The sport of Gymnastics shows an athleteís balance, flexibility, agility, rhythm, and strength. The three major competitions in gymnastics are competitive gymnastics, artistic gymnastics, rhythmic and trampoline. There are seven members on every competitive team in which only six compete at a time. The highest five scorers count towards the overall team score. The women participate in rhythmic gymnastic while men and women compete artistic and trampoline. The term gymnastic also means a system of physical exercise used in a therapeutic or educational way.
This sport originated in Ancient Egypt with acrobats. Bull Leaping was then developed with the men and women during the period of the Minoan Culture. These athletes would use the bull to toss them into the air so that they could perform mid-air stunts before landing on the bulls back and then they would dismount from the bull with a flip. They actually charged the bull and the bull would toss them in the air. Ancient Greece further developed the sport by categorizing into three groups. The first is to maintain good physical condition, the second military training and the third as part as conditioning for athletes. These early Greeks were teachers of physical fitness for both the general pubic as well as the athlete. These programs were considered necessary to the education of children. They believed by promoting physical fitness, one would develop unity of mind and body. The Romans also used gymnastic exercise to train their military. It was Germany that developed a form of gymnastic which used a define set of skills using specific kinds of equipment. Friedrich Ludwig Jahn was known as the Father of Gymnastics. He developed exercise using stationery pieces of equipment to develop physical strength and self-discipline. The Swedish system devised by Pehr Henrik Ling concentrated on the rhythmic portion using the above mentions props. As these ethnic groups immigrated to the United States they brought passion for this sport. The Germans soon began to participate in gymnastic with their families. At the end of the 19th Century, the United States adopted a physical educational program using both the German and Swedish Systems for physical fitness. The children of the United States and Canada did not take to this type of gymnastic activity, but preferred games rather than exercises. It wasn't until the 1970 Olympic Games that Gymnastics became a popular sport and caught the publicís attention.
There is a required series of events which are judged as individual events and then each event is compiled for a total score in Artistic gymnastics. In 1986, Artistic gymnastics was started. This competition in the Olympics has been judged on a 10-point scale by four to six professional judges. The high and low scores by the judges are eliminated while the judges take into account the level of difficulties.
In rhythmic gymnastics, the athlete uses several props such as ropes, hoops. clubs, ribbons and balls in separate events as they perform a choreographed routine. Their feet are not permitted to leave the mat while they perform some acrobatic movements. These athletes are judged on how well and difficult they perform as they work in harmony with the equipment while they perform a routine as error free as possible. Rhythmic gymnastics became an Olympic Event in 1984. They compete on a 41-foot square mat. During two team events, five competitors perform together.
Trampoline Gymnastic appeared in the Olympics at Sydney Australia in 2000, with both men and women competing in individual events. The athlete jumps up and down on a trampoline and does movements, somersaults, twists while they are in the air. They are permitted to jump up to 30 feet high and some athletes stay in the air for as long as 2 seconds. There are seven judges while two of them judge the level of difficulty and the other five determine the athlete ability to execute the routine. These movements are judged.
The Federation Internationale de Gymnastique (the International Federation of Gymnastics) is the governing body that oversees this sport, which is located in Moutier, Switzerland. The governing body for the United States is USA Gymnastics, which is located in Indianapolis, Indiana.
There are six events in which men compete in the Artistic gymnastics which are Floor Exercise, Pommel Horse, Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars, Horizontal Bars. Women, however only compete in four events which are Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam and Floor Exercise.
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