Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Rio Olympic 2016- Artistic Gymnastics

Rio Olympic 2016- Artistic Gymnastics:

Artistic Gymnastics  is a discipline of gymnastics Where gymnasts perform short routines (ranging from approximately 30 to 90 seconds) on different apparatus, with less time for vaulting. 
The gymnastic system was mentioned in works by ancient authors, such as Homer, Aristotle and Plato. It included many disciplines, which would later become separate sports: swimming, race, wrestling, boxing, riding, etc. and was also used for military training. In its present form gymnastics evolved in Germany and Bohemia in the beginning of the 19th century, and the term "artistic gymnastics" was introduced at the same time to distinguish free styles from the ones used by the military. A German educator Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, who was known as the father of gymnastics,invented several apparatus, including the horizontal bar and parallel bars which are used to this day. Two of the first gymnastics clubs were Turnvereins and Sokols.

In 1881 the International Gymnastics Federation was founded and remains the governing body of international gymnastics since then. It included only three countries and was called European Gymnastics Federation until 1921, when the first non-European countries joined the federation, and it was reorganized into its present form. Gymnastics was included into the program of the 1896 Summer Olympics, but women were allowed to participate in the Olympics only since 1928. World Championships, held since 1903 also remained for men only until 1934. Since that time two branches of artistic gymnastics have been developing—WAG and MAG—which, unlike men's and women's branches of many other sports, are much different in apparatus used at the major competitions, in techniques and concerns.

It all started …

…. as, little by little, man managed to free himself from the mundane constraints of his daily routine and devote a small amount of his time to other pursuits, above and beyond those required for his basic survival.The concept of leisure had not yet become firmly established, but there was already a growing realisation that spiritual well-being could be derived from recreation and, equally, that physical well-being could be achieved through physical exercise. As Roman poet Juvenal put it: "mens sana in corpore sano"; in other words, "in a healthy body, a sound mind."This concept was further developed in the works of Rabelais, Montaigne, Voltaire, Pestalozziand, of course, Rousseau, whose philosophical treatise entitled Emile, or On Education explores the nature of human development and extols the virtues of getting closer to nature as a means of achieving well-being in body and mind. It was not only the philosophers and the thinkers who saw the merits of physical exercise; for the military, it became an invaluable tool for training troops.Among the early pioneers of the gymnastics movement, one name worth mentioning is that of German Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852), who was the first to lay down foundations and a set of rules for group-based exercise. Thus it was that the principles of organised gymnastics were born. Indeed, Jahn is still regarded as the founding father of our sport.Long before the FIG was established in 1881, various countries had formed their own national gymnastics federations. The first to do so was Switzerland in 1832, followed by Germany (1860),Belgium (1865), Poland (1867), Italy (1869) and France (1873). In 1880, with the Industrial Revolution in full swing in Great Britain, the concept of group gymnastics began to take shape among the working classes as a reaction to the stress and tedium of the production lines. Hence, gymnastics assumed a social significance, serving as a catalyst for integration and also female emancipation.In 1881, the Belgian Nicolas J. Cupérus founded a movement based on his vision for gymnastics, and in doing so wrote the first pages in the history of the FIG. An idealist by nature, Cupérus eschewed all forms of competition, focusing instead on a gymnastics that was essentially recreational, instructional, and accessible to all. His successor, Frenchman Charles Cazalet, had a different outlook, and organised the first ever international tournaments, thus giving birth to competitive artistic gymnastics.The first ever gymnastics World Championships took place in 1903, in Cupérus’ home town of Antwerp (BEL), an irony that would not have been lost on the FIG founder, given his staunch opposition to all forms of competition.

The Modern Era :

