It is not known how, or when gymnastics began. Maybe, the first gymnast was an early human, good at swinging from tree branch to tree branch. Old stone cuttings show that the ancient Egyptians enjoyed building human pyramids, and showing acrobatic activities, around 3000 B.C. About a thousand years later, the Chinese developed a version of gymnastics called Cong Fu.
However, the Greeks , about 2500 years ago, were the first to use gymnastics for fitness and sport. In the Greek city of Athen, gymnastic tournaments were held, including tumbling, rope climbing, and other similar activities. Because of their love for these tournaments, the Atheniens sponsored the ancient Olympic Games. When the Roman's conquered Greece, they discovered that gymnastics was very valuable in their military training. But after the fall of the Roman Empire, gymnastics vanished for centuries.
Not much was recorded about the sport, until the late 1700's, when
Frederick Jahn invented new pieces of equipment, and began gymnastics clubs
in Germany. They became quite popular, and soon began spreading to
the other European countries as well. The first gymnastics
club in the United States was formed in 1850, and many migrants from Europe
began forming their own clubs here,too.
In the late 1800's, the first up-to-date Olympic Games were organized,
and Athens was picked as a location. Gymnastics was
one of seven sports consisting in this contest. However, gymnasticsremained
a rather minor sport in many countries. Then, in the 1970's, the
world saw of a sudden intrest in this sport. After that it became
one of the fastest increasing sports in the U.S.
Today, there are many young people studying gymnastics, and there are much more that are fans of the sport. Gymnastics has taken its place as a major world sport.