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Interesting Gymnastics  Fun Facts:

The word ‘gymnastics' is derived from a Greek word ‘gymnos' which means ‘naked'.

In Ancient Greece most of the gymnastics competitions were done in the nude.

Vaults were not used in ancient gymnastics; instead they used bulls to jump over.

Gymnastics was officially established as a sport in 1862.

In the United States the first instruction in gymnastics was given at Mount Holyoke, in 1862.

Gymnastics were introduced at the 1896 Olympics.

The first Olympics competition for women was held in 1928.

In the Olympics there are eight different competitive events including the Floor Exercise, Vault, Pommel Horse, Rings, Parallel Bars, Horizontal Bar, Uneven Bars, and the Balance Beam.

In the Olympics only men can compete in the Rings, Parallel Bars, Horizontal Bars, and Pommel Horse.

In the Olympics only women can compete in the Balance Beam and Uneven Bars.

Both men and women can compete in the Floor Exercise and Vault competition in the Olympics.

Gymnasts use chalk to improve their grip, absorb sweat, and keep their hands dry.

The first woman to win the World Gymnastics Competition was Marcia Frederick.

16-year-old Mary Lou Retton won the 1984 Olympic gold medal in the Women's All-Around event. She had a perfect performance on the vault and was the very first American Olympic competitor to win that event.

​​​Max the Gymnast


RINGS, also called Still Rings: is when the gymnast completes swinging moves, handstands, strength moves, and a dismount on rings suspended approximately 9 ft. from the ground. This event requires a mix of strength and precise body control. Competition on the rings requires the most strength of any gymnastics event.

Rings are a gymnastics apparatus consisting of two small circles that are suspended by straps from an overhead support and grasped by the gymnast while performing various exercises.  

They were invented in the early 19th century by the German Friedrich Jahn, known as the father of gymnastics,  and have been a part of every Olympic Games since 1924. Originally called flying rings due to the swinging motions created as athletes performed, they became still rings in the 1960's. 

The rings have been part of the gymnastics program in the Olympic Games since its modern revival in 1896. 

 The most common  strength movements on the rings include the cross, or iron cross (holding the body vertical with the arms fully stretched sideways), and the lever (hanging with straight arms with the body stretched out horizontally). 

Competitive exercise on the rings must be performed with the rings in a stationary position (without swinging or pendulum movement of the rings). It combines swinging movements of the body, strength, and holding of positions. There must be at least two handstands in an exercise, one attained by strength and the other utilizing swing.

The still rings event is judged based on combinations of connected elements. The five element groups include kips and swings, swings to handstand, swings to holds, strength elements and dismounts.  

What is Floor Exercise? 

The floor exercise is one of gymnastics’ most versatile events. It’s an area for impressive tumbling and high-flying flips. This event  shows off the gymnast’s personality and expression.

About 2000 years ago, the Greeks invented gymnastics to train their military. The early gymnasts ran, wrestled, and practiced their jumping. As the sport evolved through the centuries and joined the Olympics, what is now the floor exercise was a place for group calisthenics.  By the early 1900s, an indoor floor space was eventually designated for this event.  For male gymnasts, it’s all about power. You won’t hear music or see dance in their routines. Strength moves take precedence over artistry. 

The floor exercise typically includes a carpet, a layer of foam, plywood, and springs. Standard floors are 40-feet wide by 40-feet long, with a white marking around the perimeter. Both male and female gymnasts compete on the floor exercise, which is one of the six possible events for men and one of four events for women.

Men’s routines include multiple flips and multiple twists per tumbling pass, forward and backward flips and  static strength moves. Additionally, tumbling passes down the side of the floor and skills that demonstrate flexibility, such as splits and handstands.

Female gymnasts perform routines choreographed to music that can be up to one minute and thirty seconds long.


Gymnastics can trace its roots all the way back to the ancient Greeks, and has been included in the Olympics since the first modern Games in 1896. Gymnastics is a sport, in which athletes (called gymnasts), perform acrobatic feats -- leaps, flips, turns and  handstands.

The formal definition of gymnastics, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is "a competitive sport in which individuals perform optional and prescribed acrobatic feats mostly on special apparatus in order to demonstrate strength, balance, and body control."

Men's Artistic Gymnastics builds strength and prepares the body for the challenges in life. Additionally, it  enhances co-ordination and agility, allowing the body to move like lightning.  It also develops posture and confident body movement, including the ability to land safely. Mens's gymnastics  challenges the mind and body to reach new goals and develops healthy minds and bodies for now and later life.

There are three types of gymnastics currently in the Olympics: artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and trampoline. Artistic gymnastics is the most commonly-known type. Men and women both compete, on equipment like the uneven bars, parallel bars, and rings.

Rhythmic gymnastics is probably the second best-known. In rhythmic, gymnasts all compete on the same floor mat, but use ribbons, ropes, hoops, and other equipment as part of their routine.
Trampoline was named an Olympic discipline of gymnastics for the 2000 Olympics. Gymnasts perform routines on a trampoline, completing flips on every single bounce

Women compete on  the vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise.  Men compete on floor , pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars, and high bar.