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  1. Home
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  3. List of Gymnastics Facts

List of Gymnastics Facts

list of gymnastics facts

Gymnastics has been around for thousands of years as a sport and a form of exercise. It started in Greece before being recreated in Germany. The sport has many rules and a rich history; let's learn some key facts about gymnasts below.

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Table of Contents

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History Facts

  • Ancient Greeks used gymnastics as a way to prepare for war.
  • The first modern Olympic gymnastics competition was in 1896. Women's gymnastics was not competed until 1928.
  • Gymnasts have to be at least 16 to compete in the Olympic games.
  • Until the 1950's, Olympic gymnastics consisted of events such as rope climbing, high jumping, running, and horizontal ladder.
  • There are several different kinds of gymnastics. These include: artistic, rhythmic, acrobatic, trampoline, tumbling, and aerobic gymnastics.
  • Rhythmic gymnastics became an official sport at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.
  • Trampoline was competed for the first time as a separate event in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
  • Parkour is considered to be a part of gymnastics, with the first World Championship taking place in 2018.
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Scoring Facts

  • In 2006, the International Gymnastics Federation changed the way routines were scored. Instead of being out of 10, there are now two different scores; execution and difficulty. These scores add together to form final scores in the teens. This did away with the famous "perfect 10" in elite gymnastics.
  • Women's college gymnastics still uses the "perfect 10" model, while college men's gymnastics uses the same scoring model as elite gymnastics.
  • In difficulty scores, gymnasts are scored on how difficult the skills are that they are competing, and if they manage to connect those skills to one another.
  • For execution scores, gymnasts are scored on how well they execute their skills. They lose points for mistakes in artistry and technique.
  • With the new scoring system, the record for the highest score belongs to Nastia Liukin and He Kexin who both scored at 16.724 on uneven bars in 2008.
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Facts About Gymnasts

  • The first ever perfect score in elite gymnastics was achieved by Nadia Comaneci during the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
  • Mary Lou Retton was the first United States gymnast to get two perfect scores. She gained them during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
  • The most decorated American gymnast is Simone Biles, with 30 medals World Champion and Olympic medals as of 2020.
  • The most decorated Olympic gymnast is Larisa Latynina, with a combined 32 medals during her career.
  • Gabby Douglas was the first African American gymnast to win the Olympic all-around event.
  • The Soviet Union won a total 184 medals in gymnastics starting in 1896. The second ranked nation is the United States with 101 medals as of 2020.
  • The first American gymnast to become a world champion was Kurt Thomas when he won the floor exercise in 1978.
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Fun Facts

  • In ancient gymnastics, they used to vault over bulls instead of a vaulting table.
  • In ancient Greece, gymnastics events were done in the nude!
  • Most professional gymnasts started their careers between the ages of 2 and five and have been practicing ever since.
  • In 2012, the average age of male gymnasts in the Olympics was 21.5, while the average age of female gymnasts was 17.
  • Professional gymnasts spend up to 20-30 hours or more in the gym a week practicing!
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Facts For Kids

  • Gymnastics is one of the first Olympic sports!
  • Gymnastics is now a part of the Summer Olympics which are held every four years.
  • There are eight different events in artistic gymnastics: Vault, Uneven Bars, Parallel Bars, Horizontal Bar, Rings, Pommel Horse, Floor Exercise, and Balance Beam.
  • Gymnasts use chalk to protect their hands and help them perform on certain events; that's why they always have powder all over their hands, feet, and legs.
  • Female gymnasts wear leotards when they compete; during individual competitions they can wear whatever color they want, and during team competitions teammates will wear matching leotards to represent their nation.
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