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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.