Interesting Facts About Gymnastics That You May Not Have Known

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Although gymnastics is a widely popular and common sport these days, this was not always the case.  The sport of gymnastics has evolved over the centuries.  Encompassing more talent and more events over the years, gymnastics is now a highly competitive and respected sport that has gained worldwide attention.  So much so that the Olympic Games has incorporated the sport on its agenda since the year of 1924.  This article has been created by Nashua School of Gymnastics NH to bring a little education, and fun, to you about the history behind the sport.


  • Ancient Greek civilization is credited with the beginning of present day gymnastics.  Skills which included running, jumping, swimming, throwing, and wrestling were common activities.

  • After Greece’s defeat, Rome turned the activities into a more formal sport which prepared young men for war.

  • During ancient times bulls were used in place of traditional vaults for jumping skills.

  • Gymnastics officially became a sport in 1862.

  • In the United States, the first gymnastic classes were held at Mount Holyoke in 1862.

  • In 1896, the first appearance of men’s gymnastics was brought into the Olympic Games.

  • It was not until 1924 that gymnastics became a regular event in the Games.

  • In 1928 women’s gymnastics became an Olympic sport.

  • However, it was not until 1936 that women were allowed to complete in gymnastic events.

  • To this day, women are only allowed to compete on the Balance Beam and Uneven Bars in the Olympics.

  • Only men can compete in the Rings, Parallel Bars, Horizontal Bars, and Pommel Horse.

  • Both men and women are allowed to compete on the Floor and Vault competitions.

  • In 2000, trampolining made its way into the Olympics.

  • In 2012, the average age of the USA women’s gymnastics team was 17, while the men’s was 21.

  • The first woman to win the World Gymnastics Competition was Marcia Frederick.

  • In 1984, Mary Lou Retton won the Olympic gold medal in the Women’s All-Around event.  She was the very first American competitor to win with a perfect performance on the vault.

  • The most decorated American female gymnast of all time is Shannon Miller with 2 gold, 2 silver, and 3 bronze medals.

  • Most major gymnasts start their careers as early as two years old.

  • Chalk is used to improve grip, absorb sweat, and keep gymnasts’ hands dry.


If you’re enticed to experience the world of gymnastics for yourself, or your child, consider visiting the Nashua School of Gymnastics NH.  Experts in the industry, we offer a variety of classes for all ages and skill levels.  Visit us online or call us today at (603) 880.4927 for more information.

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