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A sport requiring both strength and flexibility.
Gymnastics is a sport involving the performance of sequences of movements requiring physical strength, flexibility, and kinesthetic awareness, such as handsprings and handstands. It developed from fitness exercises used by ancient Greek soldiers, including skills for mounting and dismounting a horse, and circus performance skills. It is often considered a dangerous sport, as the difficult acrobatic maneuvers often performed on equipment high above the ground puts the athlete at risk of serious injury.
Modern gymnastics, as regulated by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique incorporates six distinct disciplines:
*Artistic gymnastics (further classified as Men's Artistic Gymnastics and Women's Artistic Gymnastics)
Of these disciplines, the two sub-disciplines of "artistic" and "rhythmic" gymnastics are the best known, having been part of Summer Olympic Games competitions. "Individual Trampoline" has been included in the Summer Olympics since 2000.
The discipline of rhythmic gymnastics is competed only by women (although there is a new version of this discipline for men being pioneered in Japan, see Men's rhythmic gymnastics), and involves the performance of five separate routines with the use of five apparatus - ball, ribbon, hoop, clubs, rope - on a floor area, with a much greater emphasis on the aesthetic rather than the acrobatic. Rhythmic routines are scored out of a possible 20 points.
Sports aerobics involves the performance of routines by individuals or pairs, emphasizing strength, flexibility, and aerobic fitness rather than acrobatic or balance skills. Routines are performed on a small floor area and generally last 60-90 seconds, being judged out of a total of 10 points.
Trampolining consists of four events, individual, synchronized, double mini trampoline and power tumbling. Only individual trampoline is included in the Olympics. Individual routines involve a build-up phase during which the gymnast jumps repeatedly to achieve height, followed by a sequence of ten leaps without pauses during which the gymnast performs a sequence of aerial tumbling skills. Routines are marked out of a maximum score of 10 points. Additional points (with no maximum) can be earned depending on the difficulty of the moves. Synchronized trampoline is similar except that both competitors must perform the routine together and marks are awarded for synchronicity. Double mini trampoline involves a smaller trampoline with a run-up, two moves are performed and the scores marked in a similar manner to individual trampoline. Tumbling involves a sprung track, athletes must perform a succession of tumbling moves and are marked on difficulty and execution.
General gymnastics, sometimes called group gymnastics, enables people of all ages and abilities to participate in performance troupes of 6 to more than 150 athletes. They perform synchronized, choreographed routines. Troupes may be all one gender or mixed. There are no age divisions in general gymnastics. The largest general gymnastics exhibition is the quadrennial World Gymnaestrada which was first held in 1939.
Artistic Gymnastics is usually divided into Men's (MAG) and Women's Gymnastics (WAG), each group doing different events; Men compete on Vault, Parallel Bars, the Pommel Horse, the Rings, the High Bar, and on the Floor, while women compete on Floor, Uneven Bars, Vault, and Beam. Though routines performed on each event may be short, they are physically exhausting and push the gymnast's strength, flexibility, endurance, and awareness to the limit.
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