Artistic Gymnastics

Also known as ‘display gymnastics,’ ‘artistic gymnastics’ is separated into different events, with gymnasts competing in all of the events or specialising in one. Artistic gymnastics events are categorised into compulsory and optional events. Compulsory events require the gymnast to execute specified routines on the apparatus, unlike optional events which allow gymnasts to choreograph routines specific to their individual strengths and preferences.

In artistic gymnastics there are different events for women and men: four for women and six for men.

Women’s events

Women’s events consist of:

The Beam

The beam is a narrow length of springy padded apparatus measuring 120 cm high, 10 cm wide and 500 cm long on which female gymnasts perform a routine of leaps, turns and dance movements for between 70 and 90 seconds. The beam event requires the gymnast to demonstrate great flexibility, balance and strength in order to execute difficult skills without falling off the apparatus.

The Floor

The floor is an event centred around a carpeted area of spring floor measuring 120 cm long and 120 cm wide on which female gymnasts perform routines made up of acrobatic skills, dance movements and tumbles to a musical accompaniment for between 70 and 90 seconds

The Uneven bars

Also known as the ‘asymmetric bars,’ the uneven bars consist of two fibreglass bars of different heights around which gymnasts perform circles, pirouettes and releases, using a springboard to mount the bars and moving from one bar to the other during the routine. Standard uneven bars are 148 cm high and 228 cm high and typically set 150 cm apart from each other.

The Vault

An event performed over a vaulting table, requiring the gymnast to run down a padded runway, take off from a spring board and jump over the vaulting table, incorporating one or a combination of somersaults, twists or saltos into their flight and landing on two feet. Standard vaulting tables are 100 cm wide, 100 cm long and 135 cm high for men and 120 cm high for women.

Men’s events

The Floor

Like women’s gymnastics, men’s events include the floor, but unlike female gymnasts, male gymnasts are required to execute a routine which is not accompanied by music and which lasts for between 60 and 70 seconds. During their routine, male gymnasts are required to touch each corner of the floor at least once.

The Pommel Horse

The pommel horse is an event which requires the gymnast to execute a series of skills, particularly circular and scissor movements around a pommel horse, a large block with two pommels on the top, which the gymnast grips during the moves. Gymnasts are required to demonstrate skills which swing one and two legs around the horse, dismounting at the end of their routine. The standard pommel horse is 115 cm high, 35 cm wide and 160 cm long with the pommels placed between 40 and 45 cm apart.

The Still Rings

The still rings event requires the gymnast to execute swings, presses and strength holds around a pair of rings which are suspended from the ceiling by straps and a cable. Standard rings are made of wood or fibreglass and are positioned 575 cm high and 50 cm apart. The straps and cable that hold the rings in place are typically 300 cms long.

The Parallel Bars

The parallel bars is an event which requires the gymnast to perform a routine consisting of swing and flight skills around two parallel metal bars, demonstrating great strength and coordination. The standard measurements of the bars are 195 cm high and 350 cm long with the bars being positioned between 42 and 52 cm apart.

The High Bar

The high bar event requires the gymnast to perform skills around a horizontal metal bar which is supported by two vertical posts and bolted to the floor. The standard dimensions of the high bar are 275 cm in height, 240 cm in length and 2.8 cm in diameter. The bar is designed to support 200,000 pounds per square inch of force, accommodating for the immense power built up by the skills executed on the bar.

The Vault

The vault is an event performed over a vaulting table, requiring the gymnast to run down a padded runway, take off from a spring board and jump over the vaulting table, incorporating one or a combination of somersaults, twists or salcos into their flight and landing on two feet. Standard vaulting tables are 100 cm wide, 100 cm long and 135 cm high for men and 120 cm high for women.