Gymnastics

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Gymnastics is a sport involving the performance of sequences of movements requiring physical strength, flexibility, and kinesthetic awareness, such as handsprings, handstands, forward rolls, arials and tucks. It developed from fitness and beauty practices used by the ancient Greeks, including skills for mounting and dismounting a horse, and circus performance skills. In ancient times the term implied exercise taken by men in a gymnasium, a venue for intellectual and physical education.

It is often considered a dangerous sport, as the difficult acrobatic maneuvers often performed on equipment high above the ground puts the athlete at risk of serious injury.However once a gymnast has reached a certain level of difficulty, injuries become few as the gymnast will have extensive training.

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[edit] Disciplines

Modern gymnastics, as regulated by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique incorporates six distinct disciplines:

Of these disciplines, the two sub-disciplines of artistic and rhythmic gymnastics are the best known, having been part of Summer Olympic Games competitions. Individual Trampoline has been included in the Summer Olympics since 2000.

[edit] Artistic gymnastics

Artistic Gymnastics is usually divided into Men's (MAG) and Women's Gymnastics (WAG), each group doing different events; Men compete on Vault, Parallel Bars, the Pommel Horse, the Rings, the High Bar, and on the Floor, while women compete on Vault, Uneven Bars, Beam, and Floor Exercise. In the past in some countries women competed on the rings and the high bar too, at least at the national level (for example, in the 1950s in the USSR). Though routines performed on each event may be short, they are physically exhausting and push the gymnast's strength, flexibility, endurance and awareness to the limit. Competitive women's gymnastics consists of two different stages: novice and optional. At the novice level, the gymnast performs routines that are pre-choreographed for all gymnasts. At the optional level, the gymnast performs routines that she herself choreographed or choreographed with the help of a dance choreographer. Every gymnast's routine at this advanced level will be different.

[edit] Women's events

Vault 
In the vaulting events, gymnasts sprint down a 25 meter (about 82 feet) runway, leap onto a springboard and onto the vaulting apparatus in a straight body position, touching the horse with their hands and blocking off of it. Beginners will often be upright; more advanced gymnasts will block off from a handstand position and spring to their feet. The postflight may include one or multiple saltos and twists.
In 2001 the traditional vault was replaced by the new vaulting table, sometimes known as a tongue. The new apparatus is more stable and safer than the old one, giving gymnasts a larger blocking surface. It is also longer -- approx. three feet in length and two feet in width. Deduction in any even can be as low as ½ tenth deduction.
Uneven Bars
On the uneven bars (also known as asymmetric bars, UK), the gymnast navigates two horizontal bars set at different heights, depending on the height of the gymnast. (The most common setting of the distance between the bars is "F", which is just about in the middle.) Gymnasts perform swinging, circling, transitional, and release moves, as well as handstands. The advanced gymnast must use both bars to receive a high score.
Balance Beam
The gymnast performs a choreographed routine from 50 to 90 seconds in length consisting of leaps, acrobatic skills, turns and dance elements on a padded spring beam about 4 feet high, 16 feet long, and 4 inches wide. The event requires in particular balance and flexibility. If there are any "wobbles" or mishaps there can be deductions. For example: If the gymnast fell off the beam or touched her hands on the beam when she was not supposed to that would be an automatic 5 tenths deduction. But if she were to wobble, depending on how severe it was it can be anywhere from a 1 tenth deduction to a 1 point deduction. In any of the gymnast's routines there are points from 1.0 to 10.0 everyone starts out with a 10.0. But depending on if there was lack of required skills or something went wrong you get points or tenths taken away. There are 100 tenths or 10 points in every routine, 10 is the top score, where a 1 would be poor. 9.3's and up are considered good scores. 9.6's and up are excellent and can result in high placed awards.
Floor
Gymnasts perform a choreographed exercise 60 to 120 seconds long. The music must be instrumental - no vocals are allowed. The routines consist of tumbling passes, series of jumps, dance elements, acrobatic skills, and turns on a carpeted, sprung floor 40 feet × 40 feet. It is a one tenth deduction for stepping outside the boundaries, no matter how far out they go. Depending on level all four sides should be used to earn the maximum score. Bent knees, flexed feet, loose arms, and low rise turns, as well as misplacement of the body position will result in deductions.

