Artistic gymnastics is a discipline of gymnastics in which athletes
perform short routines (ranging from approximately 30 to 90 seconds)
on different apparatus, with less time for vaulting. The sport is
governed by the
Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique
Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG),
which designs the Code of Points and regulates all aspects of
international elite competition. Within individual countries,
gymnastics is regulated by national federations, such as British
Gymnastics in the
United Kingdom and USA
Gymnastics in the United
Artistic gymnastics is a popular spectator sport at the Summer
Olympic Games and in other competitive environments.
1.1 Women's artistic gymnastics (WAG)
2.1 Men's only
2.2 Women's only
2.3 Equipment and uniforms
3 Format of competition
3.1 New Life
3.3 Competition levels
3.4 Age limits
3.5 Scoring and the Code of Points
4 Major competitions
5 Dominant teams and nations
5.1 USSR/Post-Soviet Republics
5.3 United States
5.9 Other nations
6 Health effects
7 See also
9 External links
A gymnast performing on the parallel bars in 1962.
The gymnastic system was mentioned in works by ancient authors, such
as Homer, Aristotle, and Plato. It included many disciplines that
would later become separate sports, such as swimming, racing,
wrestling, boxing, and riding, and was also used for military
training. In its present form, gymnastics evolved in
Bohemia and what
Germany at the beginning of the 19th century, and the term
"artistic gymnastics" was introduced at the same time to distinguish
free styles from the ones used by the military. The German educator
Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, who was known as the father of gymnastics,
invented several apparatus, including the horizontal bar and parallel
bars, which are used to this day. Two of the first gymnastics clubs
were Turnvereins and Sokols.
In 1881, the FIG was founded, and it remains the governing body of
international gymnastics. It initially included only three countries
and was called the European
Gymnastics Federation until 1921, when the
first non-European countries joined the federation and it was
reorganized into its present form.
Gymnastics was included in the
program of the 1896 Summer Olympics, but women have been allowed to
participate in the Olympics only since 1928. The World Championships,
held since 1903, were open only to men until 1934. Since that time,
two branches of artistic gymnastics have developed: women's artistic
gymnastics (WAG) and men's artistic gymnastics (MAG). Unlike men's and
women's branches of many other sports, WAG and MAG differ
significantly in apparatus used at major competitions and in
Women's artistic gymnastics (WAG)
Women's gymnastics entered the Olympics as a team event in 1928 and
was included in the twelfth gymnastics world championships in 1950.
Individual women were recognized in the all-around as early as the
tenth world championships in 1934. Two years after the full women's
program (all-around and all four event finals) was introduced at the
1950 World Championships, it was added to the 1952
Summer Olympics in
Helsinki, Finland, and the format has remained to this day.
The earliest champions in women's gymnastics tended to be in their
20s, and most had studied ballet for years before entering the sport.
Larisa Latynina, the first great Soviet gymnast, won her first Olympic
all-around medal at the age of 22 and her second at 26; she became the
1958 world champion while pregnant with her daughter. Věra
Čáslavská of Czechoslovakia, who followed Latynina to become a
two-time Olympic all-around champion, was 22 before she started
winning gold medals.
In the 1970s, the average age of Olympic gymnasts began to decrease.
While it was not unheard-of for teenagers to compete in the
Ludmilla Tourischeva was 16 at her first Olympics in
1968—younger female gymnasts slowly became the norm as the sport's
difficulty increased. Smaller, lighter girls generally excelled in the
more challenging acrobatic elements required by the redesigned Code of
Points. The 58th Congress of the FIG—held in July 1980, just before
the Olympics—decided to raise the minimum age for senior
international competition from 14 to 15. The change, which came
into effect two years later, did not eliminate the problem. By the
time of the 1992 Summer Olympics, elite competitors consisted almost
exclusively of "pixies"—underweight, prepubertal teenagers—and
concerns were raised about athletes' welfare.
The FIG responded to this trend by raising the minimum age for
international elite competition to 16 in 1997. This, combined with
changes in the Code of Points and evolving popular opinion in the
sport, led to the return of older gymnasts. While the average elite
female gymnast is still in her middle to late teens and of
below-average height and weight, it is also common to see gymnasts
competing well into their 20s. At the 2004 Olympics, both the
second-place American team and the third-place Russians were captained
by women in their mid-20s; several other teams, including Australia,
France, and Canada, included older gymnasts. At the 2008 Olympics, the
silver medalist on vault, Oksana Chusovitina, was a 33-year-old
mother. She received another silver medal on vault at the 2011 World
Championships in Tokyo, when she was 36. At the age of 41, Chusovitina
competed at her 7th consecutive Olympics at the 2016 Olympics, a world
record for gymnastics.
