Artistic Gymnastics is one of the most popular, celebrated and thoroughly modern sports for women, having undergone more transformation than perhaps any other Olympic sport. With a thrilling combination of daring and grace, gymnasts perform challenging elements on four apparatus — Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam and Floor Exercise — with emphasis on agility, artistry, flexibility, power and style.
Though it has much in common with Men's Gymnastics, Women's Artistic Gymnastics is distinctly unique and is a showcase for excellence in women's sport. The apparatus have evolved and the sport transformed by successive generations of gymnasts pushing the limits of physics further, forever following the Olympic creed of Citius, Altius, Fortius ("Faster, Higher, Stronger") and competing with each other to create new and exciting moves.
Vault is the fastest event and features a gymnast propelling themselves over a vaulting table at full sprint, flipping or twisting back onto the mat. Uneven bars involves gymnasts performing swinging elements around two asymmetric bars, frequently releasing the bar and recatching it, while Balance Beam involves tumbling, acrobatics, choreography and dance elements on a narrow beam only 10 cm wide. Floor Exercises is the only event set to music and features tumbling, leaps, turns and choreography on a spring-loaded mat.
On all events, gymnasts are judged on difficulty of the exercise, execution, along with dynamics, including height and distance from apparatus, and must show strength, flexibility, balance and rhythmic.
Women's Artistic Gymnastics made its debut at the 1928 Summer Olympic Games in Amsterdam, and after a break in 1932, has been part of every summer Olympic Games since 1936. The Olympic Games are the pinnacle of the four-year world Gymnastics calendar. Artistic Gymnastics is also part of the Summer Youth Olympic Games, first held in 2010.
World championships are held annually except in Olympic years and are open to senior competitors (16 and over for women). Just thirteen countries took part in the 1934 world championships in Budapest when women were included for the first time, but today’s world championships are now a truly global event and are the most prestigious event in the sport alongside the Olympic Games.
Organised by the Hungarian Gymnastics Federation, the first Junior World Championships are slated for 2019 and will be held as a trial event with possible permanent inclusion on the FIG calendar.
Following the Olympics, World Championships and continental events, the FIG World Cup competitions are the most popular events on the international calendar. The World Cup series includes All-around events and apparatus-only events. A point system determines the overall series victor. Beginning in November 2018 in Cottbus (GER), the World Cup series for the first time will be part of the Olympic qualification contest.
World Challenge Cup competitions are major FIG events that attract broad participation. They are aimed at supporting the affiliated federations in developing Gymnastics worldwide through the organisation of high-standard FIG international events. At each World Challenge Cup competition, gymnasts have the opportunity to win prize money and points that count toward the World Challenge Cup Ranking List.