Enrolling in gymnastics classes is not just for children who are Olympic hopefuls. In fact, gymnastics is a unique and fun way for all children to remain active.
Gymnastics can be fun for parents as well. Imagine the excitement you will feel as you watch your child walk on the balance beam or perform a cartwheel. Here 8 fun facts about gymnastics that you may not know.
1. The Perfect 10 Has Been Eliminated
In 1976, 14-year old Nadia Comaneci captivated the world when she earned 3 perfect 10 scores at the Olympic Games. Since that time, Olympic gymnasts had only one goal in mind – to achieve a perfect 10. The scoring model was changed in 2006. Now Olympic competitors can only get a perfect 10 in their dreams.
2. Gymnastics Has a Rich History
Gymnastics is one of the oldest recorded sports. Ancient Greek competitors first practiced gymnastics over 2,000 years ago. The largest gymnastics competition was held at the 1896 Olympics. Since that time, millions of people have grown to love the sport.
3. Professional Gymnasts Begin Their Careers Early
Mastering the art of gymnastics takes years of dedicated practice. Many professional gymnasts began practicing the sport at the tender age of 3. The interesting thing is it takes males much longer to peak in the sport. Female gymnasts achieve mastery by the age of 14 until 18 years old. Male gymnasts master the sport in their late teens until their early 20s.
4. Male and Female Gymnastics Routines Are Different
From the events to the focus, men’s and women’s gymnastics are not the same. Women’s gymnastics focuses on artistry and strength; while men’s gymnastics focuses on strength and power. The women’s competition includes balance beam and uneven bars. The men’s competitions includes pommel horse, still rings, parallel bars and high horse. Vault and floor exercises are the only shared events.
5. The Pommel Horse Was Used to Prepare for War
The pommel horse was used centuries ago to prepare soldiers for battle. This stationary equipment helped men learn to mount and dismount a horse quickly. It is believed that Alexander the Great used a pommel horse.
6. Gymnastics Was Originally a Nude Sport
It may be hard to imagine gymnastics routines being performed in the buff, but that is how it was originally performed. The term ‘gymnastics’ originated from ‘gymnos’ which means naked. The first gymnastics competition in Ancient Greece consisted of nude competitors.
7. Practicing Gymnastics Offers Many Advantages
Gymnastics is a mental discipline as well as a physical discipline. Children who compete in gymnastics have a better body image and higher self-esteem. They develop a ‘can do’ attitude. Physical benefits include strength, coordination, agility, fitness and posture.
8. Leotards Originated in France
The leotard that is used by women in competitions is named after Jules Leotard. He was an acrobatic trapeze artist who wore the form-fitting costume during his performances in 1859. Although the uniform was popularized by him, he is not the inventor.
Women Excel in the Sport
Gymnastics began as a male-dominated sport. Throughout the years, female gymnasts have become the most famous competitors. Shannon Miller is a top gymnast who has won 2 gold medals, 2 silver medals and 3 bronze medals. The 1996 Olympics women’s team is called ‘The Magnificent 7’. They are the first United States women’s Olympic team to win the gold medal in gymnastics. Nadia Comaneci was a top gymnast who was so inspirational that ‘Nadia’s Theme’ was named after her.
Gymnastics is more than a sport; it is a practice of awareness, self-control and discipline for children of all ages, which is what we focus on at Integrity Gymnastics.
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