Gymnastics History ? A Brief Overview

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Gymnastics, as an activity, has been around for more than two thousand years in one form or another, from the ancient Greek Olympics, to Roman ceremony, to today's modern meets.

As an organized and truly competitive sport, gymnastics has existed for a little more than a century. It was introduced in the mid 1800s to the United States, where it inexorably gained in popularity within school systems.

Amateur associations gathered together by the late nineteenth century, offering classes and opportunities for young people to join in on the fun. Eventually, these associations began to have their own championships.

In 1896, at the first international Olympic games in Athens, Greece, the sport we all know and love enjoyed its first large-scale debut. Included in the Olympic tournament were vaulting, parallel bars, pommel horse, and rings events for men. The first women's Olympic gymnastics events were held in 1928. After the Olympics began to officially host gymnastics, the World Championship gymnastics meet emerged in the early 1900s, and it is still held to this very day.

Thus began a noble tradition that continues even in modern Olympic games and in local, regional, national, and world meets all over.

If you're the parent of a young gymnast, odds are, people are going to ask you, "Why did you choose gymnastics over swimming, ballet, football, baseball, or soccer?" It is an easy question to offer, but not a simple one to answer.

Their curiosity is entirely understandable--to the uninitiated, may have a lower profile than others. However, if you are indeed very serious about your child participating in the sport, you can tell those people, with great authority, that gymnastics is an excellent way to spend time. Not only does it have a long and illustrious history, but it also requires attention and discipline on the part of a child--more so, perhaps, than one involved in any other sport.

In order to become successful at the sport of gymnastics, your child will have to get into a routine of practice.

This type of routine is different from, say, soccer practice or hockey practice, in that it does not involve the concept of physical rivalry with other individuals. A gymnast is not typically seen chasing after another gymnastics youth with a set of rings as one might see a hockey player attacking another person on an opposing team.

Gymnastics does not encourage violence in the same way contact sports do -- indeed, when one is part of a gymnastics team, one has to work in synchronicity with and have a certain trust for the other members, a valuable lesson in this individualism-driven social environment. This can certainly help in any future employment, especially if your child is interested in professions that involve lots of interpersonal communication.

Beyond practice, gymnastics also requires physical discipline. For instance, if you do not move in the way that you are taught to move when on parallel bars, you will have falls and disappointment--and then, of course, you learn from the mistake, pick up, and try it again. Playing at gymnastics braces a person for the future in that way: it prepares them for the inevitable necessity of determination and endurance in any of life's endeavors, whether in business or in education. In conjunction with school study habits, practice for gymnastics can indeed lead a young person into a level and graceful confidence. In fact, for as physically driven as gymnastics happens to be, it is also an extremely intellectual sport: every motion requires forethought, for in the game, if you do not think of what you are going to do before you do it, you'll end up on the mat.

Finally, and perhaps most obviously of all, there is the fact that gymnastics will keep your child busy, as any other sport might. This means that he or she won't be as likely to slip into a pattern of slacking or of hanging out with the wrong crowd. Quite literally, when your child is at practice, you will know where they are -- you will not have to worry if they have wandered off somewhere or are unintentionally getting into trouble. This can lead to peace of mind for you and yours, most assuredly, which, like the skills they will learn, are absolutely invaluable.

By Murray Hughes
Gymnastics Secrets Revealed "The book EVERY gymnastics parent should read"

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