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The GFORCE Guide to... Gymnastics

Added 25 Oct 2018 by GFORCE

Much like the swan which appears graceful above the surface but moves its legs franticly underwater to keep it afloat, Gymnastics is the ultimate sport of contrasts. It requires an intense mix of strength and flexibility on one hand, while it has to be presented with style and poise on the other.

One strand of the sport is Artistic Gymnastics, which has its World Championships coming up in Qatar between 25 October and 3 November. In this event competitors perform routines on a series of apparatus and are judged based on the difficulty of their tricks, the execution of the routine and the overall presentation of it.

Artistic Gymnastics is one sport where men's and women's competitions are vastly different. Women use the uneven bars and balance beam, while men use a pommel horse, still rings, parallel bars and the horizontal bar. All gymnasts use the vault and perform a floor routine, but women do the latter to music while the men do not.

All of these apparatus challenge competitors to employ a mix of strength, rhythm and style in order to gain the highest marks possible. The floor routine especially, performed on a square platform supported by springs, demands that the gymnast gracefully make their way around all four corners of the space while still performing incredibly challenging somersaults, tumbles and flips. Team and all-round competitions involve all of these apparatus, while individual medals are given out for each separate event too.

The World Championships are held every year, except when the Olympic Games are on, and began in 1903. The Soviet Union remains the most successful nation in the medal table, although China, the USA and Japan have been dominant forces in the sport over the last 15 years, leading to gymnasts such as Simone Biles becoming household names around the world. And not to forget the GB team which has had some great individual and team successes of late.

If Gymnastics could be for you then why not watch the World Championships and inspire yourself?

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