Artistic Gymnastics is one discipline of gymnastics.
In Artistic Gymnastics, competitors perform short routines (ranging from approximately 10 to 90 seconds) on different apparatus. They are then graded
on a score from 0 to 10 based on whether the performance contained certain required movements, the difficulty of the movements performed, and how well their performance compared to the desired performance of that movement. This is regulated in the 'Code of Points'.
In elite competition, each competitor will compete once on each apparatus, their scores are recorded, and points are tallied up. Medals are then awarded based on the highest team, and individual score. The next day, the best performers on each apparatus compete for medals on the apparatus on which they qualify.
Artistic gymnastics is one of the most popular spectator sports at the
Summer Olympic Games, although it is not a particularly popular participant sport, as performing at even a basic level requires very high levels of fitness and skill which take more training than many people are prepared to commit. However, the discipline of general gymnastics is geared more towards participation for fun and fitness, rather than competition, and attracts a respectable number of participants including retired gymnasts.
The apparatus used in Men's Artistic Gymnastic, and Women's Artistic Gymnastic, varies, with the unique male apparatus particularly emphasising strength requirements and the women's apparatus emphasising balance and agility.
In the past, female gymnastics was dominated by girls in their early teenage years, as their small size and light weight made landings softer and many movements easier. Minimum age requirements, caused by concerns about competitor welfare and audience skepticism of the relevance of a contest dominated by pre-pubertal girls, have changed this somewhat, but elite female gymnasts are generally in their middle to late teenage years and of below-average height and weight. Male gymnasts, because of the different emphases of their apparatus, reach their peak in their early twenties.
The world's best gymnasts traditionally come from Romania, Russia, and China. The United States is usually considered a "second power" in the sport, despite having produced some famous gymnasts, especially in the women's category (such as Mary Lou Retton, Shannon Miller and, more recently, Carly Patterson). Japan is in a similar situation.
WAG apparatus include (in olympic order):
MAG apparatus include (in olympic order):
Equipment and uniforms: