The Grace and Power of Gymnastics: A Comprehensive Overview
History of Gymnastics in the Olympics
Gymnastics started as ancient civilizations doing strength and acrobatic exercises. The word gymnastics comes from the Greek words “gymnos” and “gymnazo” meaning roughly to train, to exercise naked.
Johann Christoph Friedrich Gutsmuths, a German teacher and educator, is considered the great grandfather of gymnastics. In 1793 he published a textbook which was later translated to English as “Gymnastics fitness for Youth: or a Practical Guide to Healthful and Amusing Exercises for the use of Schools”.
A fellow German, Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, is known as the father of gymnastics fitness. He was a member of the Prussian army in the early 1800s. After a battle in which the Prussian army was defeated, he came up with the idea of improving morale by developing physical and mental strength through gymnastics fitness. He opened the first Turnplatz, or open air gymnasium in 1811. Parallel Bars, rings and high bar were practiced at this gym.
Gymnastics Fitness Organizes Internationally
In 1881 gymnastics became an “organized sport” when the Bureau of the European Gymnastics Federation, which would later become the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG,) was formed. FIG is the current international gymnastics governing body. Gymnastics was becoming more popular and was included in the first “modern” Olympic Games in 1896. At this time, the gymnastics fitness events were different than they are today. In fact, they included some events that are currently part of Track and Field. Some of the events competed were men’s horizontal bar, parallel bars, pommel horse, rings, vault, high jumping, rope climbing and running. Track and Field events didn’t disappear from the sport of gymnastics until 1954. Women weren’t allowed to compete at Olympic gymnastic events until the 1920s.
1996 OLYMPICS AND THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
The 1996 US Olympic team was known as the Magnificent Seven. The seven members of the team were Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden and Jaycie Phelps. Both Dominique Moceanu and Kerri Strug trained under Károlyi.
Up to this time, the team competition at the Olympics had been dominated by the Russians and had never been won by the US. At the 1996 team competition, the US was competing against Russian, Romanian and Ukranian teams. Going into the final rotation the US had a .897 point lead over the Russian team. The US could win their first ever team gold medal as long as they didn’t collapse on their last event, Vault. The first four vaulters performed decent vaults, with the fifth vaulter Dominique Moceanu falling twice. The last vaulter was Kerri Strug. She performed her first vault, landed it, but in the process hurt her ankle. Strug needed to land a second vault to mathematically clinch the gold. She managed to perf
orm the second vault on her hurt ankle, stuck it, saluted the judges and almost immediately collapsed to her knees.
One of the most memorable and famous moments of the 1996 Olympics was Károlyi carrying Strug to the podium to accept her goal medal. She had become a national sports hero by performing on her hurt ankle to guarantee an American gold medal.
Bela Károlyi retired from coaching gymnastics fitness after the 1996 Olympics. However, that was not it for him and his wife’s influence on US gymnastics fitness history.
After the success of the US gymnastics team at the 1996 Olympic Games, USA gymnastics lost traction. The US left both the 1997 and 1999 World Championships without a single medal.
THE 2000 OLYMPICS AND THE AGE CONTROVERSY
At the 2000 Olympics, the Romanians and Russians continued their gymnastics fitness excellence, winning the team all around gold and silver, respectively. At the time, the Chinese placed third in the team competition. However, in 2000 they were stripped of their bronze medal and it was awarded to the US.
The Chinese were stripped of their medal because they lied about the age of one of the gymnasts on their team, Dong Fangxiao. Fangxiao was listed as 17 years old in 2000. It came out in 2010 that she had lied about her age in 2000 and she was actually 14 at the time.
When FIG first set an age requirement for the sport of gymnastics, the age was 14. But early gymnastics fitness champions were not that young; they were usually in their 20s. A Hungarian gymnast won gold medals at the 1956 Olympics at the age of 35. There were several early Soviet gymnasts winning medals throughout their 20s. However, by the 1970s the age of gymnasts was decreasing. Younger gymnasts were more competitive against their older counter parts.
As the sport advanced in difficulty, there were concerns about the demands and effects of intense competitive gymnastics fitness on young gymnasts. So in 1980, FIG raised the minimum age for gymnasts to compete in the Olympics from 14 to 15, and then in 1997 they raised it again from 15 to 16.
So the current rule for the minimum age that a gymnast can compete in the Olympics is that the gymnast must be at least 16 years or age or turning 16 within the calendar year to compete. This age rule applies to all senior-level events. Gymnasts have to prove their age with a valid passport issued by their country of residence.
Some argue that the age rule is no good for two reasons — that it keeps good gymnasts out of the sport, and that it is easy for countries to falsify gymnasts’ age.
After it was discovered that Dong Fangxiao had lied about her age, in 2010 the Chinese were stripped of their 2000 team bronze medal by the International Olympic Committee.
CARLY PATTERSON WINS THE GOLD & SETS A TREND FOR THE US
Carly Patterson started a wonderful trend for the US at the 2004 Olympics by winning the all-around gold medal. Since the 2004 Olympic games, the US has continued to win every woman’s all-around gold, with Nastia Liukin in 2008 and Gabby Douglas in 2012.