The 1903 World Championships, which ended in triumph for France, were a strictly men-only affair. The FIG proved itself to be extremely conservative in this regard, and it was not until 1934 that it sanctioned the participation of women in its competitions. The International Olympic Committee showed itself to be more progressive, inviting female gymnasts to take part in the Olympic Games for the first time in 1928.Thereafter gymnastics, and in particular the disciplines of men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics, started to become more structured. The year 1932 saw the first meeting of the International Technical Committee, which in 1947 became the Technical Assembly. Then in 1949, future FIG President Arthur Gander (SUI) penned the first Code de Points for men’s gymnastics. It was all of 12 pages long; the 2013 equivalent runs to 164!Initially limited to the floor exercise, artistic gymnastics gradually began introducing new pieces of equipment. The Pommel Horse was one of the first of the new apparatus to be incorporated. The Horizontal Bar, theParallel Bars and the Rings were added to the competition programme soon after. Other pieces of apparatus and competitions were phased out or integrated into other disciplines. The long jump and the high jump, for example, were both included as separate events in the athletics programme at the inaugural Olympic Games in 1896.At the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki (FIN), artistic gymnastics adopted the format we know today, comprising six pieces of apparatus for the men and four for the women. Since then, there has only been one further significant modification to the format, with the new vaulting table replacing the old vaulting horse at the 2001 World Championships in Ghent (BEL).The 1936 Olympic Games marked a turning point in the development of gymnastics insofar as it abandoned its focus on shows of physical prowess and synchronised group routines mainly comprised of European athletes. Instead, it gave centre stage to individual gymnasts, with the performances of Alfred Schwarzmann (GER) and Eugen Mack (SUI) stealing the show.The 1952 Games heralded a revolution in gymnastics. The USSR stunned the world with their "scientific" school of gymnastics, with Viktor ChukarinHrant Shahinyan and Larisa Latyninasweeping away all of their rivals.In 1960 and 1964 it was Japan’s turn to dominate, with Takashi Ono and Yukio Endoovershadowing a pair of fabulous Soviet gymnasts, Boris Chaklin and future FIG President Yuri TitovArtistic gymnastics has always had its icons, athletes whose names are permanently etched into the history of their disciplines. They include, of course, that elite band of stars who have achieved the holy grail for artistic gymnasts: a perfect 10 in Olympic competition. These stars include Nadia Comaneci(ROU), Nellie Kim (URS) and Alexander Dityatin (URS).As Comaneci, Kim and Dityatin were thrilling audiences around the world during the 1970s, artistic gymnastics was firmly establishing itself on the international sporting map. It has continued to enjoy spectacular progress, to the extent that at the 2012 Olympics in London, artistic gymnastics was the second most watched event, and possesses a global popularity alongside the likes of swimming, basketball and football.

Competition Style:

Currently, in Olympic or World Championships competition, the meet is divided into several sessions which occur on different days: team qualifying, team finals, all-around finals and event finals.During the team qualifying (abbreviated TQ) round, gymnasts compete with their national squad on all four (WAG) or six (MAG) apparatus. The scores from this session are not used to award medals, but are used to determine which teams advance to the team finals and which individual gymnasts advance to the all-around and event finals. The current format of this session is 5-4-3, meaning that there are five gymnasts on the team, four compete on each event, and three of the scores count.In the team finals (abbreviated TF), gymnasts compete with their national squad on all four/six apparatus. The scores from the session are used to determine the medalists of the team competition. The current format is 5-3-3, meaning that there are five gymnasts on the team, three compete on each event, and all three scores count.In the all-around finals (abbreviated AA), the gymnasts are individual competitors and perform on all four/six apparatus. Their scores from all four/six events are added together and the gymnasts with the three highest totals are awarded all-around medals. Only two gymnasts from each country may advance to the all-around finals.In the event finals (abbreviated EF) or apparatus finals, the top eight gymnasts on each event compete for medals. Only two gymnasts from each country may advance to each EF.Other competitions are not bound by these rules, and may use other formats. For instance, the 2007 Pan American Games had only one day of team competition on a 6-5-4 format, and allowed three athletes from each country to advance to the all-around. In other meets, such as those on the World Cup circuit, the team event is not contested at all.

Competition Levels 

Artistic gymnasts compete only with other gymnasts in their level or grade. Gymnasts start at the lowest level of competition and advance to higher levels or grades by learning gymnastics skills and achieving qualifying scores at meets.In America, levels range from 1 to 10, then junior elite and senior elite. Elite, especially senior elite is considered Olympic level, and these gymnasts generally perform routines designed to meet the FIG's international Code of Points. Levels 1–3 are usually considered recreational, or beginner; 4–7 intermediate, and 8–Elite advanced. Competitions begin at level 4 and in some gyms, level 3. A gymnast must have specific skills for each event in order to advance to the next level and once a gymnast has competed in a Sectional meet, they may not drop back to a lower level in the same competitive season. Levels 1–3 are basic skills, such as handstands, cartwheels, etc. 4–6 are compulsory levels, and 7 is an in-between level, with strict requirements but still allowing the gymnast to add in their own creativity.In the UK, the levels system goes from 5 (lowest) to 2; there are also two tracks for Elite and Club level competition. In Canada there are several different competitive streams: Recreational, Developmental, Pre-Competitive, Provincial, National and High Performance. Provincial levels range from 5 (lowest) to 1; National levels are Pre-Novice, Novice, Open, and High Performance. High Performance levels are Novice, Junior and Senior.

Age Limits :

Over the course of time, the age limit for participation at a world championship has been moved up. Today, the limit sits at 18 for Men and 16 for the Women Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics, 17 for Trampoline (18 for the Olympic Games), 18 for Aerobic, and 15 for Acrobatic Gymnastics (the minimum age for flier).The minimum age is designed to protect gymnasts. High level gymnastics practised too early on can be hazardous to the health of a gymnast.

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