-28 inches thick, covered in a vinyl or plastic lining. The foam ranges in density from relatively firm to very soft.

Cheng Fei is a retired Chinese gymnast. She is a three-time World Champion on the vault (2005–2007) and 2006 World Champion on floor exercise. She was a member of the gold medal-winning Chinese teams for the 2006 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Aarhus, Denmark and 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. She was also a member of the silver medal-winning Chinese team for the 2007 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

Daiane dos Santos Brazilian artistic gymnast

Daiane Garcia dos Santos is a retired artistic gymnast. She is the 2003 world champion on the floor apparatus. On doing so, she became the first black gymnast to ever win an event at the World Championships as well as the first Brazilian and South-American to win the competition. She represented Brazil at the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Summer Olympics. Widely regarded as the most powerful tumbler of her generation by critics and fellow competitors alike, the gymnast had two eponymous skills added on the FIG code of points after being the first woman to compete them at international championships. Dos Santos I, an F rated element, and Dos Santos II, an H rated element on the 2017-2020 COP.

Mitsuo Tsukahara Japanese artistic gymnast

Mitsuo Tsukahara is a Japanese artistic gymnast. He was five times an Olympic Gold Medalist. He remained active in the sport after his retirement from competition. He served as vice president of the Japan Gymnastic Association.

Tumbling (gymnastics) Gymnastics discipline

Tumbling, sometimes referred to as power tumbling, is a gymnastics discipline in which participants perform a series of acrobatic skills down a 25 metres (82 ft) long sprung track. Each series, known as a pass, comprises eight elements in which the athlete jumps, twists and flips placing only their hands and feet on the track. Tumblers are judged on the difficulty and form of their routine. There are both individual and team competitions in the sport.

This is a general glossary of the terms used in the sport of gymnastics.

Perfect 10 (gymnastics)

A perfect 10 is a score of 10.000 for a single routine in artistic gymnastics, which was once thought to be unattainable—particularly at the Olympic Games—under the code of points set by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG). It is generally recognized that the first person to score a perfect 10 at the Olympic Games was Romanian Nadia Comăneci, at the 1976 Games in Montreal. Other women who accomplished this feat at the Olympics include Nellie Kim, also in 1976, Mary Lou Retton in 1984, Daniela Silivaș and Yelena Shushunova in 1988, and Lavinia Miloșovici in 1992. The first man to score a perfect 10 is considered to be Alexander Dityatin, at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.

Kenzō Shirai Japanese gymnast

Kenzō Shirai is a Japanese artistic gymnast. His notable victories include the team gold and a bronze on individual vault at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Although later an all-around athlete, he is still a floor and vault specialist, who excels in hard-twisting skills/combinations. More major-medal wins of all levels, mainly gold, also took place at the world championships (WC) since his 2013 debut.

TeamGym is a form of competition created by the European Union of Gymnastics. The first official competition was held in Finland in 1996. Originally named EuroTeam, TeamGym received its current name in 2002. From 1996 to 2008, the European Championships was an event for clubs; since 2010 the competition is contested with national teams representing different countries. TeamGym events consist of three sections: women, men and mixed teams. gymers perform skills in three different disciplines: floor, tumbling and trampette. In common for the performance is effective teamwork, good technique in the elements and spectacular acrobatic skills.



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