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Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Day Eight Review

Giarnni Regini-Moran and Ellie Downie admitted they were pinching themselves in amazement after bringing the curtain down on their Youth Olympic...

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History

Gymnastics is one of the oldest Olympic sports. It has always been a part of the ancient, as well as the modern Olympic Games. The term “gymnastics” derives from the Greek word “gymnos”, meaning naked. This is also the root of the word “gymnasium”, which was a training area where athletes gathered to exercise, compete in sports and receive training in philosophy, music and literature.

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.

 

Olympic History

Men’s Artistic Gymnastics was included for the first time in the 1896 Olympic Games, while women participated for the first time in Olympic Games in 1928. In the first modern Olympic Games held in 1896, athletes from five countries competed in the following six apparatus:

  • Horizontal Bar
  • Parallel Bars
  • Pommel Horse
  • Rings
  • Vault
  • Rope Climbing

In 1936, the individual apparatus events for men began to resemble those included in the Olympic programme today. They competed in Free Exercises (Floor Exercises), Side Horse (Pommel Horse), Rings, Parallel Bars, Horizontal Bar and Long Horse (Vault). The four apparatus competitive programme for women (Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam and Floor) has been introduced at the 1952 Olympic Games.

Artistic Gymnastics was made popular in the Mexico Games in 1968 by the athlete Vera Caslavska and then again in Munich in 1972 with Olga Korbut. However, the sport reached a high level of general popularity with Romanian athlete Nadia Comaneci, who at the Montreal Olympic Games in 1976 scored the absolute maximum of 10.00 points for the first time in the history of the Games.

Technical

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.

In the Preliminaries (CI) еach team comprises five gymnasts with four competing on each apparatus and the top three scores counting towards the team total. The top  eight teams in the Preliminaries (CI) proceed to the  Team finals (CIV), for both men and women. For the final, each country nominates three gymnasts per apparatus with all three scores counting. The team with the highest total score wins the gold medal.

For the Individual all-around final (CII) there are 24 competitors (for both men and women - with a maximum of 2 per nation). The gymnasts do not perform the apparatus in the same order. Each gymnast competes on every apparatus, with each score contributing to his or her overall score. The gymnast with the highest total score wins the gold medal. 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.

Men’s Events

Floor

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.

Women’s Events

Floor

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.

equipment

Apparatus

Vault (VT)

Height from the floor is 1.25 metres for women and 1.35 for the men. The vaulting table is placed with the sloping edge facing the runway and is the same for men and women. Each vault is awarded a value according to its difficulty. Judges assess the height, length and shape of the vault and also the exactness of the turns before and after the somersault and the controlled landing within a marked corridor down the centre of the landing mat. Gymnasts perform only one vault for Qualifications and Individual All-around finals, unless they are attempting to qualify for apparatus finals, which requires them to show two different vaults that must show different repulsion phases or take off position from the top of the vaulting table, either forwards or backwards. The top 8 scoring gymnasts then compete in the Vault Final, in which the scores of the 2 performed vaults are averaged.

 

Women’s Apparatus

Uneven Bars (UB)

Low bar is now measured from floor to top of low bar as 170cm and to high bar top at 250cm +/- 1cm. The maximum width allowed between the bars is 180cm. Swinging and continuous movements are required on this apparatus. The exercise should include movements in both directions, above and below the bars. Elements with twists and somersaults with multiple grip changes and high flight should be demonstrated to maximise scores. Often a spectacular dismount ends the routine.

Balance Beam (BB)

Height of the beam from the floor: 1.25 metres. The beam is five metres long and only 10 cm wide. A routine on the beam should be an artistic combination of a variety of acrobatic elements and gymnastic leaps, jumps and turns which all show the gymnasts working at different levels, both close to and leaving the beam. The gymnast should use the entire length of the beam, demonstrating elegance, flexibility, rhythm, balance, confidence and control. The routine is finished with a dismount that should be a series of acrobatic elements and can be very spectacular. The maximum length of a routine on beam is 90 seconds.

Floor Exercise (FX)

The floor measures 12 x 12 metres, with an additional safety border of 1 metre. The performance area must have a surface elasticity to allow for power during take-off and softness for landing. Women’s floor exercise is accompanied by music to enhance the performance. Music should not include words but may include vocals in an instrumental style. Routines should combine connections of dance movements with a variety of tumbling and acrobatic elements. The whole floor area should be used with the exercise being varied in mood, tempo and direction. Individuality, originality, maturity, mastery and artistry of presentation are key ingredients for a high score. The Maximum length of a floor routine is 90 seconds for women.

