A sport in which individuals perform optional and prescribed acrobatic feats which demonstrate strength, balance, and body control. This sport encompasses calisthenics and tumbling as well as work on apparatus.
It grew out of calisthenic exercises developed in Sweden in the 19th century and exercises on apparatus developed at about the same time in Europe.
In competition, individuals are judged on the basis of an abstract standard; the individuals having the highest score for a particular event is the winner of the event.
A program of competition consists of the horizontal bar, parallel bars, pommel horse, vaulting horse, rings, and floor exercise events for men and the balance beam, uneven parallel bars, vaulting horse, and floor exercise events for women.
Men and women compete in separate competitions. Though competitors normally specialize in a single event, they must be good in all events.
In international competition, performers are required to compete in all events and the individual with the highest overall score is the all-around champion.
The movements involved in gymnastics contribute to the development of the arms, legs, shoulders, back, chest and abdominal 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.
The most common form of competitive gymnastics is artistic gymnastics which consists of (for girls) floor, vault, beam and uneven bars. For boys they have floor, vault, rings, pommel, parallel bars and horizontal bar.
Other FIG disciplines include rhythmic gymnastics, trampolining and tumbling, acrobatic gymnastics, aerobic gymnastics and parkour.