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Tuesday, 02 January 2007 00:58

Artistic Gymnastics - History

Female athlete on beam
Artistic gymnastics developed in the early 1800s from the techniques used by the military

The roots of modern day gymnastics can by found as far back as 4,000 years ago when acrobats performed in ancient Egypt. Paintings and carvings show evidence of people building human pyramids and practising balancing acts.

Men and women of ancient Greece enjoyed bull-leaping, and gymnastics were part of the ancient Olympic Games.

The term "artistic gymnastics" emerged in the early 1800s to distinguish free-flowing styles from the techniques used by the military. Although viewed as a novelty by many, gymnastic competitions began to flourish across Europe in the 19th century.

In 1881, the International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG) was founded in Liege, Belgium, making it the oldest international sports federation. When the Olympic movement was resurrected at Athens in 1896, gymnastics made a fitting return.

The Olympic programme really took off in 1924, with men competing for individual medals and in team events on each apparatus. Four years later, women began competing in Olympic gymnastics at Amsterdam.

By 1952, the Soviet Union had become the leading force in Olympic gymnastics and since then the US and China, along with eastern European countries have all made their mark on the world stage.

Artistic gymnastics was first introduced to the Asian Games programme at the 7th Asian Games in Tehran, IR Iran in 1974.

 
 

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