[edit] Men's events

Floor 
Floor — The floor is a carpeted area, 12m × 12m, usually sprung or foamed. Men perform a series of tumbling passes along with flexibility, strength, and balance tests. Routines last between 50–70 seconds and are performed without music.
Pommel Horse 
Pommel Horse — Men must perform circular movements around the horse with their legs while allowing only their hands to actually touch it. This is considered one of the hardest events and requires a lot of determination and skill.
Rings 
Rings — The rings are about 8 feet off the ground. Men must have good strength and flexibility to swing themselves on these rings while preventing the rings themselves from swinging. The rings are the epitome of male gymnastic strength.
Vault 
Vault — Gymnasts sprint down a runway, usually about 80 feet long, before leaping on a springboard and holding their bodies straight while punching (blocking using only a shoulder movement) the vault and flipping over to a standing position. In advanced gymnastics, multiple twists and flips are added before landing.
Parallel Bars 
Parallel Bars — Men hold themselves on two bars about a shoulder's width apart and about 6½ feet high while performing a series of swings and balances that require great strength and coordination.
High Bar 
High Bar — a 1-inch thick steel bar 8 feet in the air is all the gymnast has to hold onto as he shows swings, release skills, twists, and even a change of direction and finishes with an impressive flighted dismount.

[edit] General gymnastics

General gymnastics, sometimes called group projects enables people of all ages and abilities to participate in performance troupes of 6 to more than 150 athletes. They perform synchronized, choreographed routines. Troupes may be all one gender or mixed. There are no age divisions in general gymnastics. Some times there are levels that go up to level 10 starting at level 5. There are different routines for different levels!The largest general gymnastics exhibition is the quadrennial World Gymnaestrada which was first held in 1939.

[edit] Rhythmic gymnastics

The discipline of rhythmic gymnastics is competed only by women (although there is a new version of this discipline for men being pioneered in Japan, see Men's rhythmic gymnastics), and 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. Rhythmic routines are scored out of a possible 20 points.

[edit] Aerobic gymnastics

Aerobic gymnastics (formerly Sports Aerobics) involves the performance of routines by individuals or pairs, emphasizing strength, flexibility, and aerobic fitness rather than acrobatic or balance skills. Routines are performed on a small floor area and generally last 60-90 seconds, being judged out of a total of 10 points.

[edit] Trampolining

Trampolining consists of four events, individual, synchronized, double mini and trampoline. Only individual trampoline is included in the Olympics. Individual routines involve a build-up phase during which the gymnast jumps repeatedly to achieve height, followed by a sequence of ten leaps without pauses during which the gymnast performs a sequence of aerial tumbling skills. Routines are marked out of a maximum score of 10 points. Additional points (with no maximum) can be earned depending on the difficulty of the moves. Synchronized trampoline is similar except that both competitors must perform the routine together and marks are awarded for synchronicity as well as the form of the moves. Double mini trampoline involves a smaller trampoline with a run-up, two moves are performed and the scores marked in a similar manner to individual trampoline.

[edit] Sports Acrobatics

Sports Acrobatics, often referred to as acrobatics, acro 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.

[edit] The Rope Climb

This was an Olympic Gymnastic event at one time, but was removed from that venue after the 1932 Games. In the United States, competitive rope climbing persisted until the early 1960s, when the AAU and the NCAA dropped it. Competitors climbed either a 20' or an 8 meter, 1.5" diameter 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 "stride" was permitted. At the top, there was a circular "tambourine" with lampblack on its undersurface, which the climber touched. Several timers with stop watches timed the climb, and an acceptable official time was then agreed upon. Before the event expired, an electronic means of timing the climb was developed, but this was insufficient reason to continue an activity that many artistic gymnasts thought should have been relegated to the track & field arena. The world record for the 20' climb was 2.8 seconds, first achieved by Don Perry in the 1950s. There would be little reason, other than historical, to dwell on this minor but exciting activity were it not for gymnasts in the Czech Republic, who resurrected competitive rope climbing in 1993. Local and national contests have been held each year since then.

Further information: rope climbing

[edit] See also

[edit] References

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[edit] External links

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Gymnastics

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