Carly Patterson was the second American woman to win the all-around gold, but her milestone was even more significant because she was the first ever to win the Olympic all-around title in a non-boycotted Olympic Games. Mary Lou Retton was the first ever American woman to do so at the 1984 Olympics, but those games were boycotted by the Soviet Union. So Retton did not face the stiff competition from the Soviet gymnasts.
The following year at the 2008 Olympics, Nastia Liukin won the individual all-around gold, with her fellow American teammate Shawn Johnson taking the silver.
2012 OLYMPICS AND THE FIERCE FIVE
In 2012 the women’s Gymnastics fitness team won the second ever gold medal in the team competition for the United States. The five members of the gymnastics fitness team, the “Fab Five” or the “Fierce Five” as they were nicknamed, were Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber. Gabby Douglas also won the women’s all around gold medal, continuing the trend Carly Patterson set in 2004.
2016 OLYMPIC GAMES AND THE FINAL FIVE
The US Women’s Team won gold all-around at the 2016 Olympic Games. who both gave incredible performances and finished first and second all-around, respectively. The team called themselves the Final Five, referring to the impending retirement of Martha Károlyi.
Basic Gymnastics Fitness Moves
Now, we are going to study the basic Gymnastics Fitness movements, and the list is
- Forward roll
- Handspring on vault
- Back handspring
- Round off
- Turn on one foot
- Split leap
- Tap swing on bars
Training and Preparation
Many gymnastic-specific exercises such as press handstands, core exercises, pull-ups, rope climbs, leg lifts, ply metrics, body tension exercises, shaping drills, and others are essential in training. These are basic training for a gymnast if we want to become a good gymnast shortly.
Gymnastics Fitness Competitions
Now we are going to discuss the most famous gymnastic Fitness competitions in the world in which a gymnast can take part, and the list is
Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships (1974–)
FIG World Age Group Competitions (2001–)
FIG World Cup series (2001–)
World Games (1993–)
Youth Olympic Games (2018–)
Asian Gymnastics Championships (1992–)
European Acrobatics Championships (1978–)
Pan American Gymnastics Championships (2015–)
WOGA Classic (1994–)
Now we are going to discuss the best female gymnast till now, and the list of their name is
- Simone Biles United States 2013 19 3 3 25 
- Svetlana Khorkina Russia 1994–2003 9 8 3 20 
- Gina Gogean Romania 1993–1997 9 2 4 15 
- Larisa Latynina Soviet Union1954–66 9 4 1 14 
- Lavinia Miloșovici Romania 1991–1996 5 3 5 13 
- Aliya Mustafina Russia 2010–2018 3 4 5 12
- Ludmilla Tourischeva Soviet Union1970–74 7 2 2 11 
- Nellie Kim Soviet Union1974–79 5 4 2 11 
- Yelena Shushunova Soviet Union1985–87 5 4 2 11 
The Physical Benefits of Gymnastics
Now, we are going to discuss the physical benefits of gymnastics. A gymnast can never become lazy because it becomes their habit to work hard, and their body is also in shape almost until death. That is why they are peak human beings because they are hard working. The health benefit of gymnastics fitness is it can increase your flexibility, with which you can be safe in every situation. It also improves your bone health because by doing this, your bones become strong and healthy, which decreases the probability of the breakdown of your bones. It helps to increase your strength, which is helpful in virtually every situation. It also allows you to prevent disease. We can see in our daily lives the people who gymnastics fitness stay healthy till their death.
On the other hand, the people who do not do gymnastics fitness catch up with some diseases. It helps you to build a personal Discipline. It also allows you to develop excellent coordination with people, which helps you in virtually every field of life. It also enables you to build a great focus, which will also help you in your personal and professional life and your studies. It is very beneficial.
The Future of Gymnastics
In the field of gymnastics, there are many things in the future that are going to change, and some of them are Culture Change in Gymnastics fitness, Following Science and Innovations in Gymnastics, AI and Gymnastics, Virtual Competitions, Software for Gymnastics Clubs. Gymnastics fitness is also financially a good field in which a gymnast
Professional Gymnast Salary
Annual Salary Monthly Pay
Top Earners $63,000 $5,250
75th Percentile $48,000 $4,000
Average $34,275 $2,856
25th Percentile $20,000 $1,666
Five Components of Fitness in Gymnastics
- Body Composition. Body composition, a necessary fitness component of gymnastics, is the association between fat, muscle and bone within the body.
- Muscular Strength.
- Muscular Endurance.
- Cardiorespiratory Endurance.
To sum up, gymnastics fitness is a great Sport which helps you to grow both mentally and physically and helps you to earn a living and make your life better and helps you to become a healthy human and helps you mentally to fight depression and anxiety and helps you to make your life good then anyone else and make your focus strong and teaches you the best lesson like hard work is the key. Without hard work, a person can never become a good person.