Gymnastics is a collection of physical exercises requiring a lot of strength, agility, balance, and flexibility. It is closely related to circus performing skills as athletes put their bodies to the fullest use. Likewise, there are various disciplines for gymnasts to showcase their talents. Thus, it evolved from ancient Greeks that included skills to mounting to dismounting a horse. The competitive form of gymnastics is called artistic gymnastics. It involves various events for women like the floor, vault, uneven bars, and the beam. For men, they have floor, vault, rings, pommel horse, parallel bars, and horizontal bars. Therefore, the sport is famous for its aesthetic values and the Olympics draws major crowds to the gymnastics arena.
History of Gymnastics
Gymnastics originated from the Greek term, 'to exercise naked,' applied in ancient Greece exercises. These exercises became a mainstay at the Olympics but most of the competition came from ancient roots. There are stone engravings found in Shandong province during the Han Period (206 BCE–220 CE) where they portrayed acrobatics. Like every sport, the person credited for making the sport famous was Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, founder of the Turnverein movement as he helped to spread gymnastics across the world.
Most of the exercises were conducted on the playground. Therefore, various events came into existence. They held the first Gymnastics festival in 1860 in Coburg. The Americans were introduced to Gymnastics in the late 1820s while the Federation Internationale Gymnastique was founded in 1881 to organize the event. The 1896 Olympic Games saw the starting stages of gymnastics being introduced to the world.
There are three divisions of artistic gymnastics- artistic, rhythmic, and trampoline. There are six events for men and the all around event where they combine scores from every discipline. For women, there are four exercises and a similar all around event, both team and individual events. Apart from artistic gymnastics, there is rhythmic gymnastics and is practiced only by women. Trampoline is the other discipline of gymnastics and introduced itself at the 2000 Olympic Games. As years pass by, various gymnasts showcased their athletic skills to the masses in attendance.
Famous gymnasts in the world
In terms of pure dominance, Simone Biles enters the list as arguably the greatest gymnast of all time. She is the most decorated gymnast in the World Championships, winning four gold, one silver, and two bronze medals. The 2016 Rio Olympics saw her winning four gold medals and completely dominated the events. She has 25 World Championships medals to her name and her stance on mental health helps her become an influential person in the society.
Winning nine gold medals at the Olympics is astonishing and Larisa Latynina ranks on top of the famous gymnast charts. After Michael Phelps, she has the most Olympic medals with 18. She popularized the sport of gymnastics and was the first star in the sport. Her iconic performances will go down to the gymnastics folklore.
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Achieving a perfect 10.0 score in gymnastics is amazing. But, doing it at the Olympics, when just turning 14, placed Nadia Comaneci amongst the pantheon of greats. The 1976 Olympics saw her earning seven perfect scores. She won five Olympic gold medals out of the nine she won.
With a total of 47 Olympic, World and European Championships medals, Svetlana Khorkina is a remarkable gymnast. She became the first gymnast to win three all-around titles at the World Championships while winning five gold medals in the uneven bars at World Championships. Her success in the uneven bars earned her the moniker 'The Queen of Bars.'
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