BY JOSANDY JEUNE & SABRINA MONTEIRO
Gymnastics is a sport that was named after the ancient greek word for disciplinary exercises. The sport is combined with a multitude of exercises which include running, jumping, wrestling, and weightlifting. It illustrates physical skills which can help balance the mind. Meaning it teaches combinations of body control, concentration, coordination, gracefulness, dexterity and strength with acrobatic and tumbling skills.
Many years ago, during the war, after the Romans had conquered Greece, gymnastics was used in more of a formal manner where people fighting in war would use the gymnasium in physical training. With the decline of Rome, came the major increase in the interest for the sport.
Gymnastics flourished in Germany in the late 1800s. As for the materials used in the sport, the side bar, horizontal bar, the parallel bar, the balance beam and jumping events were developed in the late 1700s by Friedrich Ludwig Jahn. Men’s gymnastics was already included in the first modern Olympic games since 1896.
For women gymnastics, it was only permitted in the Olympics in 1936 and in 1952, competition for the separate events was added. Gymnastics wasn’t always a popular sport. It lacked popularity in the past but has risen due to the performances of Olga Korbut of the Soviet Union in the 1972 Olympics, and Nadia Comaneci of Romania in the 1976 Olympics.
The sport gain more popularity in the Hellenistic period thanks to the Greek Olympics. It included a lot of exercises from the military and was incorporated into everyday life. Gymnastics was such a popular sport in ancient Greece where it became mandatory to know the sport.
The U.S military brought gymnastic training to America in the 1800s. As the sport quickly gained popularity in America it led to very first organized gymnastic teams in the early 1900s. This sport was popular because of the mental and physical challenge it brought to the player. The civilians who played this sport mainly consisted of the middle and upperclass.
Gymnastics is now officially recognized as a varsity sport at over 82 different colleges and universities in the U.S. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) offers all gymnastic programs to give out 6 scholarships to men and 12 to women. This program gives at least 1,500 gymnastic scholarships yearly to high school students.
All in all as centuries tumbled on gymnastics has become a very popular sport and just grew and flourished. Now it is practiced at high schools all around America and is a professional sport played at the Olympics and is a profession.