Women's Artistic Gymnastics
The Women’s Artistic Gymnastics events are:
Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam, Floor Exercise, and combined exercises (the All-Around), which combines the scores of the other four events [1,2].
Women used to perform on a ''vaulting horse'', which was the same as the men's one. However, the horse was set up with its long dimension perpendicular to the run for women, and parallel for men. The vaulting horse was the apparatus used in the Olympics for over a century, beginning with the Men's vault in the first modern Olympic Games, and ending with the Gymnastics at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games . The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) re-evaluated and changed the apparatus, citing both safety reasons and the desire to facilitate more impressive acrobatics. The new apparatus, which is called the 'Pegases vaulting table', was created by Dutch apparatus manufacturers, Janssen & Fritsen, and it was presented in 2000 to an ecstatic sell-out audience of 10.000 by some of gymnastics' greatest stars during Europe’s largest “GYM-Gala” at the Sports Palace in Antwerpen . The 2001 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships were the first international competition to make use of the "vaulting table" .
Depending on the requirements, the gymnasts are obliged to perform one or two vaults. The run distance is a maximum of 25 meters, measured from the front edge of the table to the inner side of the block attached to the end of the vault run up mat . The height of the table can be adjusted, so the apparatus can be used for both genders. Women perform on a 125 cm Vault , and have competed individually in this event since 1952 .
In the 19th century (around 1830), there were reports of uneven bars in France, but it was only in the second half of the 20th century when this apparatus with the asymmetrically adjusted bars gained its importance. It was at the first ''real'' World Championships in Budapest in 1934, which were the very first ones in which women were participants, when it came into favour as a competition apparatus, and two years later when it enjoyed its Olympic debut in Berlin .
The Uneven Bars are used only by female gymnasts, and they are made of a steel frame. The bars are made of fiberglass with wood coating, or less commonly wood. Of all the apparatus in women's artistic gymnastics (WAG), Uneven Bars is probably the one that has seen the most radical changes. Most elements from the 1950s and '60s bar routines are now completely obsolete and almost never used; others are impossible given the current diagonal separation between the bars, and still others, such as static holds and the Korbut Flip, are not permitted under the current Code of Points . Today the uneven bars are the most many-sided, most dynamic and most demanding apparatus of women’s gymnastics .
The Balance Beam was part of the 1934 World Championships in Budapest for the first time. That was also the first time actual women's international championships took place . In the early days of women's artistic gymnastics, the Beam was based more on dance than on tumbling. Routines even at the elite level were composed of combinations of leaps, dance poses, handstands, rolls and walkovers. In the 1960s, the most difficult acrobatic skill performed by the average Olympic gymnast was a back handspring .
Nowadays, this discipline is not only a demonstration of feeling for balance, but also of acrobatics of the greatest difficulty in the artistic area . The gymnast demonstrates her ability to transform her balance beam exercise from a well-structured composition into a performance, and in so doing, she must demonstrate creativity, confidence of performance, personal style and perfect technique . The duration of the exercise is 70 to 90 seconds, and women were first awarded individual Olympic medals in the event at the 1952 Games .
The women’s event is similar to the men’s, except that it is performed to music and lasts 70 to 90 seconds. The Floor Exercise was introduced as an individual Olympic medal sport for women in 1952 . The routine is choreographed in advance, and is composed of acrobatic and dance elements. This event, above all others, allows the gymnast to express her personality through her dance and musical style. The moves that are choreographed in the routine must be precise, in synchrony with the music, and entertaining . The main objective is to create and present a unique and well-balanced artistic gymnastic composition by combining the body movements and physical expressions of the gymnast harmoniously with the theme and character of the music .
'Women's Artistic Gymnastics' (2015). STK SPORT - Introduction to Gymnastics. Retrieved from STK SPORT <https://www.stk-sport.co.uk/gymnastics-introduction-wag.html>
STK SPORT - Introduction To Gymnastics
- WAG Code of Points 2013-2016, issued by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG)
- Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 2006 Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc
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