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Last Updated: Saturday October 22 2005 10:45 GMT

What is gymnastics?

Gymnast on beam
Gymnastics is divided into different disciplines - or skills.

When you start you will work towards completing the British Gymnastics Proficiency Awards which is an introductory scheme. This teaches you all the basics such as forward rolls, handstands and cartwheels.

Once you have completed this you go on to the more specialist skills for which there are three levels of awards - bronze, silver and gold.

There are lots of different types of gymnastics.

Artistic gymnastics:

Includes different apparatus for men and women.

Men compete in six different forms of apparatus: the pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar and floor exercises.

Women compete in four: the vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercises.

Rhythmic gymnastics:

Performed by women only, with the gymnasts performing choreographed movements to music using apparatus such as rope, hoop, ball, clubs and a ribbon.


Both men and women participate in this event.


Both men and women take part in this event. Tumblers move down a 25-metre-long track, and have to perform eight consecutvie elements or tumbles.

Guide to Gymnastics