History of the sport

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History of the sport

Glasgow World Cup Gymnastics

The history of Gymnastics

Gymnastics can be considered one of the original Olympic sports. It’s origins can be traced back to the ancient Olympic Games where competitors performed a variety of disciplines that in retrospect could be broadly considered ‘gymnastics’. 

The modern sport of gymnastics originated in 19th century Europe when two styles competed: a Swedish system based primarily around freestyle group exercises and the German apparatus-based approach. The latter becoming the general format adopted by the time of first modern Olympic gymnastics event in Athens. 

The evolution of Artistic Gymnastics 

For the Athens Games, routines on six separate apparatus were performed on the high bar, parallel bars, pommel horse, rings, vault and rope climbing.

a challenge of strength, agility, grace & artistry.


Unsurprisingly German entrants took home the majority of the unique Gold, Silvergold and silver medals (no bronze

back then!). As with many sports in the inaugural Games, many of the gymnasts competed in other sports such as athletics and wrestling

Thoughout subsequent Olympic competitions the format, number of apparatus and the number of gymnasts per team evolved until the 1952 Helsinki Games. Here the format of the Artistic Gymnastics discipline was fixed and also represented the first appearance of women in the individual 4 apparatus programme. 


Changes were gradually made at each Olympic competition: - to the number of apparatus used, to the number of gymnasts per team and to the quality of the routines. However, the era of discipline-specific Gymnastics was fixed in 1952 at Helsinki. 

The ‘Queen’ of Gymnastics 

Today the Artistic Gymnastics competitions sees men and women compete separately in a challenge of power, strength, agility, flexibility, grace and artistry. Men compete on six apparatus across the floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar. Women compete on four apparatus: vault, uneven bars, beam and floor.

Artistic Gymnastics is widely considered the 'Queen' of competitive gymnastic disciplines, alongside Rhythmic Gymnastics, Trampoline Gymnastics, Aerobic Gymnastics and Acrobatic Gymnastics.

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