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Historical Facts about Gymnastics

  • Gymnastics is a competitive sport in which individuals perform optional and prescribed acrobatic feats mostly on special apparatus in order to demonstrate strength, balance, and body control.
  • While gymnastics has existed for more than 2,000 years, it has only been considered a competitive sport for a little more than 100 years.
  • Gymnastics was first introduced to the United States in the 1830’s.
  • The first large-scale gymnastics meet was held in the 1896 Olympics.
  • Outside of the Olympics, the first large-scale international gymnastics meet was held in 1903 in Antwerp, Belgium in what is now considered the World Championships.
  • Current track and field events including pole vault, broad jump, shot put, rope climb, and the 100-meter sprint were at one time considered gymnastics events.
  • It wasn’t until the 1924 Olympics in Paris, France that the first modern gymnastics competition took place. Male gymnasts competed on each apparatus, as well as in combined individual and team exercises.
  • At the 1928 Olympic games, female gymnasts made their debut, competing in the combined team exercise.
  • The U.S. women first competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany.
  • USA Gymnastics is the governing body of the sport in the United States.


Additional information can be found at the USA Gymnastics site.



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