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Gymnastics 101

Gymnastics will be a sport featured at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
Gymnastics

It's one of the world's oldest sports that tests strength, balance, flexibility and coordination. Kidzworld has the 411 on gymnastics.

History

Gymnastics is one of the world's oldest sports and can be traced back thousands of years. In 2000 BC, the men and women of Ancient Greece developed the sport of bull jumping, which is similar to the vaulting exercises you see today in modern gymnastics. In bull jumping, the athlete would run towards a charging bull, grab its horns and either vault onto the bull's back or vault over the bull in a somersault and land on his or her feet on the other side of the bull! This early event required both courage and strength, as well as grace and style. The Ancient Romans used gymnastics as part of their military training to improve the strength, balance and flexibility of soldiers. In the 1800s, gymnastics exercises using rings, bars, balls and mats were developed by gymnasts in Germany and Sweden. Gymnastics have been a part of the modern Olympic Games, since they were first held in 1896. Rhythmic gymnastics, which combines gymnastics and dance, and makes use of balls, ropes, hoops and ribbons was introduced as an Olympic sport in 1984.

The Events

There are eight different events in Olympic gymnastics:

  • Floor Exercise - A rountine of dance-like movements featuring acrobat skills such as somersaults, backflips and cartwheels. The event is performed on a mat by both men and women.
  • Vault - Athletes vault off a slightly inclinded table. After running towards the vault table, athletes bounce off the spring board, push the vault table with their hands and, after performing multiple turns and pirouettes, try to finish with a controlled and steady landing on a mat behind the vault table. The event is performed by both men and women.
  • Pommel Horse - The pommel horse is a table with two handles or pommels in the center. Athletes perform a routine of circular exercises with legs apart and legs together in a routine with a continuous flow, while using only their hands for support. This event is performed by men only.
  • Rings - Athletes perform a series of exercises with swings and holds while grasping onto two wooden rings that are suspended above a floor mat. This event tests strength and precision and is performed by men only.
  • Parallel Bars - A routine performed on two flexible parallel wooden rails. Routines include a series of swinging moves, balances and changes in grip. This event is also performed by men only.
  • Horizontal Bar - Athletes perform a routine on a single steel bar suspended above a floor mat. The routine requires continuous swinging and vaulting motions around the bar with frequent changes in direction and in grip. Once again, this is an even that is only performed by men.
  • Uneven Bars - Athletes perform a routine on a set of two highly flexible oval wooden bars. Gymnasts swing in both directions, above and below the bars, ending the routine with a controlled dismount and landing. This event is performed by women only.
  • Balance Beam - Gymnasts perform a routine on a single wooden beam that is just four inches (10 cm) wide. The routine consists of continuous tumbling moves, half turns and full turns, jumps and leaps. This event is performed by women only.

Did U Know?

  • The word "gymnastics" comes from the Greek word "gymnos", meaning naked. In Ancient Greece, most athletic competitions took place in the nude.
  • Gymnastics is a great sport that helps build strength, flexibility, coordination and balance.
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Comments

Macbarbie09

Macbarbie09 wrote:

i do gymnastics for fun. i can do lots of moves in the water. i can do a round-off in t...
commented: Sun Aug 04, 2013

donnabug13

donnabug13 wrote:

i do gymnastics im pretty good at it
commented: Thu Jul 18, 2013

Macbarbie09

Macbarbie09 wrote:

USA gymnsatics! I got that fact from youtube.
commented: Thu Jul 18, 2013

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Favorite Gymnastic Event?

  • Balance beam.
  • Vaults.
  • Parallel Bars.
  • Floor Exercise.

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