 

Men’s Apparatus

Floor Exercise (FX)

Men’s floor focuses more on tumbling, strength and balance; each routine must combine moves such as somersaults, twists and leaps. The whole floor area should be used and the routine should show a personal touch of expression and execution. The Maximum length of a floor routine is 70 seconds for men.

Pommel Horse (PH)

The dimensions of a competition pommel horse are specified as having a height of: 1.05 metres above the mat and Length at the top of 1.60 metres. The distance between pommels however may be chosen by the gymnast but must be between 40 and 45 cm apart. The pommel horse routine should be a smooth continuous chain of circular and pendulum type swings, double leg circles, scissor movements and undercuts using the full length of the horse.

Rings (RG)

The rings are positioned 2.60 metres above the mats, (including 20cm for the landing mats) and are suspended from a frame, which is 5.75 metres tall. They are hung 50 cm apart and prove a formidable challenge for all male competitors. Ring routines should include a variety of movements demonstrating strength, support and balance. The gymnast should perform a series of swings and holds with both forward and backward elements and the routine should finish with an acrobatic dismount.

Parallel Bars (PB)

The parallel bars are 1.80 metres above the mats however the distance between the two bars are variable according to the gymnast’s preferences. This is essential as gymnasts perform many handstand elements and swinging movements between the bars and so they must be able to be positioned differently because of the varied width of gymnast’s frames. Like the rings, the parallel bars require a combination of swinging movements with strength or hold parts. The gymnasts should travel along and work both above and below the bars. The exercise should be predominantly swinging. Many gymnasts will also perform release moves in-between the bars, which may include double somersaults. The routine is ended with a dismount and gymnasts must have a clean landing if they hope for a perfect score. The majority of routines feature a double pike dismount. 

Horizontal (High) Bar (HB)

The bar is 240 cm long and 2.60 metres above the mats; the 28 mm thick bar is constructed from high tensile stainless steel. This piece completes a gymnasts All Around competition when competing in Olympic order, and is renowned for its spectacular highflying releases. Gymnast’s should perform continuous clean swinging movements and must not touch the bar with their body. They are required to demonstrate changes of grip, swinging movements both forward and backward, plus release and re-grasp of the bar. Dismounts are an important part of the total routine and are usually acrobatic and dynamic.

rules

The Event

In Artistic Gymnastics, men and women compete separately, men in six apparatus and women in four. In the Olympic Games, the competition schedule for men and women is separated into four parts.

Qualifications (CI)

98 women and 98 men athletes compete as team members or individually (12 teams with 5 athletes on each team and 38 individually), to qualify for the Team-Finals, Individual All-Around and Apparatus Finals. The scores of the qualifying event are not transferred to the finals.

Team Finals (CIV)

The best eight teams participate according to their placement at the qualifying event. Each team consists of five gymnasts, but only three of them compete in each apparatus. Each team’s final score is based on the three scores attained in each apparatus. The winning team is the one with the highest total score in all apparatus.

Team HeroesEntire Team

Max Whitlock won three medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and made his major championship debut at the following year’s World Championship, travelling as a reserve.

He impressed at this year’s Olympic test event, winning ...

All-arounder Kristian Thomas rose to prominence when he was crowned British champion in 2008 and in 2009 he was sixth in the all-around event at the World Championships in London.

He has achieved most of his aims within the sport, makin...

Sam Oldham has already won gold at the Youth Olympics in Singapore and while he struggled with injuries earlier this season, he finished second at the national championships to remind selectors of his abilities.

He played football for b...

Daniel Purvis has won three consecutive national all- around titles and was ranked number one in the world across all apparatus in 2011.

His gymnastics idol is London 2012 rival Kohei Uchimura ‘because he makes gymnastics look eas...

In 2008, Louis Smith became the first British male gymnast to win an Olympic medal since Walter Tysall at London 1908.

Smith wants to start his own fashion brand after London 2012 while he once auditioned for The X Factor.

At th...

Our Results

Total: 17 medals
  • 3 Gold
  • 3 Silver
  • 11 Bronze
Athens 1896
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Paris 1900
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
London 1908
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Stockholm 1912
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Antwerp 1920
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Paris 1924
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Amsterdam 1928
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
London 1948
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Helsinki 1952
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Melbourne 1956
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Rome 1960
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Tokyo 1964
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Mexico City 1968
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Munich 1972
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Montreal 1976
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Moscow 1980
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Los Angeles 1984
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Seoul 1988
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Barcelona 1992
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Atlanta 1996
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Sydney 2000
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Athens 2004
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Beijing 2008
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
London 2012
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 3 Bronze
Nanjing 2014
  • 3 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 5 Bronze
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