The word gymnastics comes from the Greek word gymnons, means naked, but it generally means to train & exercise. Here’s Gymnastics history.
Gymnastics : Introduction | History | Types
The sport is a complex combination that involves physical strength, flexibility, power, agility, coordination, grace, balance and control.
Out of all the different disciplines, competitive artistic gymnastics is the most well known, but the other forms of gymnastics, including rhythmic gymnastics and aerobic gymnastics, have also gained widespread popularity.
Many of the world’s greatest gymnasts have come from eastern Europe. Larisa Latynina of Ukraine, later the coach of the Soviet Union team, is widely considered the greatest female gymnast of all time; she was the all-around champion in two Olympics (1956 and 1960) and two world championships (1958 and 1962). No other gymnast has achieved this distinction.
Latynina’s prime rival was Věra Čáslavská of Czechoslovakia, who later became the Czech Republic’s Minister of Sport.
Čáslavská was all-around champion three times, including two Olympics (1964 and 1968) and one world championship (1966).
In the 1970s a major change had occurred in women’s gymnastics as younger and younger girls began competing in events.
Russian gymnast Olga Korbut and the Romanian Nadia Comăneci were both young teens during their Olympic triumphs.
Gymnastics is considered to be a dangerous sport, due in part to the height of the apparatus, the speed of the exercises, and the impact on competitors‘ joints, bones and muscles.
In several cases, competitors have suffered serious, lasting injuries and paralysis after severe gymnastics-related accidents.
For instance, in 1998, world-class Chinese artistic gymnast Sang Lan was paralyzed after falling on vault at the Goodwill Games.
Artistic gymnastics injuries have been the subject of several international medical studies, and results have indicated that more than half of all elite-level participants may eventually develop chronic injuries.
In the United States, injury rates range from a high 56 percent for high school gymnasts to 23 percent for club gymnasts.
However, the rates for participants in recreational or lower-level gymnastics are lower than that of high-level competitors.
Conditioning, secure training environments with mats and knowledgeable coaching can also lessen the frequency or occurrence of injuries.
Gymnastics events test the strength, rhythm, balance, flexibility and agility of the gymnast, demanding an intense level of self-discipline.
The history of gymnastics dates back several thousand years ago, to the Greek civilization. The word gymnastics comes from the ancient Greek word “gymnos” meaning naked.
To the Ancient Greeks, physical fitness was paramount, and all Greek cities had a gymnasia, a courtyard for jumping, running, and wrestling. As the Roman Empire ascended, Greek gymnastics gave way to military training.
The ancient Romans, for example, introduced the wooden horse. In 393 C.E. the Emperor Theodosius abolished the Olympic Games, which by then had become corrupt, and gymnastics, along with other sports declined.
Later, Christianity, with its medieval belief in the base nature of the human body, had a deleterious effect on gymnastics. For centuries, gymnastics was all but forgotten.
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, however, two pioneer physical educators – Johann Friedrich GutsMuth (1759 – 1839) and Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778 – 1852), considered the father of modern gymnastics – created exercises for boys and young men on apparatus they designed that ultimately led to what is considered modern gymnastics.
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.
However, from then, and up until the early 1950s, both national and international competitions involved a changing variety of exercises gathered under the rubric gymnastics that would seem strange to today’s audiences: synchronized team floor calisthenics, rope climbing, high jumping, running, horizontal ladder, etc.
During the 1920s, women organized and participated in gymnastics events, and the first women’s Olympic competition – primitive, for it involved only synchronized calisthenics – was held at the 1928 Games in Amsterdam.
By the 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 10) had been agreed upon.
At this time, Soviet gymnasts astounded the world with highly disciplined and difficult performances, setting a precedent that continues to inspire.
The new medium of television 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.
Nadia Comaneci received the first perfect score, at the 1976 Olympic Games held in Montreal, Canada.
She was coached by the famous Romanian, Bela Karolyi.
According to Sports Illustrated, Comaneci scored four of her perfect tens on the uneven bars, two on the balance beam and one in the floor exercise.
Unfortunately, even with Nadia’s perfect scores, the Romanians lost the gold medal to the Soviets.
In 2006, a new points system was put into play. Instead of being marked 1 to 10, the gymnast’s start value depends on the difficulty rating of the exercise routine.
Also, the deductions became higher: before the new point system developed, the deduction for a fall was 0.5, and now it is 0.8. The motivation for a new point system was to decrease the chance of gymnasts getting a perfect score.
We’ll go over five different types of gymnastics :
- Artistic Gymnastics
Women’s and men’s gymnastics are two of the most popular and frequently practiced forms of artistic gymnastics.
Furthermore, men compete in six events: floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars, and high bar, whereas women compete in four: vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise.
Additionally, the sport primarily involves using gymnastic apparatus and the usage of the floor for various activities.
- Rhythmic Gymnastics (RG)
Rhythmic Gymnastics is also one of the different types of gymnastics. It is currently a female-only sport.
It uses hoops, balls, ropes, and ribbons to demonstrate graceful movements emphasizing flexibility and agility.
Individual and team activities are divided into RG, frequently practiced with music. However, to demonstrate skill, endurance, and hand-eye coordination, the art form incorporates ballet, dance, and apparatus handling aspects.
- Acrobatic Gymnastics
Acrobatic gymnastics is also one of the different types of gymnastics. it is undoubtedly one of the most impressive exhibitions of strength and coordination in the sport!
There is no equipment utilized here. Furthermore, 2-4 gymnasts’ teams perform three different types of acrobatic moves: balance routines that emphasize strength, dynamic routines that include throws, catches, and somersaults, and a combination routine that incorporates both.
- Trampoline Gymnastics
Trampoline Gymnastics is one of the different types of gymnastics. Gymnasts perform high-flying flips and twists on every bounce in trampoline gymnastics. For the 2000 Olympics, this was made an Olympic discipline.
However, creative teams were lowered from seven to six members to make room for trampolinists in the gymnastics quota.
In addition, the following are the events: In Olympic competitions, an obligatory and a voluntary routine are done.
In the United States, double mini (gymnasts use a smaller, two-level trampoline) and synchronized (two athletes perform simultaneously on distinct trampolines) are competitive events, although they are not Olympic events.
- Tumbling Gymnastics
Tumbling gymnastics is one of the different types of gymnastics. Power Tumbling elevates trampoline training to new heights by incorporating aspects of artistic gymnastics.
On a 25-meter track, contestants make two passes, each displaying a set of eight talents.
Furthermore, power tumbling necessitates a high level of spatial awareness, strength, and coordination to perform successfully.
There are many different types of gymnastics, each with its skills and techniques. When choosing a type of gymnastics to pursue, it is important to consider your own goals and abilities.
Some types of gymnastics are more geared towards athletic competition, while others emphasize creative expression and self-improvement.
Ultimately, the best way to decide which type of gymnastics is right for you is to try several different styles and see which one you enjoy the most.
Hope you find this article helpful.