Olympics Sports >> Artistic Gymnastics

Artistic Gymnastics

THE 14 EVENTS

  • Men (8 events) : individual all-around, team competition, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, horizontal bar, floor
  • Women (6 events) : individual all-around, team competition, vault, uneven bars, balance beam, floor

THE FORMAT

  • Men and women: a preliminary round qualifies 8 teams for the team competition finals, 24 gymnasts for the individual all-around finals, and 8 gymnasts for the apparatus finals.
  • Team competition (5 gymnasts): 8 teams in the final. 3 of 5 team members compete in each discipline. All scores count.
  • Individual all-around: 24 gymnasts in the final, a maximum of 2 per country.
  • Apparatus finals: 8 gymnasts in the final, a maximum of 2 per country.

MILESTONES

Antiquity

Gymnastics is practised in ancient Greece, India, Persia and China.

Early 19th century

Gymnastics is part of military training in Prussia, to prepare revenge after defeat to the French at the Battle of Jena.

1896

Gymnastics features at the first modern Olympic Games, associated with athletics events.

1932

The floor event is the final discipline added to the men's Olympic programme.

1972

The irrepressible charm of Olga Korbut popularises the sport and she is the star of the Munich Games, winning gold in the balance beam, floor and team events.

1976

Romanian Nadia Comaneci scores the first ever perfect 10.

1984

Li Ning is the first Chinese gymnast to win an individual Olympic title.

STARS

Larisa Latynina (USSR)

The most successful female Olympian of all time, with 18 medals at the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Games. She held a joint record of 9 gold medals with Paavo Nurmi, Carl Lewis and Mark Spitz before the emergence of Michael Phelps (18). She also won 9 world championship titles, including two individual all-around golds in 1958 and 1962.

Nadia Comaneci (Romania)

The undisputed star of the Montreal Games in 1976. She was awarded the first ever perfect 10, picking up 7 such scores in total. Her exploits won her 3 gold medals in Canada, including the individual all-around. She added two more Olympic titles at Moscow 1980. She also won world championship golds in the balance beam (1978) and team event (1979), and was crowned European champion 9 times.

Vitaly Scherbo (CIS/Belarus)

Vitaly Scherbo of Belarus enjoyed unprecedented success at the Barcelona Games in 1992, winning 6 gold medals out of a possible 8 for the Unified Team (CIS). He won 10 Olympic medals overall, claiming 4 bronze for Belarus in 1996. He also won 12 world championship titles, including the individual all-around gold in 1993.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.

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