Both male and female gymnasts are judged on all events for execution,
degree of difficulty, and overall presentation skills.
Diego Hypólito vaulting from a modern vaulting table during the 2007
Pan American Games.
The vault is an event as well as the primary piece of equipment used
in that event. Unlike most of the gymnastic events employing
apparatuses, the vault is common to both men's and women's
competition, with little difference between the two categories. A
gymnast sprints down a runway, which is a maximum of 25 m
(82 ft) in length, before leaping onto a springboard. Harnessing
the energy of the spring, the gymnast directs his or her body
hands-first towards the vault. Body position is maintained while
"popping" (blocking using only a shoulder movement) the vaulting
platform. The gymnast then rotates his or her body so as to land in a
standing position on the far side of the vault. In advanced
gymnastics, multiple twists and somersaults may be added before
landing. Successful vaults depend on the speed of the run, the length
of the hurdle, the power the gymnast generates from the legs and
shoulder girdle, kinesthetic awareness in the air, and the speed of
rotation in the case of more difficult and complex vaults.
In 2001, the traditional vaulting horse was replaced with a new
apparatus, sometimes known as a tongue or table. It is more stable,
wider, and longer than the older vaulting horse—approximately
1 m (3.3 ft) in length and width—giving gymnasts a larger
blocking surface, and is therefore safer than the old vaulting horse.
With the addition of this new and safer apparatus, gymnasts are
attempting more difficult and dangerous vaults.
Néstor Abad's on floor exercise in 2010.
The floor event occurs on a carpeted 12 m × 12 m
(39 ft × 39 ft) square, called a "spring floor",
consisting of hard foam over a layer of plywood, which is supported by
springs or foam blocks. This provides a firm surface that will respond
with force when compressed, allowing gymnasts to achieve extra height
and a softer landing than would be possible on a regular floor. A
series of tumbling passes are performed to demonstrate flexibility,
strength, balance, and power. The gymnast must also show non-acrobatic
skills, including circles, scales, and press handstands. Men's floor
routines usually have multiple passes that will total from 60 to 70
seconds, and men perform without music (unlike women gymnasts). Rules
require that gymnasts touch each corner of the floor at least once
during their routine. Female gymnasts perform a 90-second
choreographed routine to instrumental music on the same spring floor
used by male gymnasts. Female routines consist of tumbling passes, a
series of jumps, several dance elements, acrobatic skill elements, and
turns. Elite gymnasts may perform up to four tumbling passes, each of
which includes three or more skills.
Alberto Braglia won the gold medal in gymnastics at the 1908 and 1912
A typical pommel horse exercise involves both single leg and double
leg work. Single leg skills are generally found in the form of
scissors, an element often done on the pommels. Double leg work
however, is the main staple of this event. The gymnast swings both
legs in a circular motion (clockwise or counterclockwise depending on
preference) and performs such skills on all parts of the apparatus. To
make the exercise more challenging, gymnasts will often include
variations on a typical circling skill by turning (moores and
spindles) or by straddling their legs (flairs). Routines end when the
gymnast performs a dismount, either by swinging his body over the
horse, or landing after a handstand.
Klaus Köste on still rings.
The still rings are suspended on wire cable from a point 5.8 m
(19 ft) off the floor and adjusted in height so the gymnast
has room to hang freely and swing. He must perform a routine
demonstrating balance, strength, power, and dynamic motion while
preventing the rings themselves from swinging. At least one static
strength move is required, but some gymnasts may include two or three.
Most routines begin with a difficult mount and conclude with a
Yann Cucherat on parallel bars in 2010.
Men perform on two bars slightly further than a shoulder's width apart
and usually 1.75 m (5.7 ft) high while executing a series of
swings, balances, and releases that require great strength and
Reinhard Blum on high bar.
A 2.4 cm (0.94 in) thick steel bar raised 2.5 m
(8.2 ft) above the landing area is all the gymnast has to hold
onto as he performs giants (revolutions around the bar), release
skills, twists, and changes of direction. By using the momentum from
giants, enough height can be achieved for spectacular dismounts, such
as a triple-back salto. Leather grips are usually used to help
maintain a grip on the bar.
Karin Janz on uneven bars.
On the uneven bars (also known as asymmetric bars in the UK), the
gymnast navigates two horizontal bars set at different preset heights
yet alterable widths. Gymnasts perform swinging, circling,
transitional, and release moves, as well as moves that pass through
the handstand. The most common way to mount these bars is by jumping
towards the lower bar first.
Higher-level gymnasts usually wear leather grips to ensure a grip is
maintained on the bars while protecting hands from painful blisters
and tears (known as rips). Gymnasts sometimes wet their grips with
water from a spray bottle and then may apply chalk to their grips to
prevent the hands from slipping.
Chalk may also be applied to the
hands and bar if grips are not worn.
Nastia Liukin on the balance beam.
The gymnast performs a choreographed routine from 70 to 90 seconds in
length consisting of leaps, acrobatic skills, turns and dance elements
on a padded spring beam. Apparatus norms set by the International
Gymnastics Federation (used for Olympic and most elite competitions)
specify the beam must be 125 cm (4 ft) high, 500 cm
(16 ft) long, and 10 cm (3.9 in) wide. The event
requires balance, flexibility and strength.
Equipment and uniforms
Format of competition
The Gymnast sculpture in Wingate Institute, Israel
Currently, in Olympic or World Championships competition, the meet is
divided into several sessions which occur on different days:
qualification, team finals, all-around finals and event finals.
During the qualification (abbreviated TQ) round, gymnasts compete with
their national squad on all four (WAG) or six (MAG) apparatus. The
scores from this session are not used to award medals, but are used to
determine which teams advance to the team finals and which individual
gymnasts advance to the all-around and event finals. For the 2020
Olympic cycle a new qualification format has been adopted. Each
country can enter six gymnasts: a four-person team and two individual
gymnasts. The current format of team qualification is 4-4-3, meaning
that there are four gymnasts on the team, all four compete on each
event, and three of the scores count. Individual gymnasts also compete
to be qualified to the all-around and event finals, but their scores
do not count toward team score.
In the team finals (abbreviated TF), gymnasts compete with their
national squad on all four/six apparatus. The scores from the session
are used to determine the medalists of the team competition. The
current format is 4-3-3, meaning that there are four gymnasts on the
team, three compete on each event, and all three scores count. 
In the all-around finals (abbreviated AA), the gymnasts are individual
competitors and perform on all four/six apparatus. Their scores from
all four/six events are added together and the gymnasts with the three
highest totals are awarded all-around medals. Only two gymnasts from
each country may advance to the all-around finals.
In the event finals (abbreviated EF) or apparatus finals, the top
eight gymnasts on each event compete for medals. Only two gymnasts
from each country may advance to each event final.
Other competitions are not bound by these rules, and may use other
formats. For instance, the
2007 Pan American Games
2007 Pan American Games had only one day of
team competition on a 6-5-4 format, and allowed three athletes from
each country to advance to the all-around. In other meets, such as
those on the World Cup circuit, the team event is not contested at
Competitions use the New Life scoring rule, which was introduced in
1989. Under New Life, marks from one session do not carry over to the
next. In other words, a gymnast's performance in team finals does not
affect his or her scores in the all-around finals or event finals; he
or she starts with a clean slate. In addition, the marks from the team
qualifying round do not count toward the team finals.
Before the introduction of the New Life rule, the scores from the team
competition carried over into the all-around and event finals, and
could have a negative or positive effect on the gymnast's efforts in
subsequent sessions. The gymnasts' final results, and medal placement
were previously determined by the combination of the following scores:
Qualifiers for all-around and event finals: Team compulsories + team
Team competition: Team compulsories + team optionals
All-around competition: Team results (compulsories and optionals)
averaged + all-around
Event finals: Team results (compulsories and optionals) averaged +
Before 1997, the team competition was structured differently. It still
consisted of two sessions. However, gymnasts performed compulsory
exercises in the preliminaries and their optional routines on the
second day. The team medals were awarded on the combined scores of
both days. All-around and event final qualifiers were also determined
according to the combined scores. In meets where team titles were not
contested, such as the American Cup, there were two days of all-around
competition: one for compulsories and one for optionals.
