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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 March 2004, 18:55 GMT
Beginner's guide to gymnastics
Artistic Gymnastics
Artistic gymnastics is one of the most popular Olympic sports
Gymnastics at the Olympic Games is split into three disciplines - artistic, rhythmic and trampoline.

Artistic gymnastics sees men participate in six apparatus: floor exercises, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar.

Women participate in four apparatus: vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercises.

Rhythmic gymnastics is performed exclusively by women, 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 the trampoline.

  • Artistic gymnastics
    There are three types of competitions for both men and women: team, all-round individual and separate events for each piece of apparatus.

    Two panels of judges rate all the performances. One panel assesses the difficulty of a routine and awards a rating out of 10 and the other panel marks each performance for its technical execution.

    In 1904 American George Eyser won gold on the parallel bars and the vault. The catch? He had a wooden leg
    They deduct points from the score determined by the difficulty judges if they spot any errors or minor flaws in a routine.

    Minor errors cost 0.10 of a point, 0.20 to 0.30 for medium errors and 0.40 for large errors. The worst error of all, falling off a piece of apparatus or on the floor during the floor routine, costs 0.50 points.

    In the team event the top eight advance through to the finals after a qualification round. Each team has six gymnasts but only three can perform on each piece of apparatus.

    For the individual finals, the top eight from the qualification round on each piece of apparatus go through to contest the finals, while in the all-round individual events the top 24 men and 24 women in the qualification round advance to the finals.

  • Rhythmic gymnastics
    Individuals will compete in the hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon disciplines, while groups, each consisting of six gymnasts, will complete one routine with five ribbons and a routine with three hoops and two balls.

    Scoring is carried out by two panels of judges, as in artistic gymnastics.

    Shun Fujimoto broke his knee cap at the 1976 Olympics but told nobody, hid his pain and continued to help Japan win team gold
    Routines last 1min 15secs to 1min 30secs for individual exercises, and 2mins 15secs to 2mins 30secs for group exercises.

  • Trampoline
    A total of 16 men and 16 women will compete and all athletes are obliged to submit a competition card, 48 hours prior to the event, detailing their routines.

    They will perform two routines: a voluntary routine with 10 elements and a second with no limits that demonstrates 10 different skills.

    Nine judges evaluate the level of difficulty of the routine, with scores ranging from 0 to 10 for the level of execution.

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