Commonwealth Games 2002
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Gymnastics Wednesday, 5 June, 2002, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Gymnastics' route to the G-Mex
Nadia Comaneci
Nadia Comaneci scored the sport's first perfect 10
When the competitors take their first tentative steps at Manchester's G-Mex Arena on 26 July, the latest chapter in gymnastics 4,000-year history will have arrived.

The sport itself showed its first beginnings about 2000 BC in Egypt, then weaved its way via Persia, China and Greece before finally being popularised in Europe from the 18th century.

The origins of its name comes from the Greek gymnasium where sport was performed hand-in-hand with art, music and philosophy.

But its evolution has not always been a smooth ride.

It received some early negative publicity in 393 AD when the Emperor Theodosius banned it because he feared it potentially rivalled his immortal status.

Olga Korbut
Korbut in action in Munich in 1972

After its sojourn in the Classical World, gymnastics pailed into insignificance until the 18th Century when it was reinvigorated.

From there it gradually began to lend its course towards the modern sport it is to this day.

The Federation International de Gymnastique (FIG) was formed in 1881 and gymnastics took its early form at the 1896 Olympic Games.

Then it only entailed rope climbing and club swinging but in 1952 the sport, as it is today, was officially launched at the Olympics.

It took another 26 years, however, before it was unveiled at the Commonwealth Games.

Those said to have taken an outside interest in gymnastics through history, range from philosopher Plato to playwright Anton Chekhov.

Former glories

And those to have made the sport a worldwide spectacle are, among others, Larysa Latynina, Olga Korbut and Nadia Comaneci.

Latynina won gold at a hat-trick of events between 1956 and 1964 and earned herself a total of 18 Olympic medals, a record that has never been beaten.

Korbut graced the sport at the 1972 Games where she won three golds and Comaneci scored the sport's first perfect 10 four years later.

The varying apparatus and actions that will be on show at the G-Mex in Manchester can be traced to a German and a Swede.

Friedrich Jahn was responsible for creating the parallel and horizontal bars, while Per Henrik Ling was the guiding force for the type of movements employed by modern-day gymnasts.

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05 Jun 02 | Gymnastics
22 Jun 02 | Gymnastics
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