Artistic Gymnastics is one of the three disciplines of the sport of Gymnastics at the Olympic Games.

Did you know?

The word ‘Gymnastics’ comes from the Greek for ‘naked’ – early gymnasts used to perform without any clothes.
Gymnasts are usually among the youngest competitors at the Olympic Games, and some later reappear as divers, pole vaulters or aerial skiers in the Winter Games.
A ‘Perfect 10’ is no longer the top score in Gymnastics. Open-ended scoring was introduced in 2006 to make it easier to reward difficulty.
Shun Fujimoto competed with a broken leg to help Japan win Team gold at Montreal 1976.
The oldest Gymnastics medalist in Games history was Edith Seymour, 46 – a member of the UK’s bronze medal-winning team at the Amsterdam 1928 Games.
Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina has 18 Olympic medals – the most ever won in any sport.

Key facts

Venue: North Greenwich Arena
Dates: Saturday 28 July – Tuesday 7 August
Gold medals up for grabs: 14
Athletes: 196 (98 men, 98 women)

Artistic Gymnastics: a history of the sport

The grace, strength and skill of Olympic gymnasts have been amazing audiences ever since the ancient Games were first held in Greece.

In those days, people went to a ‘gymnasium’ to exercise their minds as well as their bodies, and to take part in cultural activities like philosophy and music.

The term ‘artistic gymnastics’ emerged in the early 1800s. It was used to distinguish free-flowing styles from techniques used in military training.

Gymnastic competitions began to flourish in schools and athletic clubs across Europe. Disciplines originally included club swinging, rock lifting and even swimming, which appeared in 1922.

Between 1896 and 1924 the sport evolved into what we recognise as modern gymnastics.

For more information on the history of the sport visit the IOC website.

Artistic Gymnastics at the Olympic Games

Gymnastics has featured in all of the modern Olympic Games, and is traditionally one of the most popular events with spectators around the world.

In the early days of Artistic Gymnastics at the Games, participants often had a background in ballet, and would reach their peak in their 20s.

Nadia Comaneci’s and Nellie Kim’s perfect scores of 10 at the 1976 Montreal Games, at the age of 14, heralded an era of younger champions, trained specifically in gymnastics from childhood.

Gymnasts must now be 16 to compete in the Olympic Games.

How the competition runs

Artistic Gymnastics is the oldest and best known of the Olympic disciplines. It is performed using apparatus.

Men compete in six events – Floor, Pommel Horse, Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars and High Bar.

Women compete in Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam and Floor.

Gymnasts perform short exercises with the aim of scoring as many points as possible according to the rules of the sport. Scores are awarded by two panels of judges who assess the difficulty and execution of each exercise.

There are separate competitions to find the best team, all-round gymnast and individual apparatus specialists at the Games.

Jargon buster

• Stick it: To complete a dynamic skill with no movement on landing.
• Pike: A position in which the body is bent at the hips, with the legs straight.
• Podium: A raised competition area in Artistic Gymnastics.
• Start value: The difficulty level of an exercise.
• Dismount: The final element in an exercise.

Get involved

If you’ve been inspired to start Gymnastics, you will probably be able to join a club or class at your local leisure centre. Visit British Gymnastics,Active Places and the International Gymnastics Federation.

Li Shanshan of China

~ by superbowlnyc on February 17, 2011.

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