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Grace, rhythm, skill and dynamic movement are only some of the characteristics of Gymnastics, one of the most popular sports of the Olympic Games. Athletes, with or without the accompaniment of music and only with their body or with the use of apparatus, perform a series of exercises where art and sport coexist, thereby attracting millions of fans.
The programme of the Olympic Games includes Artistic Gymnastics for men and women, Rhythmic Gymnastics and Trampoline Individual for men and women.
Artistic Gymnastics is one of the most popular disciplines of the Olympic Games and at the same time one of the most demanding, since it combines strength, skill and flexibility.
Men participate in six apparatus: Floor Exercises, Pommel Horse, Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars and Horizontal Bar. Women participate in four apparatus: Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam and Floor Exercises.
In artistic gymnastics, men compete on six apparatus: floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar. Women compete on four apparatus: vault, uneven bars, beam and floor.
Gymnasts must turn at least 16 in the year of competition.
The Competition Area
An 80 to 110 cm-high podium is required for Artistic Gymnastics events. The apparatus are placed on this podium and stabilised on the suitable sockets, in specific distances between them and with a safety margin from the end of the podium, in accordance with the Technical Regulations of the International Gymnastics Federation.
Floor Exercises are executed on a 12 x 12m mat with a 1-metre safety border around it. It is placed on a special wooden underlay, which is necessary for the athletes’ take-offs and landings. Athletes have 70 seconds to execute an exercise that includes somersaults, strength and balance exercises.
Floor Exercises are executed on a 12 x 12m surface with a 1-metre safety border around it. The surface rests on a special wooden underlay, which is necessary for the athletes’ take-offs and landings. Athletes present their routine with the accompaniment of music, combining dance with acrobatic exercises, using the whole surface of the floor.
Rhythmic Gymnastics is performed exclusively by women and is a combination of gymnastics and dance. The gymnasts perform choreographed movements with musical accompaniment using hand apparatus such as Rope, Hoop, Ball, Clubs and a Ribbon
There are two gold medals contested under rhythmic gymnastics: individual all-around and the group competition.
In the individual all around, 24 gymnasts compete using hand held apparatus – rope, hoop, ball, ribbon and clubs. Only four apparatus are contested at the Olympics, changing for every Olympiad. There are two rounds of competition: the qualification and the final.
The qualification round is held over two days. On the first day, gymnasts compete with the first two apparatus; on the next day, they use the other two. Scores from each routine are added. The top 10 qualify for the final which is then held on one day (qualification-round scores do not carry over to the final). Each gymnast again performs with all four apparatus. The gymnast with the highest score out of 80.00 points is the champion.
In the group competition 10 teams consisting of six gymnasts perform two routines each – one routine with 5 ribbons, and the other with 3 hoops and 2 sets of clubs. Note: Apparatus used in group competition is changed every Olympiad. The eight groups with the highest score from the two exercises advance to the final. Scores do not carry over from the qualification round. The group with the highest total from two routines in the final wins.
The Competition Area
The competition hall must be at least 8 to 10m high, so that no problems are created when the apparatus are tossed into the air. Gymnasts compete on a 13 x 13m mat that is placed on a special wooden underlay, with 0.50-meter wide security borders around it.
Gymnastics has been a part of life for thousands of years but trampolining has been a more recent addition to the sport. As with the rest of Gymnastics it requires a high level of strength, technique and flexibility.
Trampoline competitions have changed a great deal with advances in equipment design and materials used in trampolines and as competitions have grown the levels of skill and the degree of difficulty involved in some of the combinations have also grown. Modern trampolines can propel athletes 30 feet into the air and with this increase in height so more twists and turns can be incorporated into each routine, including a range of double and triple somersaults and twists.
The first use of a kind of trampoline dates back to 1800, according to newspapers and commemorative cards of the time. At that time, the Hughes circus in London called one of its numbers “the trampoline jump”, using this word for the first time. Since then, the word trampoline has been used in different circus performances to describe any elastic apparatus that includes jumping over obstacles or vertical jumps.
The International Olympic Committee recognised the International Trampoline Federation in 1988. The International Trampoline Federation merged with the International Gymnastics Federation in January 1999.
Trampoline was introduced at the Olympic Games for the first time at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, with men and women participating in individual disciplines.