Facts about Gymnastics

Read these interesting facts about gymnastics. Gymnastics is one of the most widely watched Olympic sports. Every four years, millions of spectators tune in to watch highly skilled athletes contort their bodies and defy gravity in spectacular displays. Here are a few to keep in mind (you can impress your friends with your gymnastics knowledge):

  • Ancient Romans used gymnastics as a functional sport; for example, warriors used the wooden horse to practice mounting and dismounting.
  • Friedrich Ludwig Jahn was the true inventor of gymnastics. His nickname is "Turnvater Jahn" (father of gymnastics).
  • Jahn was also thought to be anti-Semitic.
  • In 393 AD, Roman Emperor Theodosius banned the Olympics due to its corruption.
  • The International Federation of Gymnastics, which still governs gymnastics, began in Liege, Belgium in the early 1800s.
  • Gymnastics was introduced to the US by Charles Beck, Charles Follen and Frances Lieber.
  • Most successful gymnasts begin their careers on gymnastics equipment at a very young age, sometimes as young as two years old.
  • Though the best female gymnasts are generally between the ages of 14 and 18, a gymnast cannot compete in the Olympics until she is 16 years old (as of 1997).
  • Men are the most successful in their late teens and early twenties.
  • The first perfect ten to be awarded at the Olympics was in 1976 to Nadia Comeneci.
  • In 2006 the scoring system was revised to discourage perfect tens.
  • The first "official" inclusion of gymnastics in the Olympics was in 1896 in Athens.
  • Gymnastics events include: horizontal bar, rings, vault, pommel horse and parallel bars.
  • The word gymnastics comes from the Greek word "gymon" which means naked. Ancient Greeks used to perform gymnastics in the nude.
  • Only women gymnasts perform routines to music.

There you have it, some fun facts about gymnastics to impress your friends with. 

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