The optionals were the gymnasts' personal routines, developed with
their coaches to adhere to the requirements of the Code of Points.
They were performed in the team finals, the all-around and the event
The compulsories were routines that were developed and choreographed
by the FIG Technical Committee. They were performed on the first day
of the team competition. Every single elite gymnast in every single
FIG member nation performed the same exercises. The dance and tumbling
skills of compulsory routines were generally less difficult than those
of the optionals, but heavily emphasized perfect technique, form and
execution. Scoring was exacting, with judges taking deductions for
even slight deviations from the required choreography. For this
reason, many gymnasts and coaches considered compulsories more
challenging to perform than optionals.
Compulsories were eliminated at the end of 1996. The move was
extremely controversial, and many successful gymnastics federations,
including Russia, the
United States and China, voted against the
abolition of compulsories. They argued that the exercises helped
maintain a high standard of form, technique and execution among
gymnasts. Opponents believed that compulsories harmed emerging
gymnastics programs. Many members of the gymnastics community still
argue that compulsories should be reinstated.
Many gymnastics federations have maintained compulsories in their
national programs. Gymnasts competing at the lower levels of the
sport—for instance, Level 4–6 in USA Gymnastics, grade 2 in South
Africa and national levels 3-6 in Australia—frequently only perform
Artistic gymnasts compete only with other gymnasts in their level.
Gymnasts start at the lowest level of competition and advance to
higher levels by learning gymnastics skills and achieving qualifying
scores at competitions.
In America, levels range from 1 to 10, then junior elite and senior
elite. Elite, especially senior elite is considered Olympic level, and
these gymnasts generally perform routines designed to meet the FIG's
international Code of Points. Levels 1–2 are usually considered
recreational, or beginner; 3–6 intermediate, and 7–Elite advanced.
Competitions begin at level 3 and in some gyms, level 2. A gymnast
must have specific skills for each event in order to advance to the
next level and once a gymnast has competed in a Sectional meet, they
may not drop back to a lower level in the same competitive season.
Levels 1–2 are basic skills, such as handstands, cartwheels, etc.
3–5 are compulsory levels, and 6 is an in-between level, with strict
requirements but still allowing the gymnast to add in their own
In the UK, the levels system goes from 5 (lowest) to 2; there are also
two tracks for Elite and Club level competition. In
Canada there are
several different competitive streams: Recreational, Developmental,
Pre-Competitive, Provincial, National and High Performance. Provincial
levels range from 5 (lowest) to 1; National levels are Pre-Novice,
Novice, Open, and High Performance. High Performance levels are
Novice, Junior and Senior.
In Germany, there are different competitive systems for grassroots
sport and for high-performance sport. For hobby sportsmen there is a
system of compulsory exercises from 1 to 9 and of optional exercises
from 4 to 1 with modified requirements of the Code of Points. This
competitions end on national level. For high-performans athletes and
the junior there are several compulsory and optional requirements
defined by age (age class exercises). They are existing from age of 6
up to the age of 18.
Age falsification in gymnastics and
champions by age
The FIG imposes a minimum age limit on gymnasts competing in
international meets. The term senior, in gymnastics, refers to any
world-class or elite gymnast who is age-eligible under FIG rules. The
term junior refers to any gymnast who competes at a world-class or
elite level, but is too young to be classified as a senior. Currently,
female gymnasts must be at least sixteen years of age, or turning
sixteen within the calendar year, the male 18, to be classified as a
senior. Juniors are judged under the same Code of Points as the
seniors, but with further restrictions, and often exhibit the same
level of difficulty in their routines.
