Women’s Artistic gymnastics is a spectacular discipline combining artistry grace and power. Its fascination and popularity amongst girls of all ages lies in its ability to provide constant challenge and teach body control, coordination, amplitude and courage. Gymnasts compete in four core disciplines:
Gymnasts approach the vault from a 25metre run, transfer their speed to the springboard and seek a quick hand placement to the table. From here the gymnast uses internal spring to launch themselves vertically for a combination of somersaults and twists. A good vault should land at least 2metres from the table and include no steps on landing.
Uneven Bars (UB)
The uneven bars are parallel to the floor with the low bar around 170cm in height and the high bar often around 250cm. The distance between the two bars is set at a maximum of 180cm. Swinging and continuous movements are required on this apparatus. Routines typically include movements in both directions as well as above and below the bars. Elements with twists and somersaults with multiple grip changes and high flight often are awarded with the highest scores. The wind up and dismount is often the most exciting part of the routine.
Balance Beam (BB)
Perhaps the most precarious piece of apparatus for girls, the beam stands 1.25metres from the floor, is five metres long and if that was not posing enough of a challenge, is only 10cm wide. That is the width of your average house brick! A beam routine is an exercise in precision with no room for error. The gymnast performs a combination of acrobatic elements, leaps, jumps, turns, steps, waves and balance elements. These can be done standing, sitting or lying on the beam. It is a requirement that the gymnast uses the entire length of the beam, with routines concluding often with a series of acrobatic elements off the side or end of the beam.
Floor Exercise (FX)
The floor exercise allows the gymnast their moment in the spotlight and is considered by many to be the most expressive piece of women’s apparatus. A floor routine, always accompanied by music, includes a combination of dance movements and sequences interspersed with a variety of tumbling and acrobatic elements. Individuality, originality, and artistry of presentation are the key ingredients of a great routine.