Women’s Artistic Gymnastics is definitely the most popular discipline in the gymnastics family. It is an incredibly challenging sport, demanding strength, power, flexibility, agility, courage, and a combination of technical precision and artistic creativity. When these elements are mastered, the performances appear almost effortless and are riveting to watch.
Although most gymnasts will learn new skills on various different pieces of equipment – including the trampoline, only four events are used in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics competition. They are: Vault, Bars, Beam and Floor.
The beam is 480 cm. long, 120 cm. high and only 10 cm. wide. It can be the most challenging event. Routines should be lively and continuous, with no visible pauses, stops or wobbles. Watch for saltos on the beam. High jumps with large splits, as well as dismounts with multiple twists or saltos.
The vault is 120 cm. in height. Approximate speed of the run up to the vault is 20-25 meters in 3.0-3.5 seconds. Each gymnast may vault twice and the best score is counted. The vault should have both height and distance, as well as good form from the board to the landing. A controlled landing is also important. Watch for vaults that include saltos from the vault to the landing mat.
The height of each the low bar is 160 cm. and the high bar is 240 cm. with a distance of 160 cm. between the bars. Swinging movements are used in sequence to take the gymnast under and over the bars in both directions. It is desirable that the gymnast release the bar to re-grasp it or to grasp the other bar. The routine should be continuous with movements flowing into one another. Watch for saltos skills from the high bar to high bar and for double salto dismounts.
The duration of the floor exercise is 1:10-1:30. Floor exercise routines are accompanied by music and combine dance and acrobatic elements. Accomplished gymnasts can combine both difficult dance and tumbling to create a pleasing routine that is enjoyable to watch. Dance and choreography styles differ and routines are designed to suit each gymnast.