Gymnastics is a sport involving the performance of exercises requiring strength, flexibility, balance, agility, endurance and control. The movements involved in gymnastics contribute to the development of the arms, legs, shoulders, chest and abdomen muscle groups. Alertness, precision, daring, self-confidence and self-discipline are mental traits that can also be developed through gymnastics. Gymnastics evolved from exercises used by the ancient Greeks that included skills for mounting and dismounting a horse, and from circus performance skills.
Most forms of competitive gymnastics events are governed by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG). Each country has its own national governing body (BIW) affiliated to FIG. Competitive artistic gymnastics is the best known of the gymnastic events. It typically involves the women’s events of vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. Men’s events are floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar.
Other FIG disciplines include rhythmic gymnastics, trampolining and tumbling, acrobatic gymnastics and aerobic gymnastics. Disciplines not currently recognized by FIG include wheel gymnastics, aesthetic group gymnastics, men’s rhythmic gymnastics and TeamGym. Participants can include children as young as 20 months old doing kindergym and children’s gymnastics, recreational gymnasts of ages 3 and up, competitive gymnasts at varying levels of skill, and world-class athletes.