Brief History

  • Women's Artistic Gymnastics was first admitted in the Olympic Programme in 1928.

  • World Championships have been organised since 1934.

  • European Championships for women were set up in 1957.

  • The National Championships for Women in England were introduced in 1924.

The first woman Champion of England was Mrs F Billson of Bradford Gym Club. When the  competition was over, the competitors were interviewed at some length by the Press, who  the next day made a great story of the women who were excelling at a tough man's sport.
By 1928 women were to compete in the Olympic Games for the first time. A Team of twelve was required to represent Britain in the Amsterdam Olympics and they achieved a very worthy third place, Bronze medal position with 258.25 pts.

Holland took the title (316.75 pts). Italy was second (289.00 pts).  The British Olympic team in Amsterdam had been unable to wait for the medal  presentation, they could not afford to stay an extra day and their medals were presented later at home.

General Information
This is the most popular discipline of Gymnastics in the UK and one of the biggest crowd pleasers at every Olympic Game since 1928. The sport demands body control, body awareness, suppleness, stamina, coordination, amplitude and courage. Routines are performed on 4 pieces of apparatus: Vault, uneven bars, beam and floor.

The World Championships for Women have been organised since 1934; the European Championships began in 1957 and the National Championships for women in England were introduced in 1924. An Olympic discipline.


Vault (VT)
Height from the floor: 1.25 metres. The vaulting table is placed long way, and is the same for men and women.

Each vault is awarded a value according to its difficulty. The height and the length of the vault are of crucial importance together with the exactness of the turns before and after the somersault and the controlled landing.

Gymnasts perform only one vault for Qualifications, Individual All-around and Team Final unless they are attempting to qualify for Finals on Vault. In this case, the gymnast must perform two Vaults under the FIG stated rules, the scores of which are then averaged. The top 8 gymnasts then compete in the Vault Final.

Uneven Bars (UB)  

Low bar is now measured from floor to top of low bar as 170cm and to high bar top at 250cm +/- 1cm.
The maximum width allowed between the bars is 180cm.

Swinging and continuous movements are required on this apparatus. The exercise should include movements in both directions, above and below the bars. Elements with twists and somersaults with multiple grip changes and high flight should be demonstrated to maximise scores. Often a spectacular dismount ends the routine.

Balance Beam (BB)

Height of the beam from the floor: 1.25 metres. The beam is five metres long and only 10 cm wide.

A routine on the beam should be an artistic combination of a variety of acrobatic elements, gymnastic leaps, jumps, turns, step and running combinations, waves and balance elements in standing, sitting and lying positions.
The gymnast should use the entire length of the beam, demonstrating elegance, flexibility, rhythm, tempo, balance, confidence and control. Dismount series of acrobatic elements can be very spectacular. The maximum time on beam is 1'30".

Floor Exercise (FX)

The floor measures 12 x 12 metres, with an additional safety border of 1 metre. The performance area must have a surface elasticity to allow for power during take-off and softness for landing.

The floor exercise, accompanied by music to enhance the performance, should combine dance movements and sequences with a variety of tumbling and acrobatic elements. The whole floor area should be used with the exercise being varied in mood, tempo and direction. Individuality, originality, maturity, mastery and artistry of presentation are key ingredients for a high score.