Tokyo Olympics Gymnastics
Gymnastics is one of the most popular and oldest sports in the world, and has been around for approximately 2000 years. The origins of the sport can be traced back to Greece, where athletes received physical training in specialized areas. In 1800, the Greek city of Athens hosted a gymnastics tournament, which included tumbling, rope climbing, and other exciting activities. Their love of gymnastics led them to sponsor the ancient Olympic games. When the Romans conquered Greece, they discovered that gymnastics was invaluable in their military training. However, soon after the fall of the Roman Empire, gymnastics disappeared from the sports scene.
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In the 1880s, gymnastic competitions began to gain importance and flourish in schools, athletic clubs and ethnic organizations throughout Europe. In 1896, the Olympic movement was revived at the first Olympic Games in Athens which led to the establishment of gymnastics as a regular Olympic event. Germany won the most medals, with men from five countries competing in the horizontal bar, parallel bar, pommel horse, ring and jump.
In 1881, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) was formed. This organization establishes gymnastics as an international competition. In 1883, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) was formed in the United States. In 1903, the first international gymnastics event, after the 1896 Olympics was held in Antwerp, Belgium. The gymnasts came from Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. This event is now considered the first World Championship. The first men’s team competition was added and held at the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis.
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In 1924, the Olympics held in France initiated a modern form of gymnastics. In each gymnastics event, men began to compete for individual Olympic titles. During the 1928 Olympics, the first women’s gymnastics team was introduced. The first women’s event during the 1928 Olympics was a joint team practice, where it was dominated by the Netherlands. The first US women’s gymnastics team competed at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany.
In 1962, rhythmic gymnastics was recognized as a sport by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG). In 1973, the United States became part of rhythmic gymnastics at the Rhythmic World Championships. In 1970, the United States Gymnastics Federation, now officially known as United States Gymnastics, was groomed to become the governing body of gymnastics. Olympic gymnastics is greatly enjoyed by both players and spectators and has developed as a colorful and most popular sport.