Sport Focus: 12 Things You Didn't Know About Gymnastics

April 1, 2020

A Commonwealth Games sport since 1978, Gymnastics has been a regular contributor to the Team Scotland medal tally, particularly in recent years. To round off our ‘Celebrating Our Past, Building Our Future’ Sport Focus, here are 12 things you might not know about the sport:

  1. Gymnastics has existed for more than 2,000 years and was included in the Ancient Olympic Games until the abandonment of the Games in AD 393. The sport has evolved over time and some of the disciplines included under this ancient definition of gymnastics later became separate sports such as athletics, wrestling, and boxing.


  1. Before the Scottish Gymnastics Association was founded on 24 May 1890, gymnastics in Scotland had a link with the British military, specifically the Army Physical Training Corps, to build strength in soldiers while increasing levels of agility and flexibility. In 1872, in discussions over the British Education Act, it was decided that an amendment should be made to include: “The introduction and teaching of physical drill and gymnastics”.


  1. In contrast to the sport’s early male participation, as Scottish Gymnastics celebrates its 130th anniversary in 2020, 85% of the Scottish governing body’s members are female and 78% are female under the age of 18.


  1. The modern sport began in Germany in the late 1700s and the Federation of International Gymnastics (FIG) was established in 1881. Current disciplines recognised by the FIG are Artistic Gymnastics, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Trampolining, Tumbling, Acrobatic Gymnastics and Aerobic Gymnastics (formerly Sports Aerobics).


  1. The first truly international gymnastics competition was the 1896 Olympic Games. Events were only for men and included some of the apparatus we are familiar with today alongside events such as rope climbing. Events were not standardised until 1928 with five of the six apparatus contested today. A Floor event was added in 1932. Rhythmic Gymnastics was added to the Olympic programme in 1984 and Trampolining in 2000.


  1. The first Olympic Games to feature women’s gymnastics was Amsterdam 1928 where the only event was the Team Competition consisting of scores for drill, apparatus and vault.


  1. Gymnastics made its Commonwealth Games debut at the 1978 Games in Edmonton, Canada. After a two Games gap, it has featured in every games since Auckland 1990. Team Scotland has won a total of 12 medals in Gymnastics: 3 gold, 2 silver and 7 bronze.


  1. Artistic Gymnastics is a core sport, meaning that it must be included in every Commonwealth Games. Rhythmic Gymnastics was first introduced in the 1990 Auckland Games and is an optional discipline, meaning that the host country can chose to add it into the programme if they wish.


  1. Scotland’s first Commonwealth Games Gymnastics medal was won by Jo Walker, who won bronze in the Hoop at Victoria 1994. This remains Scotland’s only Rhythmic Gymnastics medal at the Games to date.


  1. Scotland’s most successful Commonwealth Games gymnast is Daniel Keatings. At Glasgow 2014, Daniel won gold on Pommel Horse, and two silver medals – one for the Individual All-Around, and one in the Men’s Team Event. Daniel also won bronze at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo 2004 in the Men’s Team Event.


  1. Scotland currently sits 6th on the All-Time Medal Table for Gymnastics at the Commonwealth Games, with a total of 12 medals. Canada is currently at the top, winning an impressive 143 medals in total. Scotland’s most successful Commonwealth Games in Gymnastics was in Glasgow 2014. The team came away with 5 medals in total, including two gold.


  1. In 2006 a new scoring system was introduced with separate scores for the difficulty of the routine and how well it is executed. These are added together to give the final score which is usually in the mid-teens, rather than the traditional ‘perfect 10’.

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