Many meets, such as the European Championships, have separate
divisions for juniors, but some competitions, such as the Goodwill
Games, the Pan Am Games, the
Pacific Rim Championships and the
All-Africa Games, have rules that permit seniors and juniors to
Only senior gymnasts are allowed to compete in the Olympics, World
Championships and World Cup circuit. For the current Olympic cycle, in
order to compete in the 2016 Olympics, a female gymnast must have a
birthdate before January 1, 2001 (corresponding to an age of at least
15 years and 8 months on the first day of the games), the counterpart
gender must be minimum 18 years old. There is no maximum age
The minimum age requirement is arguably one of the most contentious
rules in artistic gymnastics, and is frequently debated by coaches,
gymnasts and other members of the gymnastics community. Those in favor
of the age limits[who?] argue that they promote the participation of
older athletes in the sport, and that they spare younger gymnasts from
the stress of competition and training at a high level. Opponents of
the rule point out that junior gymnasts are scored under the same Code
of Points as the seniors, except for some restrictions, and train
mostly the same skills. They also feel that younger gymnasts need the
experience of participating in major meets in order to become better
athletes; and that if a junior has the skills and maturity to be
competitive with seniors, he or she should be allowed that
Another point that frequently arises in this debate
is the issue of age falsification. Since stricter age limit rules were
first adopted in the early 1980s, there have been several
well-documented, and many more suspected, cases of juniors with
falsified documents competing as seniors. The FIG has only taken
disciplinary action in three cases: those of
Kim Gwang-Suk of North
Korea, who competed at the 1989 World Artistic Gymnastics
Championships at the approximate age of eleven; North Korean Hong
Su-jong, who competed under three different birth dates in the 2000s,
and China's Dong Fangxiao, who competed at the
2000 Olympics when she
was two years below the age minimum.
While the minimum age requirement applies to both women and men, it is
far more contentious in the women's program. Most top
male gymnasts are in their late teens or early twenties, while female
gymnasts are typically ready to compete at the international level by
their mid-teens. The difference is largely due to the fact that the
men's skills tend to emphasize strength more than the women's skills.
Scoring and the Code of Points
Main article: Code of Points (artistic gymnastics)
Scoring at the international level is regulated by the Code of Points.
This system was significantly overhauled for 2006. Under the new Code
of Points, there are two different panels judging each routine,
evaluating different aspects of the performance. The D score covers
Difficulty Value, Element Group Requirements and Connection Value; the
E score covers execution, composition and artistry. The most visible
change to the Code was the abandonment of the "Perfect 10" for an
open-ended scoring system for difficulty (the D score). The E score is
still limited to a maximum of 10. The sum of the two provides a
gymnast's total score for the routine. Theoretically this means scores
could be infinite, although average marks for routines in major
competitions in 2016 generally stayed in the mid-teens.
Many gymnasts, including Nadia Comăneci, Mary Lou Retton, Josef
Stalder, and Kurt Thomas, have attributed their original skills to the
Table of Elements section of the Code that helps define a routine's
Before 2006, every routine was assigned a Start Value (SV). A routine
with maximum SV performed perfectly was worth a 10.0. A routine with
all required elements was automatically given a base SV (9.4 in 1996;
9.0 in 1997; 8.8 in 2001). It was up to the gymnast to increase the SV
to 10.0 by performing difficult skills and combinations.
Many gymnastics insiders, coaches, officials and gymnasts have
protested the new Code, with Olympic gold medalists Lilia Podkopayeva,
Shannon Miller and
Vitaly Scherbo and Romanian
team coach Nicolae Forminte publicly voicing their opposition. In
addition, the 2006 report from the FIG Athletes' Commission cited
major concerns about scoring, judging and other points of the new
Code. Aspects of the Code were revised in 2007; however, there are no
plans to abandon the new scoring system and return to the 10.0 format.
Artistic gymnastics is one of the most popular events
at the Summer Olympics, held every four years.
qualify for the Olympics based on their performance at the World
Championships the year before the Games. Nations that do not qualify
to send a full team may qualify to send one or two individual
World Championships: The gymnastics-only World Championships is open
to teams from every FIG-member nation. The competition has had several
different formats, depending on the year: full team finals,
all-around, and event finals; all-around and event finals only; or
event finals only.
Gymnastics World Cup
Artistic gymnastics was an event at this now-defunct
Gymnastics is one of the events in this multi-sport
competition, held every four years, and open to teams and gymnasts
from African nations.
Artistic gymnastics is one of the events in this
multi-sport competition, held every four years, and open to teams and
gymnasts from Asian nations.
Artistic gymnastics is one of the events in this
multi-sport competition, held every four years, and open to teams and
gymnasts from Commonwealth nations.
European Championships: The gymnastics-only European Championships is
held every year, and is open to teams and gymnasts from European
Pacific Rim Championships: This gymnastics-only competition, which was
known as the Pacific Alliance Championships until 2008, is held every
two years and is open to teams from members of the Pacific Alliance of
Gymnastics Federations, including the USA, China, Australia,
Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and other nations on the Pacific coast.
