Gymnastics


Gymnastics is a competitive sport that tests an athlete's strength, rhythm, balance, flexibility, and agility. There are two forms of competitive gymnastics, artistic gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics. Artistic gymnastics consists of prescribed sets of events, each of which is scored separately by judges to determine a winner. In rhythmic gymnastics the gymnasts use different forms of hand apparatus to perform choreographed movements, which are judged to determine a winner.
In artistic gymnastics, men compete in six events. The floor exercise is a routine of dancetype movements with acrobatic skills, performed on a mat without apparatus. The pommel horse routine is performed on a leather-covered apparatus with two pommels, or handles, in the centre. The athlete uses only his hands for support to execute a series of continuous swinging and circular motions with the torso and legs. During the rings routine the gymnast combines static positions with rapid movements while grasping parallel rings hanging above the floor mat. The vault is performed on an apparatus, known as a horse, that has no pommels. The gymnast runs toward the horse lengthwise, takes off from a springboard, places both hands on the surface of the horse, and completes an acrobatic airborne manoeuvre before landing. On the parallel bars the gymnast completes a series of swinging, balancing, and airborne moves on two flexible parallel rails. The horizontal bar routine is performed on a single steel bar suspended above the floor mat. The gymnast performs continuous swinging motions around the bar with frequent changes in direction and grip.
Women compete in four events. The vault is the same as in the men's event, except that the horse is lower and is approached from its side. The uneven bars routine is performed on a set of two flexible bars set at different heights. The routine demands continuous swinging, releasing, and changing of direction over, under, and between the bars, with a mount and dismount. The balance beam routine is performed on a single beam 10 cm (4 in) wide, 5 m (16.4 ft) long, and 1.2 m (3.9 ft) off the ground. The gymnast performs continuous tumbling moves, turns, jumps, and leaps. The floor exercise is a routine performed to music on a floor mat.
In rhythmic gymnastics competitors compete on a square mat using rope, a hoop, a ball, clubs, and a ribbon (in separate events). They perform choreographed movements set to music and are judged on composition, or the difficulty of the routine, and execution, or how well it is completed. The goal is to work harmoniously with the equipment to perform a graceful and errorless routine.

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