BBC Sport gymnastics


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 10:11 GMT, Thursday, 23 September 2010 11:11 UK
Gymnastics guide

Find a gymnastics club

As one of the oldest sports in the world, gymnastics featured prominently in the ancient Olympics from 776BC and has featured in every one of the modern Olympic Games.

Much of the ancient events were based around improvisation, with acrobats vaulting over the backs of bulls. However, the majority of the disciplines were exclusively male.

The ancient Greeks revered physical training just as highly as education, with students put through a series of fitness tests along with their studies.

The Romans introduced the wooden horse as a method of improving the mounting and dismounting skills of a soldier, allowing the sport to evolve through time.

The British Amateur Gymnastics Association is one of the oldest sports governing bodies in the world, formed in 1888.

A European gymnastics federation was formed in the late 19th century, expanding into the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) with the admission of the United States in 1921.


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.

The competition begins with the team event, which not only determines the winning team but also determines who will go forward to the all around final and the individual apparatus finals.

Each team consists of no more than five gymnasts. Four gymnasts compete on each apparatus, with the three best scores on each apparatus counting towards the team score.

Based on their scores in the team event, a maximum of 24 gymnasts qualify for the individual all round final, with no more than three from each nation.

In the all around final, a gymnast's scores from each apparatus are combined to produce a total all-around score. The gymnast with the highest combined total wins. No scores carry over from the team competition.

Just eight qualify for each individual apparatus finals, based on individual results from the team event, with no more than two from each nation.

Scoring is based on the 2009 edition of the Code of Points, which is a whole book in itself.

The Code of Points includes a difficulty rating for each skill, rated from A (easiest) to G (most difficult). There are separate ratings for men and women.

Ten is no longer the magic number. In fact, a 10 now would be a low score. Beth Tweddle won her gold medal on the floor at last year's World Championships with a score of 14.650.

Two panels of judges are used - a panel for difficulty (D) and a panel for execution (E). These two scores are added up to give a total score for each routine.

The D score is open-ended and has no maximum. The E score starts from 10 and deducts points for execution and artistry.


The competition is for female gymnasts only.

There are six rhythmic gymnastic events: team, individual all-around, rope, ball, hoop and ribbon.

There are three athletes in each team for the team event. Each athlete performs with each piece of equipment, meaning teams perform a total of 12 exercises. The team classification is made by adding the best 10 scores from the three competing gymnasts.

The best 16 gymnasts from the team competition qualify for the all-around competition (but no more than two gymnasts per country). Scores from the team/qualification competitions do not carry over to the final.

For the individual all-around final an athlete competes with the four pieces of equipment and the total score is added.


Contact the British Amateur Gymnastics Association:

British Amateur Gymnastics Association
Ford Hall
Lilleshall NBSC
TF10 9NE

They have a great section on finding your nearest gymnastics club by inputting your postcode.

The 'contact us' page of the website includes details of development officers and regional secretaries throughout the UK.

Print Sponsor

see also
Tweddle and Downie lead GB team
29 Jun 08 |  Gymnastics
Team GB for Beijing
21 Jul 08 |  Team GB
Gymnastics photo guide
01 Mar 06 |  Photo Galleries
GB gymnasts qualify for Olympics
02 Sep 07 |  Gymnastics

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites