I'ts fun. And it's one of the best activities around for contributing
to a person's overall development. Flexibility, strength and
coordination grow in leaps and bounds. So does confidence, creativity,
and self-esteem. And with disciplines as diverse as artistic
gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, tumbling, trampoline and sport
aerobics – there's something for everybody!
Recreational gymnastics is a sport for everyone. It allows participants
to explore various forms of movement in a fun and creative way.
And because general gymnastics is non-competitive, it's not
the winning, but taking part that provides so much pleasure
for so many participants. It's also a wonderful 'foundation
sport', because it provides a strong basis for participation
and success in other sports.
“Fun Fact: Canadian Silken Laumann credits her participation
in gymnastics as a child with giving her the confidence and
self-discipline to become a World Champion rower.”
The most popular discipline in the gymnastics family, men's
and women's artistic gymnastics beautifully combines creativity
with technical skill. At the competitive women's level, four
events are central to this discipline. Vault Vaulting requires
tremendous speed and strength down the runway.
Uneven Bars Strength, precision, coordination – even courage
are required. Balance Beam Leaps, turns and flips are performed
on a 10 cm wide stage! Floor Exercise Gravity-challenging tumbling
– to musical accompaniment. Men's Artistic Gymnastics
is made up of six demanding apparatus, including floor exercise
and vault. Pommel Horse Superhuman strength and amazing coordination
are key. Still Rings Handstands, multiple flips and twists without
moving the rings. Parallel Bars This event is all about strength
and flexibility. Horizontal Bars The dismount involves twisting
or somersaults and is always cool to watch.
“Fast Factoid: Men's Artistic Gymnastics has been called
the original extreme sport because it pushes the body to the
edge of its biomechanical possibilities.”
Rhythmic gymnastics just might be the most beautiful of all
competitive sports. Female competitors use small pieces of hand
apparatus – rope, hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon as an extension
of their bodies. Routines are always accompanied by music.
Group Competition Five athletes work as one in the group competition.
Using one of the hand apparatus, or a combination of two, such
as ribbons and hoops, they perform intricate compositions involving
high-flying throws. Working as a harmonious unit, the results
are usually breathtaking.
Some people ask, is rhythmic gymnastics dance? Is it art? Is
it sport? It is actually a combination of all three worlds,
which is perfect for a sport that focuses on self-expression.
In 1984, rhythmic gymnastics achieved full Olympic status at
the games in Los Angeles.
“Fun Fact: The first-ever Olympic Gold Medal in rhythmic
gymnastics was won by Canada's Lori Fung.”
Trampoline and Tumbling
Trampoline is the newest Olympic sport. It requires super leg
strength, endurance and phenomenal air sense. It actually helps
to have some ‘daredevil' in you when you're flying through
the air performing somersaults and twists with grace and agility.
Synchronized Trampoline In this variation on the sport, two
competitors perform the same routine at the same time on two
separate trampolines, as a mirror image of each other.
“Fun Fact: The best trampolinists in the world jump over
30 feet straight up in the air.”
Tumbling combines the excitement of artistic gymnastics with
the technical skills of trampoline. Tumblers perform on a special
tumbling strip with a built-in 'spring' that acts like a launching
pad. The athletes can propel themselves high in the air and
perform breathtaking aerial moves such as triple twisting double
saltos and full twisting triple backs – you have to see
it to believe it!
“Fun Fact: The incredible pace and gravity-defying acrobatics
make tumbling one of the most enjoyable disciplines to experience.”
Also known as competitive aerobics, this event combines aerobic
choreography with elements of gymnastics. Sports aerobics appeals
to dancers, fitness enthusiasts and gymnasts alike.
Competition Athletes perform a two-minute floor routine accompanied
by music. The routine must demonstrate elements of dynamic and
static strength, flexibility, balance and the ability to perform
high-flying jumps. Competitors must also include combinations
from the list of seven basic aerobic steps: knee lift, kick,
jacks, lunge, march, jog and skip.
Performance Athletes perform as individuals, mixed pairs, trios
or as a group of six. Crowd-pleasing elements like creativity
and expression are an important element of performance. What
really gets the crowd pumped is the intricate 'lifts' performed
in the pairs, trio and group competitions.
“Fun Fact: In sports aerobics, judges evaluate each athlete
on their ability to combine perfectly executed elements of difficulty
with artistic flair.”