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A Beginner’s Guide to Gymnastics

A Beginner's Guide to Gymnastics

What’s the difference between a gymnast and a circus acrobat? The gymnast doesn’t just want to dazzle the crowd – they also need to score maximum points. Jaw-dropping somersaults, fluid movements and dramatic shows of strength are performed with precision, professionalism and a desire to win Gold.

What It’s All About

The Gymnastics competition at Glasgow 2014 will be divided into two disciplines: Artistic and Rhythmic. Athletes can compete in both team and individual events.

Artistic gymnasts use fixed apparatus as a base for varied routines. Male athletes compete on six types of apparatus – Floor, Pommel Horse, Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars and Horizontal Bar. Female athletes will compete on four – Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam and Floor.

Rhythmic Gymnasts perform routines using small hand apparatus – hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon.

In both disciplines performances are rated by judging panels awarding points based on technical difficulty and execution. The gymnast or team with the highest score wins.

The 20 medal events at Glasgow 2014 include Team All-Around, Individual All-Around and Individual Apparatus.

Why You’ll Love It

Gymnastics pushes boundaries. Combining strength, flexibility and grace, gymnasts are daredevils with nerves of steel. It takes a special kind of athlete who has enough self-belief to launch themself into the air and trust that they’ll nail the perfect landing.

Gymnastics Pub Quiz Round

  • In the 1800s, the German gymnastics instructor Frederick Ludwig Khan first used stationary equipment to develop gymnastics into the format we recognise today.
  • Don’t expect to see gymnasts scoring a perfect 10. A rule change means that today’s gymnasts are given two separate scores for difficulty and execution which are then combined.
  • Scottish gymnasts have won four medals in the Commonwealth Games, three in Men’s Artistic Gymnastics and one in Rhythmic Gymnastics.

Gymnastics Jargon Bustor

  • All-around – competitions that feature a variety of different elements (six for men, four for women).
  • Giant – full rotation of the bar in a handstand position.
  • Manna – Using arms to support body weight while legs and hips are raised off the ground. Hips come over shoulders and legs are held parallel to the floor.

The Glasgow XX Commonwealth Games are now over. This website is closed and for reference purposes only. Some external links may no longer work. For the latest news and information, please visit the Commonwealth Games Federation website.