Gymnastics is a sport that includes 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.
Alertness, precision, daring, self-confidence and self-discipline are mental traits that can also be developed through gymnastics.
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 girls) floor, vault, beam and uneven bars.
For boys they have floor, vault, rings, pommel, parallel bars and horizontal bar.
Other FIG disciplines include rhythmic gymnastics, trampolining and tumbling, acrobatic gymnastics, aerobic gymnastics and parkour.
Disciplines not currently recognized by FIG include wheel gymnastics, aesthetic group gymnastics, men’s rhythmic gymnastics, TeamGym and mallakhamba.
Participants can include children as young as 1 years old doing kindergym and children’s gymnastics, recreational gymnasts of ages 2 and up, competitive gymnasts at varying levels of skill, and world-class athletes.
Brief history of gymnastics
Gymnastics developed in ancient Greece, in Sparta and Athens, and was used as a method to prepare men for warfare.
In Sparta, among the activities introduced into the training program was the Agoge or exhibition gymnastics made up of gymnastic elements in the form of the Pyrrhic-a dance in a military style-performed for state dignitaries in the final year of a student’s training.
The maneuvers were performed naked except for the tools of war. 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.
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. John….. promoted the use of parallel bars, rings and high bars in international competition.
The Federation of International Gymnastics (FIG) was founded in Liege in 1881.
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.
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 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.