Image credit: Andrew Tan/SportSG
One of the most popular forms of gymnastics, women’s artistic gymnastics comprises feats of strength, balance, flexibility, air sense and grace.
The four events that female artistic gymnasts compete in include:
The vault is a test of strength and athletic ability. A gymnast sprints down a 25 metre runway and jumps onto a springboard, launching herself into the air to land momentarily upside down on a vaulting table, only to spring back off into a series of flipping and twisting movements before landing on her feet.
A novice gymnast learns to vault by practising running, jumping, and hurdling herself onto a springboard. Slowly, the gymnast will then progress from these beginner drills to more difficult vaults.
The uneven bars demand exceptional upper-body strength and an aggressive approach. Gymnasts perform a routine that incorporates swings, handstands, release moves, and flipping or twisting moves. The entire routine should flow from one movement to the next without pauses, extra swings or additional support. Novice gymnasts start by learning swings and pullovers, before gradually progressing to more difficult skills.
The balance beam is an apparatus that is five metres long and 0.1 metres wide. The suede covered, padded wood beam sits roughly one metre off the ground. A gymnast performs a routine that lasts up to 90 seconds that involves a mount, leaps, jumps, flips, turns, and a dismount. The beam event incorporates strength, balance and coordination, as well as an awareness of body position.
Novice gymnasts start by learning basic walks and turns, before gradually progressing to jumps, leaps and handstands. They then learn various tumbling skills on the beam before being deemed ready to compete.
The floor exercise is performed on a padded floor, and it gives gymnasts the chance to express their personalities by performing a choreographed routine, lasting no more than 90 seconds. Throughout the routine, the gymnast must harmoniously blend dance elements and tumbling skills while making versatile use of the floor space, changing both the direction and level of movement. The gymnastic elements should flow freely from one to another, with the leaps and turns adding excitement to the routine.
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