Pan American Games:
Gymnastics is one of the events in this
multi-sport competition, held every four years, and open to teams and
gymnasts from North, South and Central America.
South American Games:
Artistic gymnastics is one of the events in this
multi-sport competition, held every four years, and open to teams and
gymnasts from South American nations.
Most countries hold a major competition (National Championships, or
"Nationals") every year that determines the best-performing all-around
gymnasts and event specialists in their country. Gymnasts may also
qualify to their country's national team or be selected for
international meets based on their scores at Nationals.
Dominant teams and nations
USSR/The Unified Team/Russia/Ukraine/Belarus/Armenia: Before the
breakup of the
Soviet Union in 1991, Soviet gymnasts dominated both
men's and women's gymnastics, commencing with the introduction of the
full women's program into the Olympics and the overall increased
standardization of the Olympic gymnastics competition format which
happened in 1952. Soviet Union's success might be explained by a heavy
state's investment in sports to fulfil its political agenda on an
international stage. They had many male stars, such as Olympic
Viktor Chukarin and Vitaly Scherbo, and female
stars, such as Olympic all-around champion
Larisa Latynina and World
all-around and Olympic champion
Svetlana Boginskaya who contributed to
this tradition. From 1952 to 1992 inclusive, the Soviet women's squad
won almost every single team title in World Championship competition
and at the Summer Olympics: the only four exceptions were the 1984
Olympics, which they did not attend, and the 1966, 1979, and 1987
World Championships. Most of the famous Soviet gymnasts were from the
Russian SFSR, the
Ukrainian SSR and the Byelorussian SSR. Following
the breakup of the Soviet Union, they competed together as one nation
for the last time at the
1992 Summer Olympics
1992 Summer Olympics as a "Unified Team,"
winning the gold.
Russia has maintained the tradition of gymnastics
excellence, medaling at every Worlds and Olympic competition in both
MAG and WAG disciplines, except in the 2008 Olympics, where the
Russian women's team did not win any medals.
Ukraine also has a strong
Lilia Podkopayeva was the all-around champion at the
Belarus has maintained a strong men's team. Other
former republics have been somewhat less successful. In terms of medal
results and overall domination, the Soviet legacy remains the
strongest of all in artistic gymnastics.
Romania: The Romanian team first achieved wide-scale success at the
Summer Olympics with the tremendous performance of Nadia
Comăneci. Since then, using the centralized training system pioneered
by Béla Károlyi, they have been a dominant force in both team and
individual events in WAG. With the exception of the defeat of the
Soviet women's team by the Czechoslovakian women's team at the 1966
Romania was the only team ever to defeat the
Soviets in head-to-head competition at the World Championships/Olympic
level with their victories at the 1979 and 1987 Worlds. Their women's
teams have also won team medals at every Olympics from 1976 to 2012
inclusive, including three victories in 1984, 2000, and 2004. At the
16 World Championships from 1978 to 2007 inclusive, the women's team
failed to medal only twice (in 1981 and 2006) and has won the team
title seven times, including five victories in a row (1994–2001).
From 1976 to 2000, they placed notable gymnasts such as Daniela
Silivaş, Lavinia Miloşovici, and
Simona Amânar on the Olympic
all-around podium at every Olympics, and have usually done the same
for the individual events at the World Championships through 2015,
producing World all-around champions
Aurelia Dobre and Maria Olaru.
The Romanian men's program, while less successful, is still maturing
and producing individual medalists such as
Marian Drăgulescu and
Marius Urzică at World and Olympic competitions, and they have
started winning team medals as well. The Romanian women's team failed
to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics, but they may send one
Artistic gymnastics in the United States
United States: While isolated American gymnasts, including Kurt Thomas
and Cathy Rigby, won medals in World Championship meets in the 1970s,
United States team was largely considered a "second power" until
the mid- to late 1980s, when American gymnasts began medaling
consistently in major, fully attended competitions. In 1984, the
Olympic men's team won the gold. The team included Tim Daggett, Peter
Vidmar, Mitch Gaylord, Bart Conner, Scott Johnson, Jim Hartung, and
the team alternate Jim Mikus. Also in 1984,
Mary Lou Retton
Mary Lou Retton became the
first American Olympic all-around champion and won individual medals
as well. In 1991,
Kim Zmeskal became the first American world
all-around champion. At the 1992 Olympics, the American women won
their first team medal (bronze), as well as their highest all-around
ranking, a silver medal by Shannon Miller, in a fully attended Games.
In men's gymnastics,
Trent Dimas was able to capture the gold medal on
the horizontal bar. This was the second time that an American gymnast,
male or female, won a gold medal in an Olympics held outside the
United States. The U.S. women's team has become increasingly
successful in the modern era, with the 1996 Olympic team victory of
the Magnificent Seven in Atlanta, the 2003 Worlds team victory in
Anaheim, California, and multiple-medal hauls in both WAG and MAG at
the 2004 Olympics. At the
2012 Olympics and 2016 Olympics, the U.S.
won the team gold. The
United States has produced individual gymnasts
such as Olympic all-around champions
Carly Patterson (2004), Nastia
Gabby Douglas (2012), and
Simone Biles (2016), and
world all-around champions
Kim Zmeskal (1991),
Shannon Miller (1993,
Chellsie Memmel (2005),
Shawn Johnson (2007), Bridget Sloan
Jordyn Wieber (2011),
Simone Biles (2013, 2014, 2015), and
Morgan Hurd (2017). Of particular note is that at the 2005 World
Championships in Melbourne, American women won the gold and silver the
all-around and went 1-2 in every single event final except vault (in
which they placed third). They continue to be one of the most dominant
forces in the sport. The men's team has also matured, making the medal
podium at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics; they also made the podium
at the 2003 and 2011 World Championships. Paul Hamm, the most
successful U.S. male gymnast, became the first American to win the
world all-around title in 2003. He followed this up by winning the
gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games. 2010 world all-around bronze
Jonathan Horton captured the silver medal on the horizontal
bar at the 2008 Olympic Games, and Danell Leyva won the all-around
bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games, as well as two silver medals
(parallel bars and high bar) at the 2016 Olympics.
China has developed strong, successful programs in both WAG and MAG
over the past 25 years, earning both team and individual medals. The
Chinese men's team won the team gold at the 2000 Olympics, 2008
Olympics, and every team world championship since 1994, except in
2001, when they placed fifth. They have produced such individual
gymnasts as Olympic (and world) all-around champions Li Xiaoshuang
(1996) and Yang Wei (2008). The Chinese women's team won the team gold
medal at the 2006 World Championships and the 2008 Olympics, and has
produced individual gymnasts such as Olympic, world and World Cup
champions Mo Huilan, Kui Yuanyuan, Yang Bo, Ma Yanhong, Cheng Fei, Sui
Lu, Huang Huidan,
Yao Jinnan and Fan Yilin. Chinese female Olympic
individual gold medalists include Ma Yanhong, Lu Li, Liu Xuan, He
Kexin, and Deng Linlin. Though for many years considered a two-event
team (uneven bars and balance beam), they have developed and continue
to develop successful all-around gymnasts, such as Olympic all-around
bronze medalists, Liu Xuan, Zhang Nan and Yang Yilin. However, like
the former USSR, they have been plagued by some Western media reports
relating to their grueling and sometimes cruel training methods and
age falsification accusations.
Japan was largely dominant in MAG during the 1960s and 1970s, winning
every Olympic team title from 1960 through 1976 thanks to individual
gymnasts such as Olympic all-around champions
Sawao Kato and Yukio
Endo. Several innovations pioneered by Japanese gymnasts during this
era have remained in the sport, including the Tsukahara vault.
Japanese male gymnasts have re-emerged as a team to reckon with since
winning a team gold at the 2004 Olympics. Six-time world champion and
Two-time Olympic All-around gold medalist
Kohei Uchimura is widely
considered to be the best all-around gymnast ever. The women have been
less successful, but there have been such standouts as Olympic and
world medalist Keiko Tanaka Ikeda, who competed in the 1950s and
1960s. There have also been some emerging talents in recent years
(such as Koko Tsurumi, Rie Tanaka, Yuka Tomita, Natsumi Saseda, and
Yuko Shintake) who may provide the women's team with talent worthy of
placing in the top three in the coming world competitions.
The German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, had an extremely
successful gymnastics program before the reunification of Germany.
Both the MAG and WAG teams frequently won silver or bronze team medals
at the World Championships and Olympics. Male gymnasts such as Andreas
Roland Brückner and female gymnasts such as Maxi Gnauck
Karin Janz contributed to their country's success. In spite of the
fact that they weren't as successful as East Germany, the Federal
Germany had international stars too, like Eberhard
Gienger, Willi Jaschek or Helmut Bantz. Since the reunification of
Germany, they have continued to have a measure of success with such
gymnasts as Fabian Hambüchen, Philipp Boy, and Marcel Nguyen, and the
former Soviet/Uzbek gymnast Oksana Chusovitina.
The Czechoslovakian women's team had a very long tradition of success
and was the chief threat to the dominance of the Soviet women's team
for decades. They won team medals at every World Championships and
Olympics from 1934 to 1970, with the exceptions of the 1950 Worlds and
1956 Olympics. Among their leaders were the first women's world
Vlasta Děkanová (1934, 1938) and Věra
Čáslavská, who won outright all five European, World and Olympic
all-around titles during an Olympic cycle from 1964 to 1968—a feat
never matched by any other gymnast, male or female. Čáslavská also
led her teammates to the world team title in 1966, making the
Czechoslovakians one of two national teams (
Romania being the other)
ever to defeat the Soviet women's team at a major competition.
Although their men were not as successful as a team, they were still
noteworthy and did produce 1907 world all-around champion Josef Cada,
who was a continuous presence at World Championships for years to
Eastern Bloc country whose women achieved notable results was
Hungary. Led by individuals such as 10-time Olympic medalist (with
five golds) Ágnes Keleti, their team medaled at the first four
Olympics with women's artistic gymnastics competitions (1936–1956),
as well as at the 1954 World Championships. Their women's program went
into a decline with minor occasional success, although much later,
during the late 1980s and early 1990s, world and Olympic Vault
Henrietta Ónodi put them back on the map. Their men never
had quite the same level of success as their women, although Zoltán
Magyar dominated the pommel horse event during the 1970s, winning
eight (of a possible nine) European, World and Olympic titles from
1973–1980. World and Olympic Rings champion Szilveszter Csollány
Hungary on the medal platform at major competitions for a
decade starting in the early 1990s. In more recent years, Krisztián
Berki has won World and Olympic titles on the Pommel Horse.
Several other nations were at one time or have become in recent years
serious contenders in both WAG and MAG. Part of the rise of the
success of various countries' programs in recent years is attributable
to the exodus of lots of talent from the
USSR and other former Eastern
Bloc countries. Korea, Canada, Spain, Greece, Australia, Brazil,
Italy and Great Britain, among other countries, have produced
World and Olympic medalists and have started winning team medals at
the European, World, and Olympic level.
Artistic gymnastics carries inherently high risk of spinal and other
List of current female artistic gymnasts
List of notable artistic gymnasts
Gymnastics Hall of Fame
List of Olympic medalists in gymnastics (men)
List of Olympic medalists in gymnastics (women)
Gymnastics terms named after people
^ "Sportivnaya gimnastika". Enciklopediya Krugosvet (in Russian).
Archived from the original on 2008-06-20. Retrieved April 11,
^ "Artistic Gymnastics — History". IOC. Retrieved April 11,
^ "Gymnastics". Encarta. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31.
Retrieved April 11, 2006.
^ "A History of Gymnastics: From Ancient
Greece to Modern Times
Scholastic". www.scholastic.com. Retrieved 2017-05-30.
^ "Within the International Federations" (PDF). Olympic Review (155):
520. September 1980. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 May 2006.
^ "Apparatus Norms". FIG. p. II/18. Archived from the original
(PDF) on 2011-12-19. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
^ Apparatus Norms, International
Gymnastics Federation, p.63.
^ "Q and A on the new Olympic qualification system in Gymnastics",
^ Mitchell, sarai. Missing or empty title= (help)
^ Judge Homepage of the German
Gymnastics Association (DTB). Deutscher
Turner-Bund e. V. http://www.kari-turnen.de. Retrieved
2016-10-07. Missing or empty title= (help)
^ Sands, William. "Stretching the Spines of Gymnasts: A Review".
PMC 4769315 . Missing or empty url= (help)
^ Kruse, David. "Spine Injuries in the Sport of Gymnastics"
Media related to
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Trampolining and Tumbling
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