Olympic gymnastic history involves many forms of gymnastics being added over time, as well as many key athletes who have made the sport what it is today. Gymnastics is a unique sport that involves the body harmonizing movements with music, which often makes the sport considered to be an art form. Gymnastics involves strength, agility, and flexibility among athletes.
Gymnastic history dates back to ancient Greece, where it was used as exercise regimens for increased physical strength and even military training. The beginning of Olympic gymnastic history is believed to date back to 1896, where it is believed it was first part of the Olympics in Athens. In 1903, gymnastics became an international Olympic event in Antwerp as part of the Gymnastics World Championships.
Currently, both men and women are permitted to participate in the Olympic Gymnastic events. However, the events for each gender vary due to skill and strength levels needed. Current events in the men’s Olympic gymnastic competitions include: floor exercise, still rings, vault, parallel bar, pommel horse, and horizontal bar. Women’s Olympic gymnastic competitions include the vault, uneven bars, balancing beam, and floor exercises.
There are many iconic people throughout Olympic gymnastic history that have made the sport what it is today. Nadia Comaneci was the youngest gymnast to win the European Championship at only thirteen years old. Olga Korbut is considered to be responsible for gearing gymnastics towards young girls. Mary Lou Retton produced the first gold medal win for the United States in 1984, while Shannon Miller received seven Olympic medals for the United States and nine World Championship titles.