Humanities Information

Gymnastics History - A Brief Overview

Gymnastics, as an activity, has been around for more thantwo thousand years in one form or another, from the ancientGreek Olympics, to Roman ceremony, to today's modern meets.

As an organized and truly competitive sport, gymnasticshas existed for a little more than a century. It wasintroduced in the mid 1800s to the United States, where itinexorably gained in popularity within school systems.

Amateur associations gathered together by the latenineteenth century, offering classes and opportunities foryoung people to join in on the fun. Eventually, theseassociations began to have their own championships.

In 1896, at the first international Olympic games in Athens,Greece, the sport we all know and love enjoyed its firstlarge-scale debut. Included in the Olympic tournament werevaulting, parallel bars, pommel horse, and rings events formen. The first women's Olympic gymnastics events were heldin 1928. After the Olympics began to officially hostgymnastics, the World Championship gymnastics meet emergedin the early 1900s, and it is still held to this very day.

Thus began a noble tradition that continues even in modernOlympic games and in local, regional, national, and worldmeets all over.

If you're the parent of a young gymnast, odds are, peopleare going to ask you, "Why did you choose gymnastics overswimming, ballet, football, baseball, or soccer?" It is aneasy question to offer, but not a simple one to answer.

Their curiosity is entirely understandable--to theuninitiated, may have a lower profile than others.However, if you are indeed very serious about your childparticipating in the sport, you can tell those people, withgreat authority, that gymnastics is an excellent way tospend time. Not only does it have a long and illustrioushistory, but it also requires attention and discipline onthe part of a child--more so, perhaps, than one involved inany other sport.

In order to become successful at the sport of gymnastics,your child will have to get into a routine of practice.

This type of routine is different from, say, soccerpractice or hockey practice, in that it does not involvethe concept of physical rivalry with other individuals. Agymnast is not typically seen chasing after anothergymnastics youth with a set of rings as one might see ahockey player attacking another person on an opposing team.

Gymnastics does not encourage violence in the same waycontact sports do -- indeed, when one is part of agymnastics team, one has to work in synchronicity with andhave a certain trust for the other members, a valuablelesson in this individualism-driven social environment.This can certainly help in any future employment,especially if your child is interested in professions thatinvolve lots of interpersonal communication.

Beyond practice, gymnastics also requires physicaldiscipline. For instance, if you do not move in the waythat you are taught to move when on parallel bars, you willhave falls and disappointment--and then, of course, youlearn from the mistake, pick up, and try it again. Playingat gymnastics braces a person for the future in that way:it prepares them for the inevitable necessity ofdetermination and endurance in any of life's endeavors,whether in business or in education. In conjunction withschool study habits, practice for gymnastics can indeedlead a young person into a level and graceful confidence.In fact, for as physically driven as gymnastics happens tobe, it is also an extremely intellectual sport: everymotion requires forethought, for in the game, if you do notthink of what you are going to do before you do it, you'llend up on the mat.

Finally, and perhaps most obviously of all, there is thefact that gymnastics will keep your child busy, as anyother sport might. This means that he or she won't be aslikely to slip into a pattern of slacking or of hanging outwith the wrong crowd. Quite literally, when your child isat practice, you will know where they are -- you will nothave to worry if they have wandered off somewhere or areunintentionally getting into trouble. This can lead topeace of mind for you and yours, most assuredly, which,like the skills they will learn, are absolutely invaluable.

By Murray Hughes
Gymnastics Secrets Revealed"The book EVERY gymnastics parent should read"

If your child is a gymnast and you enjoyed this article, youwill definitely enjoy reading the zero cost, 5-day courseGymnastics Tips Course written especially for gymnasticsparents by a gymnastics parent.Gymnastics HistoryFor AOL Users - History of Gymnastics


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