Most people have heard of gymnastics, but few have gotten around to learning what the sport is.
To start, there are multiple types of gymnastics: Rhythmic Gymnastics, Aerobic Gymnastics, Trampoline, Power Tumbling, and Artistic Gymnastics. All of the sports are recognized as an Olympic Sport except for Power Tumbling, which has competitions at the Junior Olympic level in the United States and the International level.
Artistic gymnastics is the most popular and is the only type of gymnastics that has a different sport for men and women. In Women’s Artistic Gymnastics, there are events competed on four separate apparatuses: the uneven bar, the beam, the floor and the vault. Men’s Artistic Gymnastics (the less popular of the two), has six different events, including the high bar, floor, vault, parallel bars, rings, and pommel horse. In both, athletes are judged on their execution and difficulty.
At the same time, rhythmic gymnastics (for females exclusively) is gaining popularity. Routines are a combination of ballet and artistic gymnastics in five different elements: rope, ribbon, hoop, ball, and clubs. Teams can also be formed, and consist of 2-6 gymnasts. Specific to group competition, athletes are allowed to use two apparatuses in a routine.
Following Rhythmic Gymnastics is Aerobic Gymnastics. Aerobic Gymnastics only features team competition, and teams are made up of anywhere from 2-6 gymnasts. Athletes perform their routines on floors similar to Artistic Gymnastic floors, though some can be hardwood rather than carpet. The groups work together to accomplish impressive feats of strength, flexibility, and coordination.
The two least common forms of gymnastics are Trampoline and Power Tumbling. Trampoline is a sport in which the name says it all. Beginning at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, it has been officially recognized as an Olympic Sport. It features two different types of competition: double mini-trampoline and synchronized. In these, competitors use trampolines to generate impressive height and perform gravity-defying skills. The final gymnastic form is Power Tumbling, a combination of Artistic Gymnastics and Trampoline. The gymnasts compete in three different ways: trampoline, double mini-trampoline, and floor (which is similar to Artistic Gymnastics floor, but slightly more bouncy). The gymnasts compete skills similar to those seen in Artistic Gymnastics floor routines, but they are performed on a more bouncy surface so